From the Chicago Reader (January 1, 1992). — J.R.
It’s a critical commonplace that the only good film of William Faulkner’s work is The Tarnished Angels (from Pylon) though some critics give an additional nod to Tomorrow for Robert Duvall’s performance. I would add this 1949 adaptation of Faulkner’s early response to southern racism, improbably made at MGM, though shot mainly on location in Faulkner’s hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. Perhaps because he was a southerner himself, Clarence Brown, best known as Greta Garbo’s favorite director, brought an unusual amount of feeling and taste to the material. An uppity black man (Juano Hernandez) is accused of murder, a potential lynch mob forms as he refuses to defend himself, and a white boy he’s befriended tries to get to the bottom of what actually happened. The story is treated with an unsensationalized and unsentimentalized clarity that seems unusually sophisticated for the period, and the other cast members — David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr., Porter Hall, and Elizabeth Patterson — are almost as good as Hernandez. 87 min. (JR)
Although I couldn’t bring myself to watch all of Trump’s rally speech in Tulsa last night, I did tune into the Fox channel enough times to catch the gist of most of it. I wanted to solve the mystery about what was attractive enough to the 6200 or so mostly unmasked individuals to risk their lives and those of their friends and families in order to see and hear him rant and strut and thank everybody in person. And I think I came away with a provisional answer. (For those who missed all of it, or even some of it, I’m pasting the transcript of his endless dribble below in bold, all 28 pages of it.)
As usual, his spiel was all about grievance. The fact that he seemed to spend an eternity complaining about the media treatment of his walk down a ramp after his West Point graduation speech and his use of two hands while sipping water during the speech — what seemed like at least 15 minutes (or about four of the 28 pages) seeking to justify his behavior over just a few seconds — only proved that his inferiority complex was still the most discernible aspect of his ego, and clearly an aspect that many or most of his 6200 or so fans shared. Read more
In retrospect, it’s amazing to me how many good films I saw in 1998 — as evidenced by my ten-best piece for the Chicago Reader, published January 8, 1999. (P.S. The still at the very end of this article is from Masumura’s Red Angel, which I’m happy to say is now available on DVD, along with most of the films on this ten-best list.)
On September 24, 2010, “The Stunner” [sic] sent me the following message on MUBI: “I found this entry on your blog, about Manoel de Oliveira’s ‘Inquietude’ on your top 10 movies of 1998:’I prefer the French and Portuguese title of this three-part feature — which my dictionary defines as ‘disturbed state’— to its English title, Anxiety.’ A better translation for ‘inquietude’, in my opinion, would be something like ‘intranquility,’ ‘agitation’, or “inquietness’ — these are all good and quite literal translations and I, being Portuguese, think they are accurate synonyms.” — J.R.
What do we mean when we declare something or someone “the best”? Last month, during my first visit to Tokyo, I served on a panel about the late Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu along with director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hou’s principal screenwriter, the president of Tokyo University, and two French critics associated with Cahiers du Cinema. Read more