The Danish Girl is an proper choice to continue Movies on My Mind’s LGBT theme, as transgenders are prominent in the news of late. This movie, directed by Tom Hooper and starring the accomplished actor Eddie Redmayne, was released in November 2015 and was later nominated for four Oscars. Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Gerda Wegener in this film.
We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.
–Oscar Wilde, 1907
My dear boy, people who love once in their lives are really shallow people. What they call their loyalty and their fidelity is either the lethargy of custom or lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life is what constance is to the intellectual life, simply a confession of failure.
–Oscar Wilde, 1890
Oscar Wilde was a witty, prolific, and very successful literary figure who suffered imprisonment for refusing to deny his gay behavior. However, when one’s livelihood requires popularity and acceptance, revolution is a stance that should require thoughtful consideration of its risks. Thus, his story is a conspicuous example where the rules of society, which reflect a society’s conception of moral behavior and its conception (or misconception) of humanity, dictated that a person of enormous talent and intellect must be disguised, marginalized, and/or extinguished. Continue reading Wilde vs. Public Morality→
I recently attended a memorial service for a lifelong friend. One of the speakers stated in a remembrance that a person dies three times; he dies physically, he dies again when he is memorialized then buried, and he dies a third death when nobody on Earth remembers him or mentions his name again.
It has been well over a century since Oscar Wilde’s death, yet his name keeps popping up in enough cultural references to the point that it seems every educated person today knows this renowned playwright by name and famous works Continue reading Wilde: The Rise and Ruin of Oscar Wilde→
For some apolitical men, a conscientious few, ideas need not have a practical application. They are of intrinsic worth. The advantage to be gained by exploiting an idea is of no concern. These men love ideas for the sake of wisdom, tranquility, and transcendence; Zhivago was such a man.
—Ian Bloom, Illumined Illusions
I remember observing out loud to Lucy after she and I had tallied the votes for the Fall Film Competition, that the four top films seemed lacking in commonality except for their dates of release. But of course, as I expressed last month, it began to occur to me that a theme for these films might be “social defiance”. Continue reading Doctor Zhivago: Pasternak and Politics→
My task as director is not just to provide a nice evening’s entertainment. The most important thing is to make people think.
— Andrej Wajda, Academy Award Tribute
The Horrors of Nazism and the Tragedies of Communism
Our movie this month, Ashes and Diamonds (1958), brings the horrors of Nazism and the tragedies of Communism to the screen. The story takes place over a twelve-hour period in Poland at the end of World War II. It is about a young Polish soldier who is ordered to assassinate a high-ranking Communist figure. Drama, irony, romance, and unexpected twists give the viewers a thought-provoking experience. Continue reading Ashes and Diamonds: Will There Remain Among the Ashes a Star-Like Diamond→
Ashes and Diamonds (1958) is the third among a trilogy of war films that spurred Steven Spielberg to write a passionate letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recommending its Polish director, Andrzej Wajda, for an Honorary Oscar. Wajda was awarded that Oscar in 2000.
Born in Poland on March 6, 1926, events leading to World War II—and the war itself—shaped Wajda’s formative years. The aftermath of the War also heavily influenced his film-making career, working under a Communist regime where censorship limited creative production. Since censors paid attention more to dialog than images, Wajda slyly filmed his movies accordingly. Continue reading Ashes and Diamonds: Andrzej Wajda on Directing→
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