19 December 2004

dear reader(s)

To be honest, I have trouble thinking about this blog as me communicating to you, rather than me communicating to myself in a way where I don't mind others listening.

On that note, here is me writing about movies I've seen recently, so I won't forget what I thought about them a year from now.

  • About Baghdad - Great documentary made by this Iraqi-American who goes to Baghdad in June 2003 (the occupation's "honeymoon," though it might not have seemed so at the time) to ask Iraqis how they felt about the war, the end of Saddam, etc... He had wanted to go all over Iraq, but it wasn't safe to leave Baghdad. He said that today he wouldn't feel comfortable doing even that.

    I mostly liked it because it felt like a conversation among Iraqis, so it wasn't narrowly directed at the American political scene like Fahrenheit 9/11, and it didn't have Westerners constantly speaking for Iraqis, which gets annoying as shit after awhile (kind of like "would someone please remember the children?"). Also the director is more honest about his biases than e.g. Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11, and gives plenty of air time to opinions that he clearly disagrees with. There's this awesome scene towards the end when he's arguing with a taxi driver: the director is saying that the U.S. is to blame for the Iran-Iraq war and for Saddam crushing the Shiite uprising in 1991, while the taxi driver says that Iraqis should take responsibility for their own leaders. Eventually the driver pulls over and turns off the meter in order to get more into the argument, which goes on for awhile.

  • outfoxed - Less good. Mostly stuff I had seen before and doesn't really address how much other TV news sucks, not to mention the NYT, NPR, etc... Random example: Maureen Dowd saying we need "positive profiling" (sorry, forgot to permalink) of air travellers, so that we stop wasting time on nonthreatening white grandmothers. Also, everything Thomas Friedman writes. There was a good excerpt of a Bill O'Reilly interview with an anti-war activist whose father died in the WTC. But it would've been better just to watch the interview w/o commentary.

    While I'm writing, I'll post some quality O'Reilly links that the gay-book-banning article in my last post vaguely reminded me of.

    I guess I'm trying to say that FOX is pretty well covered by the internet, without the need for movies to profit from us being pissed off. Speaking of the latter, I get annoyed at movies that little attempt to engage the mainstream because of the profit motive in preaching to the converted.
  • The Lonely Wife by Satyagit Ray. Losing blog patience, but awesome blend of personal and political. Plus I like to identify with out-of-touch theorists/idealists. I need to see more by this guy.
  • he loves me, he loves me not (a la folie, pas du tout!), starring Audrey Tautou. Medium good, but I think I'd rather watch Mulholland Drive a third time.
  • women on the verge of a nervous breakdown by Almodovar. Decent, but my hopes were so high after All about my mother and Talk to her that I was a little disappointed.
  • Watermelon Man by Melvin van Peebles and starring Jeff Gerber. Solid movie about 1970's-style racism. ("This neighborhood was getting a little Jewish, anyway.") Next up is Sweet Sweetback's Badassssssssss Song.
  • Castles Made of Namm - words fail.
  • reassemblage - a little too much like a lecture for my tastes. update!: My dad says that Trin T. Minh-ha (the director) made another movie, Naked Spaces, which is mostly the anthropological African breast footage that she mocksdeconstructs in this one. In fact, Reassemblage might even be confusingly-editted outtakes from Naked Spaces, but for some reason Naked Spaces gets much less attention. Strange...
  • Sideways was excellent, but American Splendor may have been even better.
Also, I want to save this quote from "The Body as Property" by Rosalind Pollack Petchesky in Conceiving the New World Order (1995):
[examples of why "consensual contracts" are not totally plausible:] "the trade of sterilization for jobs in Brazil or Norplant for nonimprisonment in the United States" (p. 396, citing The Alchemy of Race and Rights by Patricia Williams).

"The language of reproductive freedom is still burdened with 300 years of the dominant Euro-American model of dichotomization between self and community, body and society." (p. 404)

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