Narrowsburg directed by Martha Shane, 2019.

Streaming on Amazon Prime.

Narrowsburg (2019) - IMDb

with Richard Castellano, Jocelyn Castaldo.

Narrowsburg, a movie shot over a period of roughly 15 years, from 1999 on, documents the period when a small town in upstate New York was visited by an actor, who claimed he wanted to make a movie there. Soon Richard Castellano, the actor who is a stereotypical goon in mob movies, brings in his wife, Jocelyn, who sets up an office on Main Street. The couple raise money from the locals. Richie as he is soon known affectionately by half the town, claims he wants to cast most of them in the movie. He starts an acting school attended by Zac Stuart, a high school student who aims to become an actor.

The point of view of the movie comes mostly from Zac, whose dreams were born and died during the course of the making of Four Deadly Reasons, the movie Castellano claimed he was making. The Coaccis, a couple who own the laundry in town, act as a sort of Greek chorus. Key commentaries come from a local reporter, and a judge, who adjudicated the criminal activity that resulted. Zac compares it to the Music Man, when Harold Hill comes in to a sleepy midwestern town, and promises to start a band, with uniforms, and instruments, and young people playing brilliantly as they march down Main Street. Wouldn’t that wake the people up? The Castellanos start by hosting a film festival where legitimate movies are shown, and actors are awarded prizes like “Rising Star”. Soon, they claim, their movie will put Narrowsburg on the filmmaking map. An actual director and screenwriter seemed to be working on something legitimate.

It took a while for it to sink in that everything the Castellanos said was not true. But by then it was too late. After raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting locals, checks began to bounce. It turns out that Richie was addicted to cash. The movie they were making that was to be shown at the second film festival, has only fifteen minutes to show for itself, and none of it takes place in the town. Narrowsburg‘s director interviews people so that their images project on a screen behind them, showing the two faces of actors. This device felt a bit pretentious, drawing attention to the movie within a movie, questioning who people really are, and distracted me from listening to what was being said.

Castellano’s real name was Castaldo, as was his wife’s, Jocelyn. The police went after him, and he eventually landed in jail. Visually, the documentary split its time between the double image interviews, the shots of Richie beating up people on screen, and the lovely landscape and river surrounding the town. Narrowsburg the town is beautiful to look at from a distance, sitting on the Upper Delaware River. It seems unsullied by industry, except for Feed and Grain store, with wooden triangles and green pipes on top of the roof.

Narrowsburg' documentary to open Big Eddy Film Festival | The River Reporter
Richie Castellano with Zac Stuart
The Coaccis
The Feed and Grain towers that mark the skyline

During this pandemic, when we cannot watch movies in a theater with a bunch of strangers, I miss the experience of different people around me all reacting to the same thing. I saw a documentary about a ballet company in a theater where 90 % of the audience had performed in that company many years ago. They were thrilled to see themselves on screen as young vital dancers.

Documentaries can start out in one place and through the filming process end up somewhere completely different. If I had watched this movie in Narrowsburg, at the Film Festival last year, I would have sat with the people who were rooked, waiting for the villain to get his comeuppance.

Narrowsburg started out as a film about one con artist, a la the Music Man, and turned out to be about who the real con artist was. We learned these things in the very last frames of the picture, reading them in titles as they scrolled across the screen. There are so many reversals in these titles, my first reaction was, I didn’t want to read about it, I wanted to watch the results at the end. In that sense, the movie does not really succeed.

The director’s aim as far as I know was to show what happens when your dream hits you hard, and you can’t tell what’s real or when to give up. But that is what the con artists say. Zac Stuart may not have become an actor, but he is a successful film editor.

There is a Narrowsburg Film Festival now, that is legitimate, and shows a mix of feature films and documentaries. I am sorry I missed the showing of this film when it was screened there last year. As Richie Castellano would say, “We don’t want any bums in this town! We have a film festival to run!”

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Gunda directed by Victor Kossokovsky, 2020.

Distributed on Neon

Gunda (2020 film).jpg

This documentary film is about a sow. You may well think, why would I want to spend hours watching an oversize pig raise her brood?

Gunda' Review: A Pig's Life - WSJ

There are several reasons. First and foremost is the quality of the photography. Kossokovsky employed one of the best steadicam operators, Egil Larsen, whose patience with animals knows no bounds.

Gunda' Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix-Produced Animal Rights Film | IndieWire

The black and white compositions unfold the story. No voice overs tell you what is happening. You observe and decide for yourself. The viewer intuits what the animals are thinking, why they behave the way they do.

I know many may not appreciate the technique which takes cinema verite to extremes. But if you have the patience, you get to experience what it is like to be not only a sow, or a piglet duking it out with way too many siblings for a nipple.

There is the added bonus of closely observed chickens let out of their pens, trying to figure out where it is safe.

Gunda | Film Review | Spirituality & Practice

Life for cultivated animals is never safe. The soundtrack accentuates the danger in the machines nearby. They loom and threaten with their mere presence.

The tension builds as the distance between the camera and the animals lengthens and shortens. We are drawn into these creatures’ lives. Kossokovsky’s intention, stated in an interview with Joaquin Phoenix, is to convince humans that they are not the only ones with souls. He succeeds completely.

As the planet continues to be dominated by business interests that ignore the consequences on nature, this movie brings into acute focus the animals we sacrifice to feed us.

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by George C. Wolfe, 2020.

Screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson from the play by August Wilson.

with Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Jonny Coyne.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (film) - Wikipedia

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a film adaptation of the August Wilson play, opens in a forest at night, with two black boys running. We assume they are running away from something, but it turns out they are desperate not to escape but to arrive at a tent show in the south where Ma Rainey performs. They love her blues with its sexual innuendoes and knowing looks, her bigger than life persona. The movie is the story of not only Ma Rainey and her tough independence as an artist at the beginning of the sound recording era, but also her band, and its relationship with the recording studio owned by white men. In the band is an ambitious talented horn player named Levee whose goal is to break away from Ma’s old bluesy style and move onto the more upbeat flavor of jazz.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' First Reactions: Boseman, Davis Shine | IndieWire
Chadwick Boseman and his band mates

The action takes place during the 1920s, the period of the great migration when blacks moved north away from the racist practices of the deep south. And since this is a tightly structured play, everything important happens during the course of one rehearsal to make a recording, a new technology that Ma is convinced is making the white owners rich. Ma is at odds with them, determined to get her fair share, and to record her songs the way she wrote them. Levee is at odds with Ma because he wants to move on from the “jug band” music he is convinced is losing popularity. And all members of the band, a superb ensemble cast, just want to make the record, and get paid, and be the professionals they are.

How Glynn Turman got his role in Ma Rainey - Exclusive
Glynn Turman (Toledo) on piano, Michael Potts (Slow Drag) on bass, Colman Domingo (Cutler) on trombone, Chadwick Boseman (Levee) on cornet

Levee has submitted songs to Mel Sturdevant, the manager of the recording label, who wants new music appealing to white and black folk. What becomes of these submissions is an important part of the story punctuated by a scene added to the movie by the director, George Wolfe, that did not occur in the play.

Once the musicians arrive at the studio, all action takes place in the rehearsal room in the basement, and then in the recording room, and the movie’s sets feel like the stage of the play it was based on. Efforts to break out of the staged feeling occur when Ma arrives late in her car, and you can taste the racism of all the white characters on the street as they glare at her. She is not going to be talked back to by anyone, let alone a measly cop who claims she pushed down the driver of the car her nephew and chauffeur crashed into by mistake. Other ways the director breaks out of the stage play include images of blacks working in factories, headlines and advertisements for opportunities up north if blacks would just take advantage of them.

Costumes and makeup Viola Davis must suffer to wear in the heat of a Chicago summer make her look haggard and sour. But Davis has some gorgeous lines to say and she delivers them perfectly, especially when she is describing the blues.

The script contains some long monologues that give different characters their back stories. When Levee describes his traumatic childhood, Boseman makes us feel the horror, spotlighting the great artist we have recently lost. Toledo played by Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo as Cutler tell their stories about racism and religion. There are no weak actors. I only wish the girl who is a sex object for both Ma Rainey and Levee were given more to do than sway her hips. August Wilson is not known for his feminism. Still, Ma Rainey stands out as an independent artist whose legacy lives on.

Levee becomes more and more agitated, and keeps trying to break through a door which is a little too obviously meant to represent the wall put up by white businesses. When the movie takes its tragic turn, even though Ma Rainey’s name is in the title, the story belongs to the band, and especially to Levee.

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Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache, directed by Pamela G. Green, 2019.

Written by Joan Simon. Narrated by Jodie Foster.

Streaming on Kanopy.

Amazon.com: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache: Alice Guy  Blache, Richard Abel, Pamela B. Green: Movies & TV

Alice Guy-Blache was responsible for several important milestones in the history of filmmaking. After the Lumiere Brothers proved that they could capture real life on screen with moving images of trains coming into stations, workers walking home at the end of the day, and other charming alarming short clips, Guy-Blache, under the auspices of her husband’s company, created what could and should be considered the first movies based on story lines, with actors, and makeup, and costumes, with careful production design. She was also the first director to sync sound with pictures in a laborious process that predated sound pictures by 30 years.

First film director to tell stories not just record real life
First woman film director
First director to use all black cast

The question is why don’t we know about her?

The documentary director, Pamela B. Green, goes on a hunt for clues to the history of Guy Blache and why so little is written in the official records of film. In the process of visiting with people who were related to her, or to her essential crew, the director shares not only efforts that were made by Guy-Blache herself to ensure that her films were noted, and properly credited. She finds some of the films themselves. These discoveries have led to more of her films being restored and preserved.

Overlooked No More: Alice Guy Blaché, the World's First Female Filmmaker -  The New York Times
Alice Guy Blache as a young woman

The questions that still need to be answered are why were so many of her films credited to men, or otherwise not credited at all? Why wouldn’t a publisher publish her memoir until after she died? The director does not brandish the word sexism, but it is all we can think of while watching this movie.

Library of Congress has a few of her films you can watch, available on Kanopy. She lived to a ripe old age, thanks to the care of her dutiful daughter, Simone. Interviews with Alice and Simone punctuate the sad story line of a marvelous artist who had a brief but brilliant career until it faded, and was seemingly lost.

The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, the Mother of Cinema
Alice Guy Blache in her later years

This documentary’s filmmaking is hyperkinetic with flashes of images and film footage, and animations zooming at you at a disturbingly fast pace. Sometimes I found it hard to keep up.

Director Green’s main experience is in producing titles for films, not films with titles. This is her first feature film. She shows not only what she discovered in the process of her research, but also how she found it. Many maps with arrows show the trip taken between cities and suburbs around Los Angeles. These do not really help the viewer grasp their importance except to understand that the director worked very hard to find out what she wanted to know. I hope that does not belittle the process or the accomplishments Green has achieved.

Green succeeds in resurrecting an important creative filmmaker– whose milestones stand the test of time. Guy-Blache directed actors to be natural– hence the title of the documentary– and as a result her storytelling has a realistic touch with an emotional warmth. Even when she was producing her first short, The Cabbage Fairy, with babies found under cabbage leaves in the garden, it is all too human a tale.

Film review: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché | The Public
Alice Guy-Blache’s slogan could be seen by everyone working in her studio
Alice Guy: The Fairy of the Cabbages (1896) - YouTube
A still from her first demonstration of what storytelling in film would look like

Best at telling her own story, Guy-Blache’s long interview in 1957 (when she was 84) fills in many details of her long life, beginning when she and her mother had to find work to support themselves.

Isn’t that the way many feminist stories begin? with the need to make a living, and the skill and confidence to do so? Guy-Blache not only directed 100s of movies, she ran the Solax Studios in New Jersey, the hub of American filmmaking in the early part of the 20th century.

The other significant interview is with her daughter Simone, who describes what her mother was like as a person.

Alice Guy Blache
The Guy-Blaches: Simone, Herbert, and Alice

So yes, the process of the process of getting these significant primary sources is worth thinking about and watching. I just wish the director’s editing pace were a little slower so that I could enjoy what I was watching and let it sink in.

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Mank directed by David Fincher, 2020.

with Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance, Tom Burke.

Available on Netflix.

Mank.png

In 1934, while Upton Sinclair was running for governor, he was slurred for being a socialist. The Republican Party running Hollywood wanted to maintain the status quo of California politics, so they created a negative ad campaign that pretty effectively helped to defeat him. Mankiewicz, an important minion of Hollywood’s elite, sided with Sinclair silently but couldn’t afford to go all in and risk his job.

Herbert Mankiewicz had already written scores of screenplays by the time Orson Welles asked him to work on Citizen Kane in the late 1930s as M was recovering from an injury suffered in an automobile accident. The movie shows how the writing progressed in fits and starts with Mankiewicz laid up in bed, and a kindly secretary acting as stenographer and cheerleader through the process.

Lily Collins Emily in Paris Mank Netflix and Alasdair McLellan
Lily Collins plays kindly secretary Anderson administering to the fallen screenwriter

Black and white cinematography dramatizes the era the movie depicts. It accentuates the political scenes. Costuming and hair, makeup and production are all expertly done to imitate the perfection of Citizen Kane. Dialogue is very sharp and witty. It demonstrates how even if he was a raging alcoholic, Herman Mankiewicz was still a desirable party guest.

Mank Star Tuppence Middleton on the Real Life Sarah Mankiewicz
Mank’s wife is constantly referred to as “poor Sara” until she demands that it stop.
Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfriend Star in First Trailer for Mank | PEOPLE.com
Seyfried as Hearst’s mistress and glamor puss actress Marion Davies

Sara, Mank’s wife, is a saint, putting up with all sorts of alcoholic and gambling disasters. Tuppence Middleton plays her straight and wins the audience’s heart. Her scenes with Oldman show that rarest of things on screen: a stable marriage.

The complexity of relationships is one of the strengths of the movie. Herman did not always get along with his brother Joseph. At the studio during the height of the depression Warner asked his workers to take a pay cut during a difficult time. Marion Davies knew exactly how to manage William Randolph Hearst even while he was managing her career. All of these tender and complicated parts of the story are well developed and put on the screen.

William Randolph Hearst, and Charles Dance as Hearst in Mank.
William Randolph Hearst played by Charles Dance

The movie drags a bit especially during the party scene at Hearst’s castle. Mank goes on and on about the story he wants to write to the point where the guests leave one by one. I wanted to leave at that point too.

But you have to hand it to David Fincher. If he is looking to discredit the auteur theory of brilliant directors being the author of great movies, he disproves his discrediting. Let me put it another way. Fincher himself is an auteur of some substance.

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The Personal History of David Copperfield directed by Armando Ianucci, 2019.

with Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) - IMDb

When I read a novel by Dickens, I lose myself in the many interconnected plots and subplots, the finely honed characters, the humor, the outrage over social injustice especially as applied to the hero.

The novel, David Copperfield, is autobiographical. Dickens wrote how his childhood formed his ability to detail the stories he would write.

Ianucci in his film adaptation focuses on the meta nature of the tale, how David Copperfield develops his observations into stories. Visually there are lovely portraits of pen and paper, a box that carries fragments and sentences of importance that will become whole stories and novels.

David Copperfield movie book changes: how different is Dev Patel film? -  Radio Times

Dev Patel captures the essence of Dickens as a young man. His grace and beauty lend dignity to his formation of character. We feel what he feels, a sign of good acting.

Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, and Ben Whishaw excel at their portraitures of Aunt Betsy, Mr. Dick, and the infamous Uriah Heep. Other supporting actors of excellence are Anthony Welsh Ham, and Rosimund Eleazar. Cleverly dispatching Dora through the writing rather than an illness– showcases the talents of Morfydd Clark who plays Dora perfectly in her prettiness and shallowness. Even though there are many good members of the cast, there are a few noticeable stumbles , especially with regard to the ages of the cast members.

The Personal History Of David Copperfield' Exclusive: Tilda Swinton  Enforces Her "Donkey-Free Zone" In New Clip

Peter Capaldi as Micawber is too old. Steerforth (Ameurin Barnard) seems awfully mature to play a school boy. David is too old when he runs away and first gets adopted by his crusty Aunt Betsy.

Ben Whishaw outdoes himself in creepiness

I missed the hugeness of the story and the many segments that were trimmed. Perhaps it was for budget reasons. The story sprawls on the page. Even the many mini series made from Dickens need to cut some of the best scenes in the book. But as a result characters get diminished.

The Personal History of David Copperfield review – Iannucci makes Dickens  his own | Film | The Guardian
Ameurin Barnard and Dev Patel

Wickfield (Wong) is reduced to a stereotypical alcoholic. Pegotty and her brother barely register.

The story of a young man pulling himself up by his bootstraps doesn’t exactly land either, though the cinematography and production values are delightful to look at. Hugh Laurie stands out in his scenes of kite flying with David. His part as Mr. Dick is given enough air to breathe in his genuine eccentricity and goodness.

The story of how David became a writer is front and center. The rest of the movie cascades around you in a devil may care way. The countless events of a young man’s life become material for his long-lasting contributions to literature.

Streaming on Vudu and other platforms.

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The Trial of the Chicago Seven, directed by Aaron Sorkin

with Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Frank Langella, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen, coming off his prankish Borat movie, a political film about the present moment, portrays Abbie Hoffman in the historical picture about demonstrations turned violent in 1968.

Sacha Baron Cohen unrecognisable in 'Trial of the Chicago 7'
Sacha Baron Cohen and the real Abbie Hoffman

Opening scenes grab you with the speed of the editing, one face superimposed on the next as we are reminded of the many casualties of the Vietnam War.

Whenever I watch a movie like this, and there are so many right now, depicting real events, I wonder what dialogue is taken directly from the transcripts of the infamous trial. Key scenes such as police attacks are documented I presume giving the movie a feeling of authenticity. I spend a lot of time browsing History vs Hollywood, the website that fact checks what happened and what didn’t. Then I wonder who is checking the fact checkers since none of them is named.

The political context of 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' - The Hindu

You can count on Sorkin’s fascination with political conflict, punctuated by snappy monologues and dialogue. An oversimplification is one of his vices, a feeling of pedantry, as if the viewer were being lectured and not trusted to figure things out on his own.

Here it is manifested in the roles of John Mitchell, the incoming attorney general under Nixon as outgoing president Lyndon Johnson’s men leave. Mitchell is out to avenge the ungracious transfer of power from Ramsay Clark, who only gave the new attorney general one day to sort out his new position. This and other resentments of opposing political parties seem to echo some of our own current political dilemmas.

The Real Characters in 'Trial of the Chicago 7,' Explained
Mark Rylance plays William Kunstler, the defense lawyer for the group on trial

The acting is very good if the casting is slightly odd. Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, is a little too good looking, Sacha BC a little too old. Mark Rylance performs his part as William Kunstler with all the world weariness of someone who has been through this kind of absurd political theater before. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the prosecutor from John Mitchell’s office, and as a Republican, is an outlier in this cast. Even though the script stretches the story to make his character more sympathetic, the actor’s thoughtful performance is never less than riveting. Especially expert is the portrayal of Julius Hoffman by Frank Langella. His exchanges with the other Hoffman in the room provide some acerbic wit.

The Trial of the Chicago 7, Netflix review: Aaron Sorkin's thunderously  political courtroom drama | Culture Whisper
Joseph Gordon Levitt
Trial of the Chicago 7 Review: Another Sorkin-Centric Spin on History |  Observer
Eddie Redmayne
Judge Netflix's 'Trial of the Chicago 7' on the strength of Langella's  performance - The Boston Globe
Frank Langella

The movie emphasizes the tension between Tom Hayden, more buttoned down and restrained, and his ally who expresses himself in jocular fashion, Abbie Hoffman. The movie is not a documentary but you wonder why we should really care all that much about this particular difficulty.

Above all, the man who seems beyond reproach, the conscientious objector who allied himself with the anti war movement comes in for some false dramatic bravado when he punches an officer of the court, something he never would have done as a pacifist. This scene is played to pull on our heartstrings as we watch his son, an excellent young actor, watch him with dismay and disappointment from the gallery.

The treatment of the Black Panthers by the court system at that time was appalling. I would welcome a whole movie from Bobby Seale’s point of view. As it is, we only occasionally feel his frustration and rage. The movie focuses on the lawyers and the grandstanders, and succeeds in its aim to show what happened back then.

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My Octopus Teacher, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed. 2020.

with Craig Foster.

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Craig Foster, a South African documentary filmmaker, exhausted from his work, decides to dive in the kelp forest – filled waters of the ocean off the Western Cape. Even though the water is very cold, he dives without a wet suit, and though it takes him over a year, he eventually adjusts to the temperature. He also does not take any scuba or diving gear, but relies on his own lungs to swim through these waters. What he finds there is the subject of the movie. A specific octopus he is interested in as he repeatedly observes her on his dives returns her interest in him.

An octopus 'love story' on Netflix has caused thoughts to run wild. Why? |  Animals | The Guardian

The photography establishes the intimacy of the relationship that forms. There are images and shots that startle the viewer with their beauty. Can a man and an animal understand each other when their species are so different?

My Octopus Teacher | Movies | San Luis Obispo | New Times San Luis Obispo

One might wonder how these shots are obtained. Besides Craig, there is a photography director, who also is involved. But Craig is holding the camera most of the time. He has the patience to establish a safe environment for the octopus to reveal her true nature.

At one point as she is chased by a pyjama shark, the octopus suddenly disappears under a layer of shells, using the ruse of this deeply textured sealife to escape.

Eventually the boundaries between human and animal dissolve. The octopus lies on Craig’s chest, and we see the scale difference between the two creatures. The human is ten times the size of the cephalopod.

The octopus teaches Craig many things. As he states in an interview in VOA, “She taught me humility. She taught me compassion. She opened my mind to just how precious wild creatures are and how complex.”

We witness the octopus surviving the loss of a limb. Eat or be eaten is the rule of the wild. Anthropomorphising the animal is inevitable for Foster. Scenes of predators and prey, with the pyjama shark always nearing our heroine have the drama and suspense of an action movie.

In the end, Foster passes on his passion for nature to his son, ensuring a generation to come will care for nature as he does.

The octopus is under the shells
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Moon Over Parador, directed by Paul Mazursky,1983.

with Richard Dreyfus, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga.

Amazon.com: Moon Over Parador: Richard Dreyfuss, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga,  Jonathan Winters, Dana Delany, Edward Asner, Dann Florek, Milton Gonçalves,  Michael Greene, Polly Holliday, Reinhard Kolldehoff, José Lewgoy, Ike  Pappas, Richard Russell

Bring back the manic energy of Richard Dreyfus in his prime, the sheer brilliance of Raul Julia, the stunning carnival of Rio– so much id. I did not see this movie when it came out. I remember it got bad reviews. I had just given birth, so had no time.

Now that we have nothing but time, I tried it, thanks to Wesley Morris’ thoughtful essay in the Times about movies in the 1980s versus now.

The story is sort of brilliant, a remake of a 1939 movie. A South American dictator named Simms hosts a film production, and just as one of the actors (Dreyfus) does a fairly accurate imitation of him, the dictator dies. Simms’s evil director of intelligence, Roberto Strausman (Raul Julia), casts the actor as Simms’s impersonator, a kind of body double in real life– in order to retain his power as the actual leader of the country.

The feeling of near farce– and the desire for Dreyfus’ character of an actor in need of work, combine with the tenderness brought to the story by Sonia Braga who plays Simms’s mistress.

Mazursky is known for his satirical views of American manners– Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills— come to mind. Leaving the United States for a country resembling Brazil gives him the opportunity to film luscious Rio carnivals. The photography of the interiors draws the viewer’s eye to important parts of the characters, especially Strausman. A scene of him and his fellow Nazis playing cards in the basement says more than any of the setups more explicitly showing how a dictator keeps his subjects under his thumb.

Sammy Davis appears several times, singing his heart out, and the haminess and bigger-than-life-ness of what he does matches the mood of the movie perfectly. Sonia Braga in her lushness provides a welcome softness to what might have been an even edgier movie without her. Wesley Morris praises the harder edges of those 1980s movies in contrast with how careful we have become.

The movie made me laugh, and that is what I am after now. But it also made me marvel at the talent of the cast, especially Raul Julia. How I miss his range as an actor.

Raul Julia is a Nazi

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Trip to Greece, directed by Michael Winterbottom, 2020.

with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

The Trip to Greece (2020) - IMDb

I find this newest instalment in the series delightful as always this time for the way the two men imitate Dustin Hoffman. In previous episodes it was the way they imitated Michael Caine. The food porn is of especially high caliber. How I long to eat.

the trip to greece | Tumblr

The landscapes and photography are easy on the eyes.

The formula still works– one actor is successful but unhappy– the other jealous slightly of his friend’s success but much more satisfied overall with his life because of his happy marriage.

The actors’ history with each other shows. Each of them knows exactly what he is doing, and does it quite well, either alone, or with the other. In my quest for laughs, this provided me with some.

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