Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now I've Seen Everything

The student president at the University of the Andes in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela bears the very mellifluous name Nixon Moreno. Pursued by the authorities, Sr. Moreno has been obliged to take asylum in the papal diplomatic mission to his nation’s capital, Caracas. His cause has been taken up by the student president of Central University of Venezuela, a neighboring institution.

That brave young gentleman’s name is Stalin González.

Stalin leading protests in support of Nixon?

This is not remarkable in Venezuela, which has been afflicted by a plague of whimsical forenames. Your waiter or cab driver in Caracas is liable to be a Taj-Mahal, a Supermán, a Yesaidú (Yes, I do), or even a Hitler. Things are so bad that the electoral authorities have issued a draft law stating that babies may not be registered with names “that expose them to ridicule, are extravagant, or difficult to pronounce.”

Well, at least it’s hard to detect much revolutionary ardor in most of these names, such as was exhibited in the old USSR by the popular Melsor (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, October Revolution), or in Mao’s China by Da-yue (Great Leap) and Wen-ge (Cultural Revolution).

(courtesy National Review, December 3, 2007)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Lady from Shanghai

I'm not entirely sure how, but today I stumbled across an entry on Bright Lights Film Journal about the forgotten noir Blast of Silence. There were a couple other entries on movies like the Mike Hammer flick Kiss Me Deadly and a very unflattering review of L.A. Confidential. But, the one that really struck me was the one about The Lady From Shanghai. Author Jason Mark Scott gives a very thorough examination of one of Welles's early pictures. Scott again shines light on the many subtle things that made Welles one of, if not the, best director of all time. The only thing I would disagree with him on is his supposition that this was Welles's farewell to his wife Rita Hayworth and to Hollywood.

If you haven't watched The Lady From Shanghai, I recommend that you go out and find a copy right away. Sit back, relax, and enjoy some good noir and a good flick. Just try to tune out Welles's horrendous Irish accent. :)