Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why do I do this to myself

Finished watching the Grey Zone. It was by far THE most depressing Holocaust movie. Not that there are any uplifting Holocaust movies, but this one was particularly depressing. Amazing cast though, Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, David Arquette, Natasha Lyonne, and a virtually unrecognizable Mira Sorvino. The movie is based on a book by a Hungarian physician who worked with Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. There was a group of Jewish men who worked to keep order in the camps, assuring the prisoners that they would be safe ... basically lying to them to maintain order. A girl manages to survive the gas chamber and is nursed back shortly before an uprising by the men of the camp. The ending isn't surprising .. but it just bummed me out more than any other Holocaust film I've seen. It was written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson of O Brother Where Art Thou fame. For playing such a loveable dolt in that film, he is a remarkable writer and director. "Pete, we thought you wuz a hornnnnnnneeeeeeeeeey toad".

Also watched a great documentary called The Source. I am fascinated by the Beat movement. Could Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady look any more normal than they did? Who knew they jock types would go on to found one of the most influential subcultures in history. The Beats begat the hippies. I love the characters behind the people. Borroughs, what a freak .. Ginsburg ... brilliant oddball ... Kerouac & Cassady ... unlikely founders of a movement. I tried to read On The Road, but I guess my feeble brain just could wrap itself around it. Borroughs too ... just way beyond my realm. I'd rather admit that I don't understand a word they write, than pretend that I do. I'll admit it ... I'm just not bright enough for their writing! But honestly, I think their legacy is more than their writings, it's their personas, you can relate to Ginsburg without ever reading Howl. You hear On The Road and you get what the big picture is. Anyway, the Source is a great documentary film. John Turturro performs Howl, Hopper read Burroughs and Johnny Depp performs Kerouac, all very very good.

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