Black power, Filipino defeat: movies watched lately (#SFWApro)

ShirleyChisholmReutersCHISHOLM ’72: Unbought and Unbossed (2004) documents Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s (all rights to photo image remain with current rights holder) quixotic presidential run, which she says here was more about opening doors for future candidates than any hope of winning (it’s a shame she passed away a year after this came out—I’d love to have heard her thoughts on Obama’s election). And hopeless it turned out to be as she and her candidates ran up against sexism, racism, and the Democrats’ determination Nixon Must Go (so many potential Chisholm allies decided they had to back George McGovern as a certain winner). I watched this primarily because several people in Southern Discomfort reference Chisholm’s run, but it’s good in its own right. “If you want to find the road to freedom, ride the Chisholm Trail!”

AMIGO (2011) is John Sayles’ drama set in our occupation of the Philippines, with one small village struggling to hold together in the face of pressure from both American colonel Garret Dilahunt and the equally demanding guerilla forces (unsurprisingly I can see echoes of both Iraq and Vietnam). Sayles always does well writing about community (as Roger Ebert put it, no two men are an island with Sayles) and here he presents the villagers as protagonists, while avoiding turning the soldiers or the resistance fighters into caricatures. Chris Cooper is a hardline general dissatisfied with Dilahunt’s soft approach. “I knew I was doomed as soon as the Americans arrived.”

As part of catching Sara Karloff’s presentation at the Mensa San Diego gathering, TYG and I once again watched FRANKENSTEIN (1932). Once again I was impressed by Karloff’s ability to turn a revenant brute into a childlike figure of pathos and sympathy, whether befriending a small child or straining to touch the sunlight. Director James Whale’s decision to follow that path obviously deserves a share of the credit—even Karloff couldn’t do much when Son of Frankenstein reduced the Creature to a pure brute. “And you believe you can bring life to the dead?”



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One response to “Black power, Filipino defeat: movies watched lately (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Quarry and Discomfort (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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