Cool again tonight in the San Francisco Bay Area. Temperature 47*, at 11:30 p.m.
Not well. Felt cold all day. Slept late. Feet swollen.
An Email from Tom to say that he had talked with shadow and his son. More to come perhaps.
Son Jason came over, and Son Guy did a little shop. Grace not home.
I had watched THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS last night, and once again had the impression that this film changes a little bit every time I see it, but in the end that terrible, sentimental ending destroys its darkly nostalgic, tragic beauty.
Tonight, I found J'ACCUSE, French Auteur Abel Gance's restored (1919) pioneer anti-war film, also on TCM. The ponderous, yet powerful plotting of this silent epic involves two representative Frenchmen, one a gentle poet, the other a brutal sadist, who both love (in their fashion) the same woman, the daughter of a veteran from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 which ended in a debacle for France. They all live in bucolic Provence, and the First World War settles their conflicts in a terrible way. When the men are called up, the sadist, so not to have his wife further tempted, sends her away to family in Alsace, where she is gang raped by advancing Germans, which produces a beautiful little daughter. The War mentally and emotionally destroys both the men, leaving one dead and the other insane. The third part of the film is extremely moving in all its silent splendor, as the mad retuning poet enthralls the village people in a delusionary story of how their dead have risen to return, asking if their deaths were justified, and to cry out, "J'Accuse!"
The events of just twenty years later give a particularly sad and ironic significance to Gance's picture. And the gradually revealed stupidity of nations after World War II, including in recent decades the United States, leaves one, particularly at the moment, with a feeling of hopelessness, and that Abel Gance's mad poet and repentant sadist are the same person, multiplied by the billions. Iran, anyone?
The irony is doubly bitter, when one reflects that Gance remade his film in a sound version, as he did a nearly six hour NAPOLEON, about his great hero (to be shown restored in Oakland, Ca, at the end of March). But when the choice came between pacifism and Napoleonic glory, however, Gance chose the latter, becoming a quasi-fascist.
Apropo, I thought, I also came across a multi- YouTube collection of upteen versions of the "Springtime for Hitler" production number from Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS. It is Springtime, after all, and Brooks' comic genius provides insane fun, looking at various actors playing The Fuhrer. The more you see, the more you begin to imagine the current asylum of domestic and foreign leaders in the part.
Macresarf1 would write no more this day.
Causes Alex Fraser Supports