issue 11  dec 2001/jan 2002
page 13


Movies I've Seen Lately by Matt Silcock

More (Barbet Schroeder, 1969)
As a wide-eyed young wanna-be, I became interested in Barbet Schroeder when I discovered his Charles Bukowski connection: Barfly, of course, and the infamous, if eventually boring, interview tapes. I gave up on Schroeder after the standard Hollywood sado-thriller bullshit of Single White Female, but this was before it occurred to me to go backwards and discover his first two films: strange, haunting depictions of Sixties counterculture fumbling into the Seventies. La Vallee is something of a masterpiece, but before that was More, the story of a wide-eyed young German wanna-be who sets out to hitch-hike across Europe and is lured, by a beautiful Anita Pallenberg-like temptress, to countercultural heaven/hell: a fatal heroin habit on the island of Ibiza. I'm sure it could be described as "dated," but I didn't mind. The acting can be stiff, especially the 'turbulent romance' stuff, but overall, as ethnography it's a fine melancholy depiction of the Sixties-fallout European lifestyle, both in the cities and in the Mediterranean 'paradises'. We also get a good look at the fine line between living counterculturally and being a petty criminal. The soundtrack is by The Pink Floyd, very early Gilmour-era, and it sounded sumptuous, at least while I was watching the film. (They were much better before they dropped the "The.")

Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) J-L at his most drily playful in what is basically a heist comedy that comes off loose, improvised, and filmed in about a day or so. (It was actually filmed in 25 days.) His famous statement, "All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun," never seemed more appropriate. And, it's not all playful -- though cheesy critics will probably always remember it best for it's Lindy Hop sequence, there are broad streaks of violence and misanthropy -- and trademark willful, wistful tedium -- that put me on the edge of my seat. It's hard to believe this cheap, black & white, and intentionally rudimentary film was made after Godard's big-budget, full-color, and lovely-looking Contempt.

Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomas Gutierrez Alea, 1969) I didn't quite get through this one, though it did pick up a little as it went on, providing ethnographical insight to what Havana was like when Castro took over. People were fleeing the country left and right, but the protagonist of the film doesn't give a shit. He just keeps walking around, feeling intellectually superior, and picking up on girls, and you know, Havana doesn't seem all too different either, on the surface. It's like life during wartime far away from the front...what exactly changes? You can still buy beer, women still walk around with shopping bags, movies still play at the theater. It's the inner life that can change more than the outer, which, as this film ultimately proves, can be just as heavy. The scary thing about this movie is that the protagonist is a creep, but, as a basically apolitical sort, I can picture myself behaving the same way in his situation.

California Split (Robert Altman, 1974) For all the talk about Dogme 95, this 'Hollywood' production about a pair of compulsive gamblers (Elliott Gould and George Segal) out-Dogme's all of 'em. The props, clothes, and sets seem extremely lived-in and natural, and if they weren't actually laying around the homes selected for location shooting, they were designed specifically to look like it. Another Dogme rule is that all music in the movie must be heard on the set, and California Split is almost like that: the only music on the soundtrack is performed by a Reno casino pianist named Phyllis Shotwell, and in the last act of the film Gould and Segal actually are gambling at her casino where she's performing live. Card games are populated by actual card players; this is revealed in the credits, but it's obvious anyway in the poker game that is the film's climax, when time seems to absolutely freeze as one elderly card shark awkwardly tells an old gambling story in the most non-actorly way imaginable. What's more, there's none of the shockingly contrived tragedy that show-offs like Lars Von Trier and Harmony Korine stuff into their scripts. (I really dug Gummo and Julien, but still...) Gould and Segal are terrific -- hilarious, melancholy, exasperating, and human -- as the gamblers. Special mention should also be made of Ann Prentiss and Gwen Welles as the offbeat love interests. Welles especially shines, and it's nice to see her play a more humane character than Sueleen Gay, the overtly tragicomic role she was given a year later in Altman's much more widely seen Nashville.

Ann Prentiss and Gwen Welles in California Split

The Year of the Horse (Jim Jarmusch, 1994) Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert movie, filmed during a European tour in support of their album Ragged Glory. Watching this flick reminds me why I haven't pulled that record out in a few years: the songs are interminable. True, guitarists "Poncho" Sampedro and "Neil" Young have a huge, thunderous, cavernous, gigantic, and epic sound when they hit open chords together, and the Molina/Talbot rhythm section makes it rock perfectly, but that doesn't mean every song has to be eight to ten minutes long in order to prove it. Go back to "Like a Hurricane" from the 1976 album American Stars 'n' Bars -- that's all the 8-minute long proof you'll need.
      Appropriately, the best parts of this vid are B&W backstage/hotel film clips from a 1976 Crazy Horse tour. The boys are looking a little ragged and road-bored, and frankly, a little spooky. There's clips of them nonchalantly lighting the hotel's paper-flower table centerpiece on fire while they eat room service food. Sampedro, being a "Vietnam vet," finally puts it out with a handkerchief. Another clip has them smoking weed backstage at London's Hammersmith Odeon. Neil takes some big joint-puffs and then says "I'd rather be this than alcoholic," to which Poncho replies "I'd rather be both." Neil holds aloft the British beer he was already hoisting and says "Thanks Poncho, I needed that." Later, we see a dreamy, devastating, all-too-brief snippet of them playing "Like a Hurricane" at that very show.
      The second best part of the vid are the present-day interview segments, in which one can clearly see the ravages of many years of "being both" in the band's grizzled visages and burnt-out hick personalities. Almost every time Sampedro is interviewed, he goes into an ultimately genial tirade about how Jarmusch, the "artsy-fartsy New York City film producer," will never be able to capture the essence of Crazy Horse by asking "a couple cute questions." It's funny, and he's right, but I can't help but wish I was watching someone try to capture the essence of the 1976 Crazy Horse instead.

Richard Pryor Live & Smokin' (Michael Blum, 1981) Pryor filmed in 1971 performing somewhere in New York City, in front of what sounds like a small crowd, in a nightclub restaurant where you can read the menu behind him (the sirloin steak is $4.95). Perhaps the "smokin'" in the title refers to the cigarette he nervously draws from intermittently, because his performance demonstrates very little of the galvanizing charisma he was soon to develop. (See his single greatest film, Richard Pryor Live in Concert, filmed just eight years later in a huge sold-out Southern California theater.) He looks pretty bad-ass, and all of the ingredients that made him famous are in place -- the bold discussion of "niggas" and "pussy" and the multiple uses of the word "motherfucker," as well as his hopelessly uptight white man character -- but something, like confidence, is missing. Maybe he's just not used to being filmed yet, or maybe he's not joking whatsoever when he says "I'm really nervous 'cause I ain't had no cocaine all day." Either way, alchemy does begin to occur towards the end when he stops awkwardly telling jokes and goes into his extended "The Wino and the Junkie" routine. He's clearly breaking new ground here, and the audience doesn't laugh very much because it isn't meant to be funny, it's meant to break their hearts. This is what Bill Cosby was talking about when he said that Pryor was the first person to bring "the total character of the ghetto" onto the nightclub stage. I'm also reminded about what Alan Vega said about early Suicide performances: "People were coming in off the streets, coming into a performance arena where they were hoping they'd be escaping and all we were doing was shoving the street back in their face again."

The Cruise (Bennett Miller, 1998) A documentary character study of Timothy Speed Levitch, a manic self-made poet/philosopher/historian who uses his menial job as a New York City tour guide on cheesy doubledecker sightseeing buses to deliver dense historical/political/sociological monologues in which he hopes to wake the herding masses up to power of "The Cruise." That is more or less his term for freedom, as experienced through a love affair with NYC in which each moment is made to be holy, by any means necessary. (If you've brushed up on your Situationist Theory lately, you'll recognize this as a redefinition of their concept of the dérive.) Much of the movie glorifies him, particularly his gifts for poetry, monologue, and his incredible knowledge and appreciation of New York City -- but it also can't help but depict his more kooky qualities and bouts with melancholy, along with flashes of anger and lechery. The movie stands as a fine portrait of just how incongruous it has become to live a truly free lifestyle in the Land of the Free, and as a fine portrait of the greatest city in the world, but the best scenes remain the tours themselves, when Levitch elevates himself, the city, and everyone around him with his bountiful knowledge. (Warning for the squeamish: contains some potentially heartbreaking World Trade Center content.)

Joe (John Avildsen, 1970) Features probably the first and still authentic-sounding use of the phrase "fuckin' a" in a film script (as acted by Peter Boyle in his title role as an insane caricature of a blue-collar bigot), and features some actual conversations about classism that probably gave this film some cachet as being important back in 1970. But this is an utter piece of trash. If you can't tell by the smug and mawkish 'folk songs' on the soundtrack, or by the stupid-ass depiction of hippie chicks as nymphos ("say, you've never balled on grass, have you?"), any hope this film might've had gets 'blasted' away in one of the most ridiculous denouments I've ever seen in a film, anywhere, period.

I Stand Alone (Gaspar Noe, 1998) If, after Joe, you're still looking for independent film depictions of hellishly misplaced proletariat rage, I offer you this recent movie from France. If you dare. The best thing about Joe was Peter Boyle's performance as the title character, but Phillip Nohine, as I Stand Alone's 'Joe', an unnamed out-of-work butcher, is just as good and significantly less cartoonish. Where Boyle's character was theoretically scary, Nohine's is literally terrifying. And the script is far more intelligent. Warning: if you proceed, be very careful about who you might choose to rent it or otherwise see it with. There are two very non-gratuitious, very non-cartoonish sequences of outward violence that some people will really not want to see in any remotely casual setting. And it's all the inner violence that's really intense.

Cutter's Way (Ivan Passer, 1981) It took me a little while to warm up to this one, mainly due to John Heard's performance as eyepatched crippled Vietnam vet Alexander Cutter, in which he rasps away like Tom Waits and treats everyone and everything in sight as obnoxiously as possible. But, as the California neo-noir plot involving Jeff Bridges as Heard's best (only?) friend started to amble its way into view, I got hooked. The rhythms of this movie -- the way one scene cuts to the next, the way every single character delivers their lines -- are completely unique. Heard's performance ends up overcoming its exaggerations and being pretty damn heavy, but Bridges is even better, so laid-back that he's just plain laid-up, paralyzing everyone around him with his quasi-genial indifference. Everything even looks different; Santa Barbara may only be an hour's drive from L.A. but setting the movie there seems almost alien. Great pretty/eerie score by Jack Nitzche -- he also sings a sad, soporific love song called "Old Enough To Know" in a lazy croak.

Vertical Ray of the Sun (Tran Ahn Hung, 2000) The opening scene wonderfully demonstrates how you too can use a recording of "Pale Blue Eyes" in your own home. From then on, a sumptuous portrait of Hanoi, Vietnam is painted, the story of a good-looking family who live in sparsely but beautifully decorated apartments and wander beatifically through gardens and lovely streets. Halfway through my wife turned to me and said "So, when are we moving to Vietnam?" I was already wondering the same thing. This is a pleasing movie, beautifully decorated and shot; the characters and storyline are involving, and after the career of Oliver Stone, we need to see a representation of contemporary Vietnam and its people that has nothing to do with the War. However, I couldn't help but feel like I was just seeing more lifestyle porn, the same type of clothes and home layouts you might see in an In Style magazine feature on 'those hip and sexy Vietnamese!'.

Last Night at the Alamo (Eagle Pennell, 1984) Extremely low budget and rather crudely made, this is nonetheless a flavorful, melancholy, and funny slice of Houston life. The story is familiar: the gang's favorite bar is going to be torn down, so they congregate one last time to hit on girls, play pool, bitch about work, bitch about the wife, and get extremely shit-faced. Various 'real men' are revealed as poor excuses for manhood as the night goes on, such as the character of Cowboy, very well-played by one Sonny Davis. (I certainly knew a few dudes like him in my little Iowa hometown.) There's a subtle theme running underneath about gentrification and corporate takeover, but refreshingly, the film points out that with yahoos like this, corporate takeover is probably an improvement. Script is by Kim Henkel, co-author of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Between the Lines (Joan Micklin Silver, 1977) I should be able to relate to this tale of hip radical press journalists resisting the corporate takeover of their once-edgy underground weekly, but besides a few four-letter words the whole thing has about as much edge as an episode of Ally McBeal. It's even set in Boston and the cast of characters even hang out at a cute bar where a cute blue-eyed soul band rocks out. Jeff Goldblum gets to play the resident rock writer--they get the part about selling albums back right, but for the most part he derails the movie whenever he's onscreen with an unfunny hipster act. I thought he was more watchable in Jurassic Park...not to mention Transylvania 6-5000.....

A Real Young Girl (Catherine Breillat, 1974) Breillat's a kinky filmmaker from France whose warped feminism (or, more likely, warped kinkiness) is starting to catch on with today's kinky art set. Hell, I hear Peter Sotos himself is a fan. This was her first movie, filmed back in 1974 but only just now released because -- well, because it was just too damn warped in its kinkiness. For a good half-hour, I was pretty into it -- the portrait of troubled teenage girlhood got under the skin, there were some really swell cheese-pop parodies on the soundtrack, and one Charlotte Alexandra is pretty darn striking as the titular (pun quite possibly intended) 'girl' (girl in quotes because first thing Caryn said after taking a look at her was "How old is she, 22?") -- but pretty soon Breillat's own obsessions take over, and get pretty tedious. An hour or so in, it's somehow become merely about a girl who sticks things into her vagina and anus. Over and over again.

Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974) With gore and perversion galore, we see Divine grow from bad high school girl, to trashy and abusive single mother, to petty thief, to full-blown drug-crazed serial killer, shocking, voguing, and screaming at the world (or at least the slums of Baltimore) all the way. The climax is an absolutely delirious nightclub act that includes a trampoline routine! Oh yeah, and the gunning down of the audience! Anyone who still doesn't believe Divine is one of the most powerful actresses of the 1970s has another thing comin'. Not that seeing Female Trouble would convince them -- it's such a raw, shrill yawp from the solar plexus of perversity I can't imagine anyone but dedicated Waters fans not walking out. Hell, I thought about walking out a few times, and I loved it. The only reason Caryn stuck around was because I was her ride home. Possibly the most offensive thing about the film was hearing Waters's 'silent' soundtrack on the loud-ass sound system of Chicago's Music Box Theater, especially when almost every line in the whole movie is shouted or screamed by raving lunatic characters. Edith Massey is even more mind-blowing here as Aunt Ida than she was as the Egg Lady in Pink Flamingos. David Lochary also turns in one of his greatest performances, as the smug beautician/
voyeur David Dasher. Mink Stole is unforgettable as Divine's comic-tragic crazed-abused cute-hideous woman-child....unforgettable, but so shrill. The title song is written by Waters, sung by Divine, and jammed out by a great crew of Baltimore session cats. I got more yuks out of Pink Flamingos, but compared to the sustained tragic angst of Female Trouble, Flamingos is like an episode of Married...With Children.

The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000) One day in the life of a few different Iranian women. "The Circle" is what Iranians call downtown Tehran, and all the characters in this film pass through it, the camera passing the narrative from one to another as it moves through the city. All are in a time of stress; there are two unwanted pregnancies, and, oh yeah, the fact that four of them escaped from prison just that morning and are being searched for militiary police. So aware is modern-day Iran of how poorly its society treats its women, it had no choice but to ban this film. Sure, the deck is stacked here, but the whole thing is designed so realistically that I can't help but buy it completely. I especially like the way Panahi films the city, always with medium to tight closeups, so we see it only from deep within, as a contained force field, from which escape -- for any of the characters, male or female -- is barely even an issue, let alone a hope.

Quills (Philip Kaufman, 2000) Kate Winslet plays the French laundry girl with a vaguely cockney accent and major cleavage who smuggles pages (in exchange for ribald kisses) written by the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush looking like James Woods in a powder wig). As you can tell, director Phillip Kaufman, after writing and directing an Oscar-nominated movie I never saw (The Right Stuff) and making some odd combination of a high-brow Oscar contender and a late-night 'sexual situations' Cinemax film (Henry & June), has decided to just relax and make a good honest B movie. All a B movie needs to be great is a good script, and Quills has got one. Intentionally funny jokes are peppered throughout, and when it comes to having them acted out, you could do much much worst than Winslet, Rush, Joaquin Phoenix (as a well-meaning liberal priest) and Michael Caine (as the real villian). Plus, there's gore, profanity, and plenty of 'sexual situations' (including necrophilia!)...altogether, an outright cavalcade of delectably wicked ribaldry. Anyone looking for a good time? As Kaufman/Rush's de Sade puts it after the heartily X-rated theater production that is the film's striking midpoint climax: "It's only a play!"

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) When I was 11 years old, I was way into the books and especially the animated version of The Hobbit with Orson Bean supplying the voice of Bilbo Baggins and great imagery (man, the Gollum and the Orcs were cooler than anything in Heavy Metal). Now that I'm 31, I can soberly state that I am just plain-out too old for this shit. Not that Peter Jackson didn't do a fine job. The sets and special effects are really pretty flawless. And if you're gonna replace Orson Bean, I can't think of better casting than Ian Holm -- the scenes where Holm/Bilbo becomes possessed by the spirit of the Gollum are the kind of delightfully fleeting nightmares that only cinema can provide. The cave-troll, the orcs, the hobbits' big-ass feet: all looked great. Christopher Lee doesn't have to act much but looks incredible in a wig as the wicked wizard Saruman. Ian McKellen is always excellent, here playing Gandalf the Good (although he was better as the villian Magneto in X-Men). So what if I intentionally fell asleep for 20 minutes somehwere late in the first hour? If I was 11, I'd probably be totally blown away, so if you know anyone who's 11 years old and wants to go, you should take 'em. Don't worry about falling asleep, there's guaranteed to be a monster part and/or loud part to wake you up in 20 minutes at the most. (Although it'd be a shame if you missed Bilbo/Holm's second Gollum morph.)




A Waking Life; Donnie Darko
by Joe Krings

There are two opposite poles in cinematic storytelling: realism and fantasy. From the beginning of the motion picture camera, people were as amazed by its power to document everyday events (such as in the films of the Lumiere Brothers and Thomas Edison) as they were in its power to create new worlds and scenarios never before seen (like space travel in Georges Melies' Man in the Moon). Since those early times we have had movements that proclaim to be delivering a new level of reality to movies, from Neo-Realism and Cinema Verite to Dogme 95. On the other hand we have had those more fascinated with the bizarre, surreal or purely fantastic; Luis Bunuel, Terry Gilliam and David Lynch come to mind. Between these, there is a whole lot of gray matter where almost all movies will fall. Now, two movies insist on playing the two sides against each other to achieve very different ends.
       The quick plot synopsis on Richard Linklater's Waking Life is we follow Wiley Wiggins through a dream in which he encounters a wide range of philosophical harangues and conversations, all the while becoming more aware that he is in fact dreaming. But the big buzz surrounding Richard Linklater's Waking Life has been more concerned with its style of animation. By shooting and editing the entire movie on digital video, and then having 30 artists animate over it using custom-made rotoscoping software, Linklater presents an exciting new style in animation. It sports a highly stylized look that lies somewhere in the nether land between the cardboard cutout amateurism of South Park and the high-tech show-offiness of Shrek and Monsters, Inc.. Waking Life is obsessed with using the freedom animation allows to create fantastical situations and events. To this end we see people's words written onto the screen in hand script then transform into symbols of the word. A character might have the power to shape shift, such as when one man says he'd rather be a cog in the machine his head transforms into a gear momentarily. One pair of characters talking about Andre Bazin's theory of Holy Moments decides to have their own holy moment and slowly their flesh becomes fluffy white clouds.
        What really separates the look of Waking Life from other animation in the past is the lack of a steady camera presence. The hand-held camera creates a rocky feeling that informs the rest of the film's look. Backgrounds are unsteady and constantly changing, while incidental objects are always in motion. It deftly gives the floating, out-to-sea feeling Linklater sets up in the narrative by having Wiggins be escorted into his dream world by a man who has a car that looks like a boat, dresses like the captain from Gilligan's Island, and speaks in sea cliches. The hand-held camera, commonly thought to add a sense of realism to a picture, here helps implant a feeling of unreality or the fantastic.
        Yet Waking Life is still heavily informed by Linklater's predilection for realism. In his best films Slacker, Before Sunrise, and Dazed and Confused, as well as the new Tape, he has shown he's more concerned with realistic human moments based in conversations and small actions than he is with the extraordinary events and obviously scripted dialogue of the majority of movies. This is precisely the major narrative concern in this film. Had Linklater never animated his original video and his character never told us he was in a dream this would be a documentary of conversations. Many of the characters here, such as "Speed" Levitch (subject of the documentary The Cruise), are real people simply talking about the things they truly believe. Linklater is presenting conversations in a ultra-realistic style and this, despite the animation, can still be felt in the way the audio has not been made to sound more cartoonish or even more dreamy; it is simply played flat and naturally. Once we realize that a dream world is not really a fantasy world at all, but one in which we all live when we close our eyes, then it becomes clear Waking Life is as much an exercise in realism as it is an exercise in fantasy.
        Linklater has smartly used the dynamic of the fantastic to present us with information and stories that are ultimately realistic, giving him a chance to create a visually unique and exciting film while still focusing on his primary interests in realism. As in Slacker, had he not used such an original presentation, he might not have captured the audience on the strength of the dialogue alone. In fact, at times many people, myself included, become bored with the constant chatter because it offers no singular theory of thought but a little sampling of many different schools of thought. It is in those moments where Linklater strays from Wiggins listening to professor and student-types, and presents us with more extreme and simplistic thinkers, that the film is the most interesting. A very spiteful man in a prison cell promising to slaughter everyone who put him there and a silly conversation between two gun-wielding men in a bar that ends in both of them being shot dead are two prime examples. Other times when the action is less visceral, or the current philosophy is one the viewer could care less about, only eye-candy remains to maintain interest. Despite the occasional bout with boredom, Linklater's adventures in non-plot stories are to be applauded precisely for his willingness to play with reality just enough to get us interested.
        Donnie Darko, a teen science fiction film, uses fantasy and reality in the exact reverse direction. This debut movie, written and directed by 26 year old Richard Kelly, concerns a schizophrenic high school boy who may or may not be being coerced into committing acts of vandalism and arson by a rather large and scary looking rabbit-oid who may or may not hold the secret to time travel the boy will need to make everything right in the world. Obviously, this is the stuff of fantasy.
        Kelley, however, doesn't set his story in the future or in a world drastically different than the one we know. Rather it's a late '80's period piece content to take its time creating a realistic picture of suburbia full of simple realistic characters. Thus the viewer is pulled into familiarity before the outlandish course of the plot line is allowed to take off. Like Phillip K. Dick, Kelley realizes the fundamental idea that science fiction is much more effective if it is based in a world or built around characters that seem like real people. Kelley directs in the style of great realist pictures, allowing scenes of everyday life to linger and not necessarily pay off with any crowd pleasers, and time to pass with very little change in the characters despite the extraordinary circumstances that surround them. This is precisely what gives the ensuing fantasy, which shows all the hipness and cleverness requisite of indie hits these day, its strength.


It sounds silly, but I think one of the main reasons I moved to Chicago was the movie critic for The Chicago Reader, Jonathan Rosenbaum. His opinions made so much sense, I figured that any city where this guy could live had to be an alright place. I don't always agree with him, but he often points out to his readers that they don't have to, and the way he can topple sacred cows with just a line or two is truly inspiring. You can read a lot of his work at, but I've culled a few of my favorite of his direct strikes from the last year or so....

1. On Enemy at the Gates: "Basically another pro-war movie to go with Saving Private Ryan..."

2. On Charlotte Gray: "This movie reveals something interesting: during the occupation of France, Nazi officers and French peasants all spoke English with English accents, as did English resistance fighters--aside from the occasional spurt of French and German to identify who's who."

3. From his Best of 2001 article: "Many friends and colleagues urged me to catch up with Donnie Darko (which Lisa Alspector reviewed in a capsule in the Section Two film listings), but no videos were made available. Yet I could have watched an atrocity like The Majestic endlessly if I'd wanted to, because two copies arrived in the mail."

4. On Celebrity: "It appears that the widespread critical support of sexist and racist films like Mighty Aphrodite and Deconstructing Harry has further emboldened [Woody] Allen in depicting women as blow-job machines and blacks as sexual athletes; he knows in advance that most of the New York press will never desert him and probably will applaud his courage in the bargain."

5. From his Best of 2001 article: "I wouldn't call A.I. simply a posthumous work by Stanley Kubrick either, though I wouldn't rule out that dimension -- which is clearly what motivated Kubrick's widow and brother-in-law to persuade Spielberg to take over the project and is part of what motivated Spielberg. Indeed, I suspect that Spielberg approached this project with more seriousness and more willingness to show fidelity to its source than he did when approaching the Holocaust or Oskar Schindler's life for Schindler's List."

Joe S. Harrington's