A small-time crook, Michel, who we initially see stealing a car in Marseille, shoots a policeman. On the run in Paris he spends time with a casual girlfriend, Patricia, an American trying to make her way in journalism. She eventually betrays him to the police and he is shot and killed while trying to flee.
In terms of story content, this film is very straightforward; we simply view the last few days in the life of a small-time criminal in Paris. But, the narrative with which we are presented is rather fragmented and disjointed; certainly it lacks the lean narrative drive and the meticulously mapped plot structure of a Hollywood production. The viewer feels she is observing something more like a simple slice of life. A scene in a small studio flat between Patricia and Michel meanders its way between the light horseplay of lovers and deeper philosophical musings with little or no sense of drama or heightened . . . Read More
Ten sequences examine the emotional lives of women at significant junctures.
‘I am unable to grasp the greatness of Abbas Kiarostami … Two digital cameras, a car and your actors, and off you go.’ When the great American film critic Roger Ebert dismissed 10 with these words (quoted in Andrew 2005: 8) he was swimming against a tide of critical consensus. The Iranian filmmaker was after all a familiar figure in critics’ polls for the Greatest Living Director, on the back of films such as Close Up (1990) and The Wind Will Carry Us (1999).1 Ebert’s view is nevertheless important for the way it raises key questions surrounding this film and how we assess it; but it also sheds light on the way we continue to talk in general about filmmaking and filmmakers.
Ebert’s main concern was with the way the film is viewed and discussed through the prism of Kiarostami’s ‘greatness’. Given that the . . . Read More
Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ portrays a key juncture in the life of the fictional film director, Guido Anselmi (as played by Marcello Mastroianni). Guido is successful with audiences and well regarded by the critics, but he is having problems with his ideas for his latest work, a strange piece that seems to combine autobiographical elements with science fiction. The latter element has led to the construction of a large space rocket which has then become a sort of vast visual symbol for his escalating difficulties. As his sense of panic and paranoia grows, he is increasingly pressurised and harassed by his collaborators who are confused by his seeming indecision. To add to his woes, his marriage to Luisa (Anouk Aimée) is in trouble and his attempts to resolve this are hampered by the appearance of his demanding mistress, Carla (Sandra Milo). Ensconced at a spa resort where he is taking the cure for his nervous exhaustion, he is assailed by memories and . . . Read More
Mungiu’s second feature film follows the story of Otilia Mihartescu (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabriela ‘Gabita’ Dragut (Laura Vasiliu), two university friends in an unnamed Romanian town. The film is set in 1987, at the end of the oppressive Ceausescu regime. When Gabita becomes pregnant, the two girls arrange a meeting with Mr Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) in a hotel, where he is to perform an illegal abortion. After visiting her boyfriend to borrow money, Otilia heads to a hotel where Gabita has booked a room, only to be informed by an unfriendly receptionist that there is no reservation under Gabita’s last name. After much begging and haggling, they book a room at an expensive rate at a different hotel. Mr Bebe discovers that Gabita’s claim that her pregnancy was in its third month is a lie; in fact, it has been at least four months. The two women were certain that they would pay no more than 3,000 lei (equivalent to less than 10 pence in UK . . . Read More
Truth versus Lies
One of the primary themes in Tangerine is the importance of telling the truth and living the truth as well as the consequences of lies. As star football player Antoine Thomas advises Paul toward the end of the novel, ‘‘Don’t spend your life hiding under the bleachers, little brother. The truth shall set you free.’’ Paul responds, ‘‘Yes! Yes!’’ Truths and falsehoods are important to nearly every plot in Tangerine, even secondary ones. Old Charley Burns, for example, takes bribes and does not find out the truth about the poor quality of most of the construction projects in the area. Because of Burns, a sinkhole develops that engulfs the junior high school portable classrooms. As a result, he must resign.
For Paul, the truth about what happened to make him legally blind is very important. He does not remember until the end of the novel that his older brother Erik held him down and convinced his friend Vincent Castor . . . Read More
Adam is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School. He seems close to Kerri at the carnival.
A native of the Philippines, Tommy is a student at Lake Windsor Middle School and one of the best players on its soccer team.
Ms. Alvarez is Paul’s homeroom teacher at Lake Windsor Middle School.
Arthur Bauer Jr.
A mediocre player on the high school football team, Arthur becomes Erik’s flunky. He serves as Erik’s holder for kicking, drives him everywhere in his SUV, and becomes his enforcer, as when he hits Luis Cruz on the side of the head with a blackjack. Arthur is also responsible for the actual burglaries in Paul’s housing development. At the end of the novel, he is arrested for his crimes.
Arthur Bauer Sr.
The father of Arthur and Paige, he works as a building contractor and a major in the Army . . . Read More
While often treated as a realist novel about the interior lives of its characters and their internal experiences of oppression, Ann Petry’s The Street may also be read as a powerful protest novel—one with the potential to provoke specific political and social changes for the benefit of African Americans and women. Like the other black characters in Petry’s work, the novel’s protagonist Lutie Johnson and her son Bub are victims of an institutional racism that grants privileges to Anglo Americans while denying them to African Americans. By crafting Lutie as beautifully human, while simultaneously paying close attention to the relationship that exists between physical space and freedom, Petry persuades readers that white people bear the ultimate responsibility for the fate of her characters.
To make her protest against institutional racism rhetorically compelling, Petry must successfully dispel the misguided notion that problems of the ghetto may be attributed to some . . . Read More
Rise of the Harlem Renaissance
After the abolition of slavery in 1865, the racial climate in the South became increasingly hostile toward African Americans. Lynch mobs and widespread violence posed a constant threat to the physical safety and well-being of these individuals and, as a result, many African Americans chose to migrate to northern states. Urban areas like New York City provided better access to jobs and schooling opportunities, and so they attracted the majority of the migrants. Some of these jobs were created by the American involvement in World War I, which generated a need for increased industrial production. While the Northern cities did provide increased opportunities for African Americans, racial discrimination was still ubiquitous and only certain areas of the cities, such as Harlem in New York, were available to black renters. As a result, African American communities were concentrated in densely populated neighborhoods that brought . . . Read More
Pursuit of the American Dream
While working for the Chandlers, a white family of considerable wealth, Lutie is exposed to the idea that success and financial freedom are the guaranteed outcomes of hard work and perseverance—the American Dream. Determined to transcend her impoverished circumstances in Harlem, Lutie adopts this mentality and worries about money constantly. Her son, Bub, does not understand why Lutie is so concerned about money but wants to please her, so he tries to make money too. This leads to his imprisonment when William Jones takes advantage of his desire to earn his mother’s love and tricks him into stealing letters. Unfortunately, as Ann Petry successfully demonstrates in her novel, America was not a place of equal opportunity for African Americans or women in the 1940s. Lutie faces barriers of racial and gender discrimination as she tries to make money. Ultimately, she fails to achieve her dream of winning the fight against the . . . Read More
Jonathan Chandler, also referred to as Mr. Chandler, commits suicide on Christmas Eve in front of the whole Chandler family, including live-in maid Lutie and Little Henry Chandler. Afterward, the Chandlers pay off a number of officials to make sure the incident is recorded as an accident in the public records. This episode makes Lutie realize how money shapes reality.
Little Henry Chandler
Little Henry Chandler is the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Chandler. Lutie takes care of Little Henry while she is living away from her own son of the same age. Little Henry grows attached to Lutie and is devastated when she leaves. For Lutie, his wealth and privilege represent all that she wants to give her son but cannot because she is poor and black.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Chandler
Mr.and Mrs. Henry Chandler, parents of Little Henry Chandler, employ Lutie as a maid and nanny. Their interactions . . . Read More