Teenage Wasteland [BATMAN RETURNS]

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Published on 26 Jun 1992 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Eastern European Documentaries: Czechoslovakia and the USSR

Three fascinating examples of recent filmmaking in Eastern Europe (all completed in 1990) that tell us something about what it’s like to live there now. (If we had world news on TV that was worthy of the name, this is the sort of work we’d see every week.) Drahomira Vihanova’s Czech The Metamorphosis of My Friend Eva presents a striking emotional portrait of an aging, alcoholic jazz singer who was unable to perform under the communist regime. Jan Spata’s Czech Between Darkness and Light chronicles the return of Spata, a photographer, to his hometown after many years; it cuts freely between color footage and black-and-white stills, and its depictions of rural life are equally free ranging. Alexy Chanyutin’s feature-length DMB from the former Soviet Union, which I only sampled, is a beautifully shot portrait of life in the Soviet army among soldiers just back from Afghanistan–more generally it’s a highly suggestive look at life and problems in the former Soviet Union. To be presented on video in cooperation with the School of the Art Institute’s filmmaking department. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, June 21, 4:00, 443-3737)

Published on 19 Jun 1992 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Please go to http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1992/06/lie-lady-lie/

Published on 12 Jun 1992 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Along with Dumbo, which immediately followed it, this 1940 classic, the second of the Disney animated features, is probably the best in terms of visual detail and overall imagination as well as narrative sweep. Like Dumbo and Bambi, it might have given Dan Quayle cause for concern by validating single parenthood, but everyone else should be delighted. The richly and finely delineated characters include a cluster of European villains, an American hero and blue fairy, and a couple of father figures whose nationalities seem mid-Atlantic. The moral lessons include a literalization of metaphors about lying and other forms of misbehaving, and the grasp of a little boy’s emotions and behavior often borders on the uncanny. A razor-sharp restoration, with some stereo enhancement and vividly restored colors, appeared in 1992. (JR)

Published on 01 Jun 1992 in Featured Texts, by admin

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