Friday, February 27, 2009

Blogger's Block


I don't know what's wrong with moi. I come in every day to try to write something amusing for you, dear, loyal readers, and I can't. I think I am suffering of a mild case of bloggers' block, no doubt provoked by too much facebooking and e-mailing and spending way too much time in front of computer screens. Or perhaps by fretting about banks and the little money with my name on it that is in them. One is tempted to stuff the mattress these days.
Not that I don't try to do my homework.
Shall I write about the Korean tacos in LA? I should. Korean food reminds me of Mexican food. Both like spicy and pork and they are both delicious, so actually Korean tacos sound good to me. As opposed as Italian enchiladas, which don't. In fact, I am going to be in LA for one measly day next week and I'm seriously thinking of pursuing the Korean taco van.
Shall I write about some recent movies I've seen? I was about to write a review of Two Lovers, with budding rapper and potentially mentally deranged ex-actor Joaquin Phoenix. I liked the movie when I saw it. Was surprised that Gwyneth Paltrow was good in it, and so was Vinessa Shaw and I like the movies of James Gray. But then I kind of lost momentum. The movie is appealing as you sit there, but doesn't hold up as well after. Still, good acting, great, moody texture all around. I applaud James Gray for sticking to Brighton Beach and making American films that don't feel American but they are.
I also saw two movies in German at the Film Comment Selects minifestival in Lincoln Center.
Revanche, which was nominated for an Oscar this year, is a neat Austrian film noir. As film noirs go, the story is great but the movie is shot with such clinical detachment, I couldn't really get worked up over it. I bet there will be an American mauling of this film soon. It has a great plot.
And I also saw A Woman In Berlin, an adaptation of the anonymous diary of a German woman during the fall of Berlin in 1945. It's a good film, but it does not have the bitterness and the starkly brutal tone of the book. The book could be an apocryphal German version of the diary of Anne Frank, except that it was written by a journalist and the voice is that of a pretty decent writer. She has nothing but bitterness and scorn for the German men who were nowhere to be found when Berlin needed defending, while that stupid Fuhrer of theirs was hiding in the bunker like a coward. I must confess that watching German citizens of that era suffer for 2 hours gives me a slightly pleasurable frisson of schadenfraude. A small little sense of revenge that nurtures the soul. The movie is conceived to do the opposite. But here are these people, good upstanding citizens of the Nazi regime, devastated by their own government. They believed in it, hook, line and sinker. So there. They deserved that and much more as far as I'm concerned.
Considering what the Nazis did to the Soviets, I think the Russians were relatively restrained. Basically, the Russian army had orders to rape every German woman if possible. As we know, rape is a horrible strategy used to vanquish and humiliate the defeated. The Russian army raped more than 100,000 German women. So much for purity of race.
When the book came out in 1953, Germans were outraged because they saw it as staining the honor of German women (which were basically trying to survive), and no German man wanted to see himself in the mirror as an impotent (in every sense of the word) loser; so the author, duly enraged at this unbelievable but not unsurprising reception, forbid its publication until after her death. I recommend the book much more than the film.

See, bloggers' block is almost gone.

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