Movies, books, music and TV

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Among The Misfits At “Cairo Station”

Among the misfits is a madman—this in a 1958 Egyptian picture, Cairo Station (seen by me on Netflix). The madman, Qinawi, lusts after women and resorts to violence. He is obsessed with a misfit woman named Hanuma (Hind Rustum), engaged to be married to an aspiring union organizer (Farid Shawqi). Segue here to the subject of people in the Fifties trying to liberalize, to reform, Egyptian society. Women too are making demands. But such liberalization cannot prevent isolation and murder: the final shot is of the sad girl separated from her beau. How does society eliminate psychopathology?

Youssef Chahine, who plays Qinawi, directed the film—a busy, flamboyant, remarkably acted, pessimistic one. Plus it has an original screenplay.

Felony City: “The French Connection”

The Brooklyn of The French Connection, the 1971 film, is a domain of heroin transport, bloody car accidents, and murder. The borough seems broken. The police in the film concentrate on narcotics, with the work turning grippingly dangerous (thus thrilling the audience). Surprisingly, the difficulty of the cops’ work is actually matched here by the difficulty of the crooks’ work: obtaining a particular illegal product. The product is from France. Trans-national drug dealing doesn’t look easy; it does look inevitable. In truth, crime in Connection is as grim as New York City itself.

Small Ponds: “Soapdish”

Sally Field and Kevin Kline are delightful in the 1991 screwball comedy, Soapdish. Field enacts Celeste, a big fish in a small pond, an egocentric soap-opera star who needs more stability in her life. As Jeffrey, Kline is the put-upon actor who returns to the soap long after Celeste, his former lover, forced him to leave.

Soapdish | May 31, 1991 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Penned by Andrew Bergman, the movie’s plot is too ramshackle and odd, but the farcical scenes and sight gags are hilarious. Most of the actors are riveting—not Whoopi Goldberg—even if Cathy Moriarty‘s role is a stinker. Robert Downey Jr. is in the cast and does not disappoint. Celeste is driven by narcissism; Downey’s David Barnes, a producer, is driven by lust. But the lust isn’t overplayed.

Soapdish being a comedy, the principals here are en route to a happy ending. Noises Off this isn’t, but I can deem it happy-making. Directed by Michael Hoffman.

Here Come The Masses: “The Camp of the Saints”

Jean Raspail‘s The Camp of the Saints (1973) is, perhaps, a racist book, albeit it is also strikingly relevant to the present time. As of mid-2022, the Biden administration has done a famously awful job of lessening illegal immigration—it wants such immigration—and who knows to what this will lead? It leads to nothing good in Raspail’s powerful French novel, wherein masses of people from India are sailing to France to live and take advantage of the country’s prosperity. In point of fact, Third Worlders everywhere are migrating to Western nations, and the powerless Left welcomes them.

“A framework of international cooperation, socialistically structured” is called for. Curiously, the immigrants clamor for “one religion,” globally, and it isn’t Christianity. These elements remind me of something that was written in National Review magazine in 2013: “while multiculturalism is not necessarily antagonistic to religion per se, it is united with Marxism in a hatred of Christianity specifically.” Welcome to The Camp of the Saints’ new West.

The Pursuit Of Love, Fictional

The Nancy Mitford novel, The Pursuit of Love (1945), is a winningly written entertainment—indeed, an artistic entertainment—with characters based on Mitford’s family. Alas, it has little to say and yet ’tis an intelligent comedy-drama. For sure, reading Pursuit is not a waste of time.

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