Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou


Rachel Maddow: a necessity for the 2012 presidential election

The election is just 3 weeks away! If you do anything to prepare for how you cast your ballot, follow Rachel Maddow online for her daily analyses of the presidential race; if you listen to anything, listen to her, since she really scrutinizes the media in depth about the issues. Not only does she take a close look at Mitt Romney she also watches  Barack Obama. You can listen everyday to the television broadcast on MSNBC online. 

Sometimes it's hard to believe that Republicans will do anything to roll back the clock, scale back women's rights with fundamentalist religious beliefs, increase the war budget, trash national health care --and all for the sake of not paying taxes to support necessary government programs (such as Medicare and Medical, even Social Security).  This elite group includes Romney who pays 14% tax.

Obama's message to the middle class to study how tax credits benefit only the wealthy should not fall on deaf ears...if it does, we will get the president we deserve for not fighting back.....

The issues are difficult to assimilate. Both sides deny what they say, and use the same attacks against each other.  Maddow's clever and witty style explores the rhetoric and behind the scenes truths of the political pundits. Rachel Maddow sees through this camouflage. It is really important to listen to someone who is not only a Rhodes scholar but one of the most astute political minds today. 

Maddow is a gay activist with a long term partner.  Her doctoral dissertation compared AIDS policies in the California and British prison systems. Her lifestyle is never an issue on the show; politics are. 

Not a Real Tango

Last Tango in Paris, (Bernardo Bertolucci,  Italy 1972)
Brando plays Paul. a grieving widower, consoling himself with distractions for a wife who betrayed him. Bertolucci places him an an empty apartment with red stained rugs and dirty windows. Here he brings a young woman he acquires like a sportscar, to show off, and to play with.

Jeanne is a budding actress disenchanted with her moviemaker boyfriend who frames everything with his thumb and forefinger. She is intrigued by the mystery of a new relationship which is clearly obsessive/compulsive--there are no names, only games.

Underneath this all is a man's raw grief. Brando tearfully smears clean his dead wife's overdone face, and tosses the stinking funeral wreaths. In this moment, and in the end when he sports a silly smile on his face while saluting Jeanne, he is real. For Schneider the film initiated a slew of roles as female lead. Taken under the wing of Bridget Bardot, her dream was to work in arthouse cinema with auteurs--and this was her most memorable role. The film acquired attention for the addictive urgency of their sexual entango-ment, and the film was temporarily banned in several US cities.

Maybe Sharon Stone is right: sex in cinema is interesting because it is so seldom free. But in this film that is not the case, because sex is so heavily entwined with emotional blackmail,depression and mortality-- and not much of a dance at all. Brando and Schneider got this totally correct.