“The Convict-Bourgeois”: My Hans Fallada Rediscovery Piece, Which I Want You All to Read

The two biggest things I left out here (mostly due to space constraints): Fallada always gives you a laugh. He has the satirist's eye for absurdity. His humor is pretty much always also horror (you can make a case that Expressionism influenced him, & horror fans will find a lot of scenes that use genre techniques like "the things that should not be") and so it turns up even in his Nazi prison diary. The whole vignette he opens the diary with, about the night of the Reichstag fire, is a … [Read more...]

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From Hans Fallada, “Wolf Among Wolves”

One nice thing about reading so much Hans Fallada (for an upcoming review/profile) is how often I think, "Okay, that sounds a lot worse than right now." But then there are moments like this exchange, between a former Army officer who now does entry-level labor at a hotel, and his landowner friend: "Of course we took up the wrong attitude. I've discovered that ninety-nine percent of mankind have to torment themselves about money; they think of it day and night, speak of it, spend it, save it, … [Read more...]

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“The Sinner Teodora” Takes Viewers Inside a Romanian Women’s Monastery

Last night I watched "Pacatoasa Teodora" (The Sinner Teodora), an elliptical documentary by director Anca Hirte. It follows a young woman named Teodora as she prepares to make her final vows (? this was not a documentary big on explaining situations or helping the viewer) at a women's monastery.This is a haiku-like, compressed film, with lots of overlapping conversations about nothing in particular and lots of very tight close-ups on Teodora's lips or eyes. It's a sidelong glance at monastic … [Read more...]

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From Dick Button, “Push Dick’s Button”–Skating Behind the Iron Curtain

Otto and Maria Jelinek had left Prague with their parents, settling in Canada when the Russians took over Czechoslovakia. They were scheduled to compete as members of the Canadian team in the pair skating event [at the 1962 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Prague]. According to Czechoslovakian law, every male citizen was required to serve in the army, and any male who had fled the country was still considered to be a citizen and subject to army subscription, and in their view this … [Read more...]

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“An Unlikely Nun Every Snake Person Should Meet”: Joel J. Miller

on Mother Maria Skobtsova, and I STILL don't have a tag for Orthodox Christianity, sorry!! ...For a nun, Maria’s story is more than a little unconventional. At Bishop Anthony Bloom’s first encounter with her, Maria sat at a cafe table with a beer. She was often seen shambling around the Paris market in her tattered habit, cigarette perched on her lip, haggling for deals. And she kept company with the lowest of the low.That was her calling. Twice divorced, she knew the meaning of God’s mercy … [Read more...]

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Girls Like Violence: Short Movie Reviews

First up, a couple horror flicks; then a WWII documentary covertly filmed behind Fascist lines in Italy; then a satire/adventure tale from the first Gulf War. Don't say I don't have range.Stonehearst Asylum: A new asylum movie from the guy who brought us Session 9? Sure, I'll eat it! And Stonehearst is a really solid horror flick, twisty and heartfelt and saddening.It's a period piece, set between Christmas 1899 and New Year's 1900, at a remote asylum in... England? Scotland? Hogwarts? … [Read more...]

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St Petersburg Graffiti: Gagarin’s Pascha

Powerful. Via IP. … [Read more...]

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