The Greatest films of all time: 29. Le jour se lève (1939)

Introduction:

While 1937 boasted with three greatest films of all time, “La Grand illusion”, “Pépé le Moko” and “Snow white and the seven dwarfs”, 1938 could not match so. Despite Sergei Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky”, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The lady vanishes”, and quite a few other films, some on the greatest films lists or awards winners such as “Pygmalion”, “You can’t take it with you”, “Olympia”, and “Jezebel”, none were quite original, technical masterpiece or having had any impact on other films. But a year later in 1939, when the World War II breaks out in Europe, quite a few great films appear on the silver screen thatLe jour se lève” (“Day Break”) is one. This classic needs to be remembered and reviewed once again, particularly since it was not fairly appreciated like its predecessor “Pépé le Moko” both from France, and played by Jean Gabin.

 

While color films were already in trend, the film was made in black and white that added to its thrilling and mystery murder poetic realism impression that was the goal of the film. Marcel Carné, one of the key figure in the poetic realism movement in French cinema, born in Paris, lost his mother when only 5 years old. He started his film career as a film critic and worked for quite a few film magazines until 1933. While he was experimenting on short films by age 25, he assisted a few directors such as René Clair.

 

Beyond a melodramatic thriller:

The film, in story being a melodramatic thriller, that even as such was an original in the genre, had much more to offer to the audience and to the cinema as a whole for the time and over decades to come. The film simple in the story at the surface with no political content or targeting anyone directly, due to its pure bitter realism was banned a year later after release, in France in 1940 by the Vichy government on the grounds of demoralization. But after the war’s end, the film was shown again to wide acclaim in France, and in 1947 it was again suppressed by RKO Radio Pictures that wanted to remake the film in Hollywood as “The long night”! The company acquired the distribution rights of the French film and sought to buy up and destroy every copy of the film that they could obtain. For a time it was feared that they had been successful and that the film was lost, but it re-appeared in the 1950s and has subsequently stood alongside Marcel Carné’s next masterpiece “Les Enfents du paradis” (Children of Paradise).

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https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-21-le-jour-se-leve-1939/

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The Greatest films of all time: 28. Snow white and the seven dwarfs (19378

Introduction:

If D.W.Griffith founded Hollywood and is the father of American Cinema, Walt Disney is the father of animation pictures and as everyone knows now the founder of Disney studio and any Disney theme parks and more. All these started by Walt Disney with a life risk taking adventure in 1937 in making “Snow white and the seven dwarfs”, the first full-length animation feature. Although the film was directed by David Hand and a few others and written by quite a few more, the mastermind behind the first animation feature that has so many re-releases and has been the gold standard of all feature animations, has been Walt Disney himself who deserves an introduction, despite being well known to all.

 

The Man behind all Animations:

Born in December (5, 1901), died in December (15, 1966) and released his and the first feature animation in December (21, 1937), Walt Disney is the founder of cartoons and family entertainment. Despite not being a filmmaker, he stands beside D.W.Griffith and Charlie Chaplin in American Cinema. He holds the record for the most academy awards of 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. Born in Chicago with an early interest in drawing, started a job as a commercial illustrator at 18, he moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. He developed the character of Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success, in short animation, a predecessor for his masterpiece, Snow white and the seven dwarfs in 1937. But his adventures and creation of feature animation did not stop there, but continued for years to come in his life time with “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” both in 1940, “Dumbo” in 1941, “Bambi” in 1942, “Cinderella” and “Treasure island” in 1950, “Alice in Wonderland” in 1951, “The story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men” in 1952, “Peter Pan” in 1953, and finally “Mary Poppins” in 1964, two years before his final farewell.

 

Read the full text here:

https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-20-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs-1937/

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The Greatest films of all time: 27. Pépé le Moko (1937)

Introduction:

Pépé le Moko” is the only masterpiece of the French filmmaker, Julien Duvivier whom, the great French director, Jean Renoir has called “a great technician, rigorist and a poet”. The film is a great classic example of “poetic realism” of 1930’s and has often been considered an early predecessor of “Film Noir”. The English author, Graham Greene, who was twice in 1966 and 1967 shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in literature and wrote the script for the “The Third Man” has claimed Pépé le Moko as “one of the most exciting and moving films I can remember seeing…it succeeds raising the thriller to a poetic level”. This great early classic that unfairly has been missed from many lists of great films, despite its undoubted direct and indirect impacts, admittedly and none on many future films and filmmakers, will be revived here into the memories of film lovers, students of cinema and filmmakers.

 

A Classic unlike any:    

Pépé le Moko” is a unique classic that when it is seen today for the first time would surprise the viewer of how many times, it has been adapted directly and indirectly in the future films, even some popular classics. Due to the significance of the film and its impact on many other films and filmmakers, it will be reviewed from its four important following aspects (or 4 Ss: Stage, Story, Script, and Screen creation):

  1. The Stage:

The stage of the film is not in studios, but the town of Casbah in Algeria, a town unlike others, that on its own is the best ready made studio for any thriller or action films. This place Pépé, a jewelry thief at large and the main protagonist of the film played by Jean Gabin, calls it home and it is his hide out from the French law and the police. Casbah is mysterious, of a high and a low sections, like a vast staircases where terraces descend stepwise to the sea. Its dark winding narrow streets twist and overlap to form a jumble of mazes perfect for a thriller. This multicultural town homes people of many nations, from Africans, to Arabs, Chinese, Gypsies, Spaniards, other Europeans and stateless. Pépé hides among these people who many have a similar situation, hence help and protect him form the French law. The crowded cafes, bazars, houses with roofs on top of each other is the best refuge haven for Pépé and his allies, in the best natural film stage. There are even natural shades, silhouettes, dim day and night lights and else that the camera and cinematography need for thrills and actions. Casbah naturally begs for a story and script like Pépé le Moko, and so makes it a winner at the start.    

 

  1. The Story:

Read the full text here:

https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-19-pepe-le-moko-1937/

 

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The The Greatest films of all time: 26. La Grand Illusion (1937)

Introduction:

“The Grand illusion is story of people like you and me, thrown into this terrible adventure that we call war.” These are the words of the French creator of the film, the great Jean Renoir, years after in the re-release of the film. In relation to the story and content of the film that held through beyond the world war I, that the film is about, into the horrible world war II, Vietnam, Korean and now Gulf wars, Renoir continues to proclaim “The question that we ask our agonized world today closely resembles the question that Spaak (the screen writer), myself and many others, put to ourselves when working on The Grand Illusion…that things are as relevant today as it was at the time.” 

  

“We should all be grateful for.” that is what Martin Scorsese comments on the film, and “If I had to save only one film in the world, it would be Grand Illusion” claims Orson Wells, the creator of Citizen Kane. What has made “The Grand Illusion” such an icon of cinema? The film, one of the masterpieces of French Cinema by one of the frontiers of the French film art, Jean Renoir, is a film about world war I, but without any war or killing scenes that is customary in such genre. Instead the film’s theme is the class distinction and relationship among humans at the time of war in a prison camp. Through such story plot, Renoir two years before the start of another world war, conveys his anti-war message that humanity goes beyond territorial and economic conflicts, race and nations. The film truly depicts that the ordinary men or soldiers are not in fact at war, and that still connect as humans with common interests. But before discussing further about the film, lets see who was its creator.

Jean Renoir: A Born Artist

Jean Renoir was the second son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the renowned French painter, while his older brother was a stage and film actor. He was mainly raised by his nanny, Gabrielle Renard who introduced him to puppet shows and “She taught me to see the face behind the mask and the fraud behind the flourishes. She taught me to detest the cliché.” During the World War I, Renoir was serving in the French cavalry, and was injured by receiving a bullet in his leg, that led him to serve as a reconnaissance pilot. His leg injury left him with a permanent limp, but allowed him to discover the cinema, and the works of D.W.Griffith and Charlie Chaplin. After making several silent films, in the mid 1930’s when Germany and Nazis were preparing Europe and the whole world for a full fledge war, and Spain was burning for freedom from right wings and dictatorship, he like many other intellectuals joined the popular front to fight and resist fascism that was on rising. 

 As the artist needed the right social and historical circumstances to create, Renoir made his first masterpiece “La grand Illusion” in 1937 with great acclaim, then shortly after at the brink of second world war in 1939, his second masterpiece “The Rules of the Game”. Both of his great films were seized by France occupying German armies and banned until the end of the war. Both films have been regarded one of the best films ever made collectively by the world most renowned critics, film historians and filmmakers alike. After the war in 1940, Renoir moved to the United States and Hollywood, where he could not create as he did at home. In 1975, Renoir was granted the lifetime achievement award by Academy Award and the rank of commander in the Legion d’honneur by the French government. He died on February 12, 1979 in Bevelry Hills, but his body was returned to his homeland, France and was buried beside his family. 

 

The Great Illusions:

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https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time18-la-grand-illusion-1937/

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The Greatest films of all time: 25. Modern Times (1936)

Introduction:

It was 1936, in the midst of the great economic depression, unemployment and poverty all across the western world, particularly the United States. Chaplin after making two other great films, “Circus” in 1928 and “City Lights” in 1931, takes a break and travels Europe, where he observes not only the impact of the great depression, unemployment and poverty, but the inception of other major events. Spain was fighting for socialism and democracy, and Germany was preparing to take his lost power in the first world war back by empowering his Nazi’s party and his leader, Adolf Hitler. When Chaplin returned to Hollywood and created “Modern Times” in 1936, the civil war in Spain between the social democratic republicans who held the government for almost a year (the first such in Europe out of Russia) and the rightists or phalanges had already started. At the same time Hitler, the head of the Nazi party, the largest elected party in German’s history, targeted his nation’s economy towards war and achieved a staggering reduction in the country’s unemployment of 6 millions in 1933 to 1 million in 1936. He withdrew from the league of nations and the world disarmament conference that was created after the World War I, signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement with Britain, ordered Goring to implement a four year plan to prepare Germany for war, and assisted the dictator Franco of Spain to defeat the socialists and republicans against a universal attack against the growth of socialism.  

 

Chaplin who had already shown his keen and critical eyes in observing the world in his earlier films such as “The Kid” and “The Gold Rush” through his comedy, knew that this time he needs to go farther. Before making the impossible “The Great Dictator” in 1940 and mocking Hitler right in the middle of World War II (a task that nobody else dared to do), he decided to show the world the slavery of labor by capitalism that would soon take the world to the brink of war. This warning was well achieved in “Modern Times” through laughter and tears, the unique style of Chaplin. A glance through the films made in 1930s, even the acclaimed ones such as “Grand Hotel”, “Cimarron”, “Frankenstein”, “Cavalcade”, “Scarface”, “Baby face”, Duck soup”, “42nd Street”, “L’Atlante”, “The 39 steps”, “The informer”, “The Bride of Frankenstein”, “A night at the opera”, “Top hat”, “The Great Ziegfeld”, “Camille”, “Swing time”,…one wonders what other filmmakers were doing at the gravest time of all in the modern history! No one portrayed the great depression, unemployment and poverty all over the western world and at the center in the United States of America, no one alerted the world of the inception of the second world war in Europe and burning of Spain for freedom. Obviously no one, how great they were in entertaining people, did not feel the duty and responsibility of using the film medium to enlighten and inform people of what is happening in real. Therefore this is a proof that Chaplin was not only the greatest of all in his own art of comedy, acting, directing, composing,…but the greatest in having such duty and responsibility carrying such mission single handedly on his shoulder for the rest of the world of cinema. He was the only one able to dare and to make “Modern times” and later on “The Great dictator”, and nobody could even touch him or hurt him for depiction of the dark reality, as he was Charlie and made everyone laugh even reportedly Hitler when he watched his own mockery, and made everyone cry at the same time and above all think!

 

Chaplin the Legend of World Cinema:

Whatever could be said and have been said about Chaplin does not yet deserve what he has done for the art of filmmaking. Federico Fellini, the great Italian director has called Chaplin “a sort of Adam, from whom we are all descended”. The great French filmmaker, Jacques Tati has said about Chaplin “Without him I would never have made a film”. René Clair, another major French director has praised Chaplin “He inspired practically every filmmaker”. Billy Wilder, the great American Filmmaker commemorated him as “Chaplin not only wrote the scripts, he directed , acted in, and composed the music scores,…Chaplin, up to the moment he started writing dialogue, was an absolutely unique genius. He was a God.” Vittorio De Sica, the maker of “The Bicycle thieves” and a great actor has called himself the successor of Chaplin and how much he was influenced by him. 

 

Read the full text here:

https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-17-modern-times-1936/

 

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Picking the Good Tomatoes Among the Rotten Tomatoes

Rottentomatoes.com is a website ranking movies based on aggregate of film reviews. Since the website accumulates and aggregates the film reviews, it is a popular and relied one for measuring the quality of films. At the same time, this website is a window that through it one can see how film reviews are, many without sufficient or no research into the film, its subject, and else, but solely based on personal preference. In the following, first the 100 greatest films of all time on this website by aggregate of the film reviews will be discussed. Since the website is mostly relied on the number of reviews than the number of 100% positive reviews, then the films with higher reviews (that are mostly modern era films as they are more reviewers now than in the past), will get a higher ranking. But films with 100% positive reviews if they have lower number of reviews, such as old films as you will see, they will get lower rankings and many great films do not appear on this list of the greatest 100 films of all time, but some mediocre recent years films  with more number of reviews appear in the list. 

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https://www.cinemarevisited.com/picking-the-good-tomatoes-among-the-rotten-tomatoes/

 

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All eyes on the 89th Academy Awards

Historically Oscar or Academy Awards has ignored many great films and has recognized bad or mediocre films for political or trend of time reasons. For a list of great unrecognized films, you can read the article on Academy Awards on this site, as the list is too long to be repeated here. Also historically Academy Awards have followed the footsteps of Golden Globe by awarding almost the same films that the younger sister has done it more than a month before. This year as everyone knows, the Golden Globe at this sensitive era of political adversary in America against the whole world, has done the worst of all time. The unrealistic and flawed in making fairy tale of “La La Land” wins a record of 7 awards, while more realistic films representing the current era or the American society such as “Hell or high water”, “Moonlight”, and “Nocturnal Animals” are ignored.

As Maurice Druon, the writer of the French resistance anthem in 1943, in his historical monument “The Accursed Kings” in comparison with the British empire writes for USA “history is far too short for them to really know and understand cultures with millennia under their feet”. This matter of fact was written long before this century and what is now happening to the world all scripted by USA. So if Hollywood as Modris Eksteins discloses in his “Rites of Spring” does not intend to be a mutual corporate in the war crimes by promoting and rewarding elite arts and fairy tales at this important point in history by not portraying “working parties digging or repairing trenches repeatedly uncovered corpses in all stages of decay or mutilation”, she needs to change her attitude in nominating and rewarding real pieces of cinematic art in the matter of fact direction.

At this time in history that as Niall Ferguson analyses in his “Colossus: The Rise and Fall of American Empire”, that USA more and more is striving hard to create “new world order” and “spread of democracy”, and provision of “economic stability”, Hollywood and so Academy Awards have a strong and influential public role to disclose such and intervene by promoting and rewarding the right films in the direction for the commons and not a few elites.  Hollywood as representative of America on silver screen and Academy Awards as the awarding agency, need more than ever to enlighten people and even the politicians that as Francis Fukuyama in his book “The end of history and the last man” announces the New American Liberal Capitalism “could well corrode from within in a welter of dissatisfaction. It is not then ‘external’ threats-religious fundamentalism for example-which need to be guarded against but the will-to-superiority of the elite few who find their ambitions thwarted in a Western order which threats everyone as equals.”          

Now looking at the nominations of the 89th Academy Awards, one anticipates that Oscar repeats the similar wrongdoing as the Golden Globe and as it has been done in its past. Cinema could easily portray the history, politics, the society and any era of time in anywhere or the whole world, and could be the most influential in enlightening audience or reflecting people’s voice. Some great films in the past have done so, such as “Born on the fourth of July”, “The grapes of wrath”, “The great dictator”, “Deer hunter”, “Apocalypse now” and else. The past year although we did not witness similar great films, still there are films deserving recognition than “La La Land”. The world is going to watch the Oscar ceremony on February 26, 2017 and will judge Hollywood who will admire itself in its glory ignoring the world around her, or recognizing the films that portraying our time better while deserving some recognition cinematically as well. Here we make some suggestions among the nominations for a better recognition at this time of empire striking back in America.

 Suggesting Best Picture:

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https://www.cinemarevisited.com/all-eyes-on-the-89th-academy-awards/

 

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The Greatest films of all time: 24. King Kong (1933)

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnaCi4rBfqw[/embedyt]

Introduction:

“King Kong” directed by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack is an original adaptation of a story by Copper and Edgar Wallace. The film is the first in a genre of its own kind with remakes in 1976 and 2005. Although the film was not the first genre of man against beasts, but the first one with a pre-historic giant ape, a prototype for later years films such as Jurassic park film series. The film is also the first classic to portray the affection between the beast and the man (Ann Darrow, the leading female protagonist acted by Fay Wray), while majority of other humans out of fear, attacking and finally murdering King Kong in a frenzy. 

A Gigantic undertaking:

King Kong was not the first film on a jungle beast, as films such as “Beasts in the Jungle” of 1913 showing fights of man with lions, tigers, and other animals; “Tarzan of the Apes” of 1918, “The Lost World” of 1925; and “Ingagi” of 1930 (showing man and the jungle gorillas’ in fight and even intimacy) had already captured the silver screen and the box office, as the last film was one of the highest-grossing movies of the 1930s at over $4 million. In fact “Ingagi” was influential in the writing and production of King Kong. 

 

Merian Copper, the principal writer and director of King Kong, had been long fascinated with gorillas and other jungle beasts since his childhood. Later on he developed the storyline of the encounter of some adventurist documentary makers with a giant gorilla in a remote island and presented it to the Paramount Studios in the first years of the Great Depression. But he was rejected due to its high cost of sending the film crews to Africa. Then he submitted his project to RKO in 1931 that was accepted, though the cost of travelling the film crew to Africa was still a setback. While Cooper immediately was in the process of making “The Most Dangerous game”, a story about a big game hunter, co-directed with his friend Ernest Schoedsack, they built a jungle stage in the studio. Afterwards when he achieved the similar jungle set in the studio in the film “Creation” about an island of dinosaurs, he realized that he could do the same with King Kong and spare the high travel cost. 

 

Read the rest of the text here:

https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-15-king-kong-1933/

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The Greatest films of all time:23. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Introduction:

“All Quiet on the Western Front” of Lewis Milestone is a prototype antiwar film, adapted from the same name novel by “Erich Maria Remarque”. Although the film won the best direction at the second Academy Awards and not the best picture, is on the list of 100 best American film of the American Film Institute and is considered one of the best American epic films. In 1990, the film was also selected and preserved by the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It could be easily said that this film is the frontier all antiwar movies, and all such films in later years have been one way or another influenced by “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Before discussing this classic prototype antiwar film, its creator, “Lewis Milestone” deserves a brief mention.

 

An antiwar man:

Milestone (1895-1980) born in Moldova of Russia to a Jewish family, moved to US in 1912 at age of 17. He enlisted in the US signal Corps, where he worked as an assistant director on army training film during the world war I and gathered some experience in war film making later on. After the first world war, he also worked as an assistant director in Hollywood until Howard Hughes promoted to the rank of director and he helped him with some of the aviation scenes of his “Hell’s Angles” film. This antiwar man made three films during the second world war, but ironically was blacklisted under the suspicion of sympathizing communism in Hollywood among many other greats. So he decided to leave US for Europe until late 1950’s when he returned to make “Ocean’s 11” with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, then “Mutiny on the Bounty” with Marlon Brando. Lewis Milestone’s final request before he died in 1980 was for Universal Studios to restore “All Quiet on the Western Front” that had been cut short everywhere in the world to its original length. That request would eventually be granted nearly two decades later, so that the current popular version today is that restored version.

Yeah, generals…need war”:

Read the rest of the text here:

https://www.cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time15-all-quiet-on-the-western-front-1930/

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74th Golden Globe: Hollywood admires itself with La La Land

Golden Globes 2017: It Was Another Day Of Sun!

The 74th Golden Globe on January 8, 2017 celebrated itself and Hollywood with “La La Land”, a film about Hollywood, L.A, and   the promise land of hope and dreams come true! The golden Globe website proudly announces “A record seven Golden Globes for La La Land!. A first Dreams come true for dreamers.” The film wrote and made by Damien Chazelle , beats the previous records of 6 awards by “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” of 1975 and “Midnight express” of 1978 and  of 5 awards of “Doctor Zhivago” of 1965, “Love Story” of 1970, “The Godfather” of 1972, and “A Star is born” of 1976!  The Hollywood Foreign Press Association prizes itself and the dreamland of Hollywood by awarding the most to their “La La Land” as their well presented symbol for the promotion of their cause to the foreign lands outside US, the initial and continuing reason of their foundation!

Damien Chazelle  who could not believe it himself and his previous better film, “Whiplash” was not nominated for the best film last year, called the whole frenzy at the award ceremony as “insane”! And the ecstatic producers of the film announce “We need such films now more than ever” perhaps to create empty hopes and dreams in the “La La Land” of Hollywood! These are said and done while Meryl Streep in receiving the life achievement awards, delivers one of her best speech as a wake up call to American politics and people. Again Golden Globe like Oscars recognizes and awards the content and not the process of filmmaking, and a content not enlightening and vital for the time, but deceiving and distracting.  Golden Globe did not cheer and award so much for “Moulin Rouge” of 2001 and “Chicago” of 2002, two very good musicals that won each only three awards from this association! A brief note about “La La Land”, that mixed up a musical theatrical show and dance, imposed uncoordinatedly to the film story and jazz. From the first shot of everybody jumping out of their cars and dancing on a highway in very artificial scenario, to the rest of film, the Broadway style of dance that is the centre of the film is imposed to a jazz story, even in a jazz concert. The script is flawed, the direction is Disney and kiddish type, and the acting cheap and beneath any awards consideration.     

Golden Globe and its voting members perhaps awarded the film for reminding themselves of the great old classic films  that “La La Land” indirectly paid homage to, such as “West Side Story”, “Singin’ in the rain”, “An American in Paris”, or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals, or even on the dream content side to “It’s a wonderful life” and alike. But they had a better choice of paying tribute to the old time, by having recognized “Nocturnal Animals” of Tom Ford, for reminding the expert viewers of classics of “Alfred Hitchcock” , “Cape Fear” and “Natural Born Killers”. Perhaps it is not the best time to recognize such violent film as “Nocturnal Animals” as the world and the United States of America is safe and in good hands with no killings or terrors on every corner! What Malcolm X has said years ago still hold the truth and not the deception created and distributed by La La Land: “We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.”  Even in “comedy and musical” category that “La La Land” won more than what belongs this category, “Florence Foster Jenkins” being both comedy and musical with unequalled hillarious performance by Meryl Streep, deserved more. 

Lastly the Golden Globe in their 74th ceremonies reprimanded for their last year not having recognized any black filmmakers and artists, so this time awarded the “Moonlight” as an apology to their last year mistake that was criticized by some to be “racist”! Alas that is all politics and fashion and these awards have nothing to do with the real art making, and real artists!  Despite “La La Land” an unrealistic fairy tale film robbed most of the awards, at the same time “Moonlight” a very realistic, totally opposite, won a few. “Moonlight” is so representative of the poor and crime-stricken society of America, in another dreamland of Miami, that until half way through the film, the audience may not recognize the place of happening events is US and not South Africa or a poor Caribbean or an African country.           

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