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Thanks to Netflix, we've been able to see a huge assortment of foreign films, classics, and oddities. I remember when I was in college, seeing tons of Japanese films--it really made a difference when I finally got to Japan: I was more prepared, thanks to those films--even the samurai ones--than I would have been if I hadn't seen them. ("Really? The samurai films?" "Yes, because of the landscape, because of the historical buildings, because when you see people's idealized versions of the past, it tells you something about the culture and values... but of course, contemporary films reveal more about manners, everyday scenery, food, habits, etc.") And now, I feel like through seeing Iranian films, French films, and so on, I'm getting little windows into those places.

Last night we saw a classic film: 12 Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda. None of us had ever seen it; wakanomori chose it purely on spec. It was excellent! We were all completely caught up in it. Brief plot summary: 11 jurors want to quickly convict a man who seems, from the case, clearly guilty of the murder he's been accused of. The year is 1954 or 1955, I forget which, and a conviction will mean the death penalty, and because it's a life-and-death decision, the one disssenting juror wants them at least to talk over the case. What then unfolds is an incredible discussion of ideas. In some ways it's very stagey--each man represents a type, and "plays" his type, but so eloquently and so interestingly that you're just completely drawn in. And the shifts in power, the conflicts between them all--both spoken and implied--are just fascinating. I couldn't tell until maybe the last 10 minutes how it was going to end. It was very, very moving. In addition to all that, it really drives home the responsibility of a jury--for that alone, all high school students should see it. But it's much more than a civics lesson. It touches on prejudice, class, group dynamics, peer pressure, the legal system, respect, human nature and human relations, social ills--very cool. I really think it's one of the most interesting movies I've ever seen; I highly recommend it.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
12 Angry Men is one of our favorites!! What an awesome, HUMANE film. Brilliant. Also try the old western, "The Oxbow Incident."
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Will add The Oxbow Incident to the queue!
Sep. 2nd, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Yes! Twelve Angry Men is a classic and deserves to be. One of my favorite movie trivia games is to ask who the twelve angry men were. And Netflix is becoming the only place to get foreign films anymore. My local store only stocks 8 or 10 of the m ost popular. Wasn't it you I talked to about the Iranian trilogy of films: Children of Heaven, Color of Paradise, and Baran by Majid Majidi?

If you go to netflix and plug in my other email (not yahoo) you can put me on your friends list, if you want...
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Netflix friending
Wow, I don't even know about that aspect of Netflix--what does it do/mean? We recommend one another films?

Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Netflix friending
(screwed up last comment) deleted....sorry.

Yes! You can share movie recommendations and see each others queue. I can see some people not wanting to share their queue's but mines pretty inoffensive. I'm friends with ambermae who got me started with Netflix.
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Netflix friending
Yes!! Invitation accepted! Thanks!
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Netflix friending
Hey! We're both waiting for Rebecca...I get it first!
Sep. 2nd, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Netflix friending
Okay, but I get it next! Thanks for accepting the invite (and explaining how it all works)
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
And yes indeed--we were talking about those films. I'm so happy when my 13-year-old mentions those movies and how she liked them...
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing she liked most the "Children of Heaven"? The movie which has the kids sharing a pair of shoes? My nephews, who never watch foreign films because of the sub-titles loved that movie.
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Actually, her favorite was Colors of Paradise!
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
If I remember that had a sad ending. I'm surprised that would be a favorite of a 13 year old.
Sep. 4th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, great movie! I lived my own little 12 angry men. Except it was 12 angry men/women, of course. And it wasn't exactly life or death but the accused was going to be sent to prison for 20+ years if we convicted.

He was an illegal alien who kept hopping the border. We'd catch him, send him back, he'd hop over, we'd catch him, etc....he was finally caught of doing something horrible (it was blacked out in our jury room) and we were only to decide if he was guilty of hopping the border again. Everyone wanted to instantly convict him but I had some questions. Like why was the person in the courtroom a good 100 pounds less than the picture from the border police. Just questions..I wanted to make sure before I convicted. It went on for a day and a half as my fellow jurors got increasingly huffy and tried to bully me. The whole thing sucked to a remarkable degree and has made me phobic about being called on another juror.

So 12 Angry Men was my therapy. Thumbs up! Can't wait to read more of your reviews. I love indies and foreigns!
Sep. 5th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Wow, Jackie, I am SO impressed. Really, that's tremendous, what you tried to do. I can just imagine how traumatized you must have been, but you took a stand for justice. You're a remarkable person!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )



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