Rightwing Film Geek

Playing at FilmFest DC

FilmFestDC released the program of movies for this year’s festival, which runs from April 24 to May 4. , though as I type this Monday morning, they don’t seem yet to have up the schedule, with dates and times. I’ve already seen five of these films, at Toronto, and here are my reviews of them:

THE EDGE OF HEAVEN, Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey, 8
THE FALL, Tarsem, Britain/India, 7
ONE HUNDRED NAILS, Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 4
SILENT LIGHT, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/Holland, 9
YOU, THE LIVING, Roy Andersson, Sweden, 9

Despite my already having seen them, I hope, schedule-permitting, to be able to see SILENT LIGHT and YOU, THE LIVING again, simply because I doubt they’ll see commercial releases outside of New York and maybe Los Angeles. And as the grades suggest, I’d recommend four of these five films, with THE EDGE OF HEAVEN probably being the one that the most people would like, with the other three having in their different ways a very high eccentricity quotient.

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March 31, 2008 Posted by | DC Filmfest 2008 | Leave a comment

Dith Pran dies

dithbones.jpg

dithpran.jpgDith Pran’s life and tale of survival under Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government became a movie. That movie THE KILLING FIELDS became a worldwide success, its very name coming to symbolize that vile China-backed Romantic-Communist regime, and Dith Pran used his celebrity to educate the world about that regime and become a constant burr in its saddle (he was quoted in the AP’s Pol Pot obituary, for example).¹ Dith Pran died yesterday.

THE KILLING FIELDS was one of the few serious movies made in the West from the late-60s until the end of the Cold War that can unabashedly be called anti-Communist. It’s primary subject was a Communist genocide and it’s the only “Vietnam War” film I can think of (it’s certainly by far the most significant) that is about the hell that US withdrawal created despite the assurances of peace-loving liberals at the time that US leaving the field in the Iraq Vietnam War would bring end the bloodshed. Oh, there’s a couple of asides in the film where characters say, close as I can recall, “after what the US did to them, I don’t think the Khmer Rouge will be very forgiving” or “the US underestimated the fury that tons of bombs can create” — lamely trying to suggest that the US created the Khmer Rouge.²

But the events that Dith underwent, and the magnitude of the Khmer Rouge genocide, are simply too overwhelming to withstand such spin. Nobody who’s seen the movie will ever forget — I will be vague to keep the surprise — a scene of Dith falling into an irrigation ditch. Apparently, according to this Dith obituary from AP (that I edited down from 35 inches to 15 to fit a hole), it was Dith who invented the term “killing fields.”

It was Mr. Dith who coined the term “killing fields” for the horrifying clusters of corpses and skeletal remains of victims he encountered on his desperate journey to freedom.
“That was the phrase he used from the very first day, during our wondrous reunion in the refugee camp,” Mr. Schanberg said later.

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March 31, 2008 Posted by | Communism, Dith Pran, Uncategorized | 4 Comments