Monday 22nd January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 23, 2018 by bishshat

171-alone-in-berlin

Alone In Berlin

In 1940, a working-class couple in World War II-era Berlin, Otto and Anna Quangel, decide to resist Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, after receiving the news of the death of their only son. An additional impetus for their growing resistance to the regime is the fate of an old Jewish woman living in their building. Though the official deportation of Jews to death camps had not yet started, Jews have no recourse to any legal protection. Ruthless Nazis — and “non-ideological” common criminals — use the opportunity to loot the old woman’s apartment with impunity. Despite the efforts of the Quangels and other kind neighbors to help her, the persecution ends with the old woman jumping to her death from a high floor window.

imageAlone-in-Berlin-MAIN

Impelled by all this, the couple starts writing postcards to urge people to stand against Hitler and the Nazis and protest against them, and furtively placing the cards in public places – a capital crime.[3] [4] Their first card reads: “”Mothers, Hitler Will Kill Your Son Too”. At first, Otto wants to do it all by himself, warning Anna, “They hang women, too!” She, however, insists on taking part in this dangerous activity. While in the beginning of the film the couple’s marriage seems to have dried up, being unable to console each other for the loss of their son, their shared risk and commitment brings them back closer, in effect falling in love with each other all over again.

lettere_da_berlino-17992058004

Escherich is the police inspector charged with finding the source of the postcards.[5] He is a professional police detective, acting out of professional pride rather than Nazi ideology. During three years of painstakingly gathering clues about the “Hobgoblin” (as he calls the mysterious writer of the postcards) he develops an increasing respect for this elusive unknown opponent. With the lack of progress in his investigation, Escherich is beaten up by the obviously impatient S.S. senior officer, and is further forced thereby, to execute extrajudicially, a man whom he is certain has no connection with these subversive postcards.

3bae551d08814d549ec05c8fd3abb1cf_compressedone-of-the-postcards-the-hampels-wrote-credit-aufbau-verlag

Finally, Otto Quangel is arrested due to the accidental fall of postcards out of his pocket, while at work. He remains, though, stoic about the certain death sentence awaiting him, and only tries in vain to take all the blame on himself and save Anna. After the couple has been executed, Escherich is alone in his office. He gathers up all of the couple’s hundreds of subversive postcards, scatters them out of the open window of the police headquarters, and shoots himself. The film ends with the image of the postcards swirling in the wind, falling down on the Berlin streets and picked up by passersby — giving the film’s protagonists a posthumous moral victory.

25046574707952433

Otto and Elise Hampel were a working-class couple who created a simple method of protest while living in Berlin during the early years of World War II. They composed postcards denouncing Hitler’s government and left them in public places around the city. They were eventually caught, tried, and beheaded in Berlin’s Plötzensee Prison in April 1943.

Otto Hampel was born in Mühlbock, a suburb of Wehrau, now in Poland, but then part of Germany.  He served in World War I and was later a factory worker.
Elise Lemme was born in the Bismark area of Stendal. Her education lasted only through elementary school. She worked as a domestic and was a member of the National Socialist Women’s League.

alone-in-berlin-postcard572586462e4d5b08c06fcdd2b737e1bf--elise-vintage-images
The couple married in 1935. After learning that Elise’s brother had been killed in action, the Hampels undertook efforts to encourage resistance against the Third Reich. From September 1940 until their arrest in autumn 1942, they hand-wrote over 200 postcards, dropping them into mailboxes and leaving them in stairwells in Berlin, often near Wedding, where they lived.

The postcards urged people to refuse to cooperate with the Nazis, to refrain from donating money, to refuse military service, and to overthrow Hitler. Although nearly all the postcards were immediately brought to the Gestapo, it took two years for the Gestapo to find the couple. The Hampels were denounced in autumn 1942 and were arrested. Otto declared to the police that he was happy to be able to protest against Hitler and the Third Reich. At trial at the Volksgerichtshof, the Nazi “People’s Court”, the Hampels were convicted of Wehrkraftzersetzung and of “preparing for high treason”. They were both decapitated on 8 April 1943 in the Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.

 

Advertisements

Sunday 21st January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 21, 2018 by bishshat

Southampton 1 Spurs 1

Harry Kane’s 99th Premier League goal saw us come from 1-0 down, but we couldn’t push on to find a winner at a rain-drenched St Mary’s on Sunday.
Davinson Sanchez accidentally converted Ryan Bertrand’s dangerous cross at the near post as Southampton started brightly, but their lead lasted only three minutes as Kane headed home from a corner with 18 on the watch.

somc2nintchdbpict000379734510

Eric Dier had hit the post in between goals but while Moussa Sissoko and Jack Stephens were off-target before half-time, the potentially decisive chances didn’t come until the closing moments of the game.

Young debutant striker Michael Obafemi couldn’t connect in front of goal and fellow substitute Sofiane Boufal’s shot was heroically blocked six yards out by Sanchez for Southampton before Kane found himself as the spare man as we worked the ball across the 18-yard line and into the box from right to left on 89 minutes, but his left-footed drive arrowed across the face of goal and wide with Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela arriving just too late.

nintchdbpict000379733886somc4

It meant a share of the spoils on the south coast with some tired legs at the end after an energy-sapping contest in the rain.

555

Emperor

Brigadier-General Bonner Fellers is sent to Japan as a part of the occupation force. He is tasked with arresting Japanese war criminals, including Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. Before he departs, he privately orders his Japanese interpreter, Takahashi, to locate his Japanese girlfriend, Aya Shimada. After arresting Tojo, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur informs Fellers Emperor Hirohito can be tried as a war criminal. Doing so could lead to a revolt, but the American people want the Emperor to stand trial for Japan’s actions. MacArthur gives Fellers ten days to investigate the Emperor. When Takahashi informs Fellers that Aya’s Tokyo apartment was bombed. Fellers orders him to investigate her hometown, Shizuoka.

emperor-matthew-fox-eriko-hatsuneemperor1

Fellers and his staff compile a list of people who were with Emperor Hirohito when the war started. Because none of the Japanese who are friendly to the Americans are among them, they resort to enticing Tojo to give them information. During a visit to Sugamo Prison, Fellers demands Tojo give him three names. He, instead, gives one: Fumimaro Konoe, the former prime minister. Fellers goes to Konoe’s home and asks him if the Emperor was responsible for starting the war. Konoe gives no conclusive evidence, but directs Fellers to Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. While Fellers waits to meet with Kido, he recalls the time before the war when Aya suddenly returned to Japan. Takahashi informs Fellers Kido will not show up.

Fellers recalls his 1940 visit to Tokyo when he reunited with Aya, then an English teacher. He learns Aya returned to Japan after her father became ill and died. In a banquet at MacArthur’s residence, Brigadier-General Richter informs Fellers that MacArthur will not look bad to the American public. After the banquet, Takahashi informs Fellers Shizuoka was bombed; Fellers immediately travels there. He is devastated by the damage and orders Takahashi to find a list of the dead.

Fellers recalls his visit to Aya’s uncle, General Kajima, for help with a paper on the mindset of the Japanese soldier. Kajima insists if the United States and Japan were at war, the Japanese would win because of the Japanese soldier’s sense of duty to the Emperor. When Fellers returns to Tokyo, he decides he must interview Teizaburō Sekiya, a member of the Privy Council. Sekiya, like Konoe, does not give any evidence to exonerate the Emperor.

EMPEROR-jumbo39ea50c4-710a-4c64-d405-8707656d8510

During Fellers’ interview with Kido, he discusses the time before the Japanese surrender. The Supreme Council’s deadlock between those in favour of surrender and those who were not led the Emperor to address the Council. Because there were strong militarists in the army, the Emperor made an audio recording of his order to surrender. Before the recording could be broadcast, the militarists attempted a coup and attacked the Imperial Palace. The Emperor and Kido survived and broadcast the recording. Unfortunately for Fellers, the other witnesses committed suicide and all records were destroyed, leaving him only with Kido’s testimony. Kido informs Fellers the Emperor’s role is, in actuality, a ceremonial one and the Emperor was influential in ending the war.

emperor-lgEmp-19915.cr2

Fellers decides to visit General Kajima, who was also Aya’s uncle. He explains to Kajima the Japanese people are selfless and capable of great sacrifice as well as unspeakable crimes because of their devotion to a set of values. Kajima does not know if the Emperor is guilty, but he notes his role in ending the war. He gives Fellers a box of folded letters written by Aya to Fellers and learns Aya died in an Allied bombing raid.

maxresdefault

Fellers concludes it cannot be determined whether the Emperor is guilty or innocent, but his role in ending the war was significant. He gives his conclusion to MacArthur, who is displeased because of the lack of conclusive evidence. Fellers argues the Emperor should be exonerated as the Allies agreed they would allow Japan to keep him as the head of state. MacArthur orders Fellers to arrange a meeting between him and the Emperor. Before the Emperor arrives, Fellers informs MacArthur of his role in diverting Allied bombers away from Shizuoka. MacArthur replies because no American lives were lost because of it, he will turn a blind eye. When Emperor Hirohito arrives, he offers himself to be punished rather than Japan. MacArthur states he has no intention of punishing Japan or Hirohito and wishes to discuss Japan’s reconstruction.

Friday 19th January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 19, 2018 by bishshat

1901 18 (17)1901 18 (10)1901 18 (9)1901 18 (14)1901 18 (7)1901 18 (15)1901 18 (8)1901 18 (1)

Spirits of the Dead

Edgar Allan Poe

Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

1901 18 (3)1901 18 (11)1901 18 (4)1901 18 (13)1901 18 (5)1901 18 (6)1901 18 (12)1901 18 (16)

Thursday 18th January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 19, 2018 by bishshat

20180118_11252220180118_12175920180118_12490420180118_14362320180118_143614IMG_4403

Have You Ever Seen the Rain

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm,
I know;
It’s been comin’ for some time.
When it’s over, so they say,
It’ll rain a sunny day,
I know;
Shinin’ down like water.

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yesterday, and days before,
Sun is cold and rain is hard,
I know;
Been that way for all my time.
‘Til forever, on it goes
Through the circle, fast and slow,
I know;
It can’t stop, I wonder.

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

the-shape-of-water-poster-copy

The Shape of Water

Elisa Esposito was rendered mute by a neck injury she had sustained as an infant, and communicates using sign language. Living alone in an apartment above a movie theater, she works as a janitor at a secret government laboratory in Baltimore during the Cold War in the early 1960s. Her two closest friends are her next door neighbor Giles, who is an artist and closeted gay man, and Zelda, an African-American woman co-worker who also serves as her interpreter at work.

1207_shape-of-water-5-1000x6671207_shape-of-water-4-1000x667

The facility receives a creature in a tank, which has been captured from a South American river by Colonel Richard Strickland. Curious, Elisa discovers that the creature is a humanoid amphibian. She begins visiting the creature in secret and the two form a close bond.

Seeking to exploit the creature for possible advantages in the Space Race, General Frank Hoyt orders Strickland to dissect it. One scientist, Robert Hoffstetler, who is secretly a Soviet spy, pleads unsuccessfully to keep the creature alive for further study, and is also ordered by his Soviet spymasters to euthanize the creature. Elisa learns what the Americans plan for the creature, and convinces Giles to help free him. Hoffstetler discovers Elisa’s plot and chooses to help her, and Zelda becomes involved as the escape is underway.

120417-the-shape-of-water-review-embed-1the-shape-of-water-sally-hawkins-octavia-spencer

Elisa keeps the creature in her bathtub using water-conditioning chemicals smuggled out by Hoffstetler, planning to release him into a nearby canal when it opens to the ocean in several days. As part of his efforts to recover the creature, Strickland interrogates Elisa and Zelda, but he dismisses the notion that “the help” could be involved. Back at the apartment Giles discovers the creature eating one of Giles’ cats. Startled, the creature slashes Giles’ arm and bolts from the apartment. The creature gets as far as the cinema downstairs before Elisa finds him and returns him to her apartment. The creature touches Giles on his balding head and his wounded arm, and the next morning, Giles discovers that his hair has grown back and the wounds on his arm are healed. Elisa and the creature soon become romantically involved, having sex in her bathroom which she at one point floods for him.

u8gfnsznm9fb8hufmpmpthe-shape-of-water-sally-hawkins

Meanwhile, Hoyt threatens Strickland’s life if he does not recover the “asset” within 36 hours. At the same time, Hoffstetler’s spymasters tell him that he will be extracted two days later. As the planned release date approaches, the creature’s health starts deteriorating.

As Hoffstetler leaves to rendezvous with his spymasters, Strickland tails him. Hoffstetler is shot by his spymasters in an assassination attempt, but before they can finish Hoffstetler off, Strickland kills the spymasters and then tortures Hoffstetler for information. Hoffstetler implicates Elisa and Zelda before he dies from his wounds. Strickland then threatens Zelda in her home, causing her terrified husband to reveal that Elisa had been keeping the creature. Strickland searches Elisa’s apartment and finds a calendar note revealing where she is taking the creature.

Screen-Shot-2017-11-09-at-4.12.24-PMshape_of_water_sex_scene

At the canal, Elisa and Giles bid farewell to the creature, but Strickland arrives and shoots both the creature and Elisa. The creature heals himself and kills Strickland. As police arrive on the scene with Zelda, the creature takes Elisa and jumps into the canal, where he heals her and transforms her neck scars into gills. An epilogue from Giles reveals that Elisa and the creature escaped together.

Wednesday January 17th 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 17, 2018 by bishshat

17 1 18 (7)17 1 18 (8)17 1 18 (17)17 1 18 (14)17 1 18 (13)17 1 18 (5)17 1 18 (4)17 1 18 (3)17 1 18 (2)17 1 18 (10)17 1 18 (11)17 1 18 (12)17 1 18 (15)17 1 18 (16)17 1 18 (9)17 1 18 (6)5155

Bad Moon Rising..I was going to post the video but I noticed my pants were drying on the radiator.😮

Monday 15th January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 15, 2018 by bishshat

The Dream

The Moody Blues

When the white eagle of the North is flying overhead
The browns, reds and golds of autumn lie in the gutter, dead.
Remember then, that summer birds with wings of fire flaying
Came to witness springs new hope, born of leaves decaying.
Just as new life will come from death, love will come at leisure.
Love of love, love of life and giving without measure
Gives in return a wonderous yearn of a promise almost seen.
Live hand-in-hand and together we’ll stand on the threshold of a dream.

15 1 18 (8)15 1 18 (1)15 1 18 (3)

Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Belinda Carlisle

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We’ll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth

When the night falls down
I wait for you
And you come around
And the world’s alive
With the sound of kids
On the street outside

When you walk into the room
You pull me close and we start to move
And we’re spinning with the stars above
And you lift me up in a wave of love…

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We’ll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth

When I feel alone
I reach for you
And you bring me home
When I’m lost at sea
I hear your voice
And it carries me

In this world we’re just beginning
To understand the miracle of living
Baby I was afraid before
But I’m not afraid anymore

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We’ll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth

In this world we’re just beginning
To understand the miracle of living
Baby I was afraid before
But I’m not afraid anymore

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We’ll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth

15 1 18 (4)15 1 18 (5)15 1 18 (6)15 1 18 (7)15 1 18 (9)15 1 18 (11)15 1 18 (12)15 1 18 (13)15 1 18 (14)15 1 18 (15)15 1 18 (16)15 1 18 (17)15 1 18 (18)141

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Last night I watched the 1942 movie Yankee Doodle Dandy on HD or UHD TV I was amazed that it looked so different and looked as if it had been made entirely in a studio and only yesterday, I have always loved this movie even from when I was a child. I watched it again in response to my sitting at the computer scanning old travel images and family images as the weather here has been so dull cold and crap. I remember in 1978 on the Moodies tour when I saw the statue in Times Square to G M Cohan how excited I was and started singing all the songs. Paul Lindsey Pam Booth and our dear friend Pauline Heather realised that they were travelling with a nutter. Has anyone else experienced this with UHD TV?

fe67d7af2d29def99101ddc59e72b54c

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as “The Man Who Owned Broadway”.[3] It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Richard Whorf, and features Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp, Jeanne Cagney, and Vera Lewis. Joan Leslie’s singing voice was partially dubbed by Sally Sweetland.

In the early days of World War II, Cohan comes out of retirement to star as President Roosevelt in the Rodgers and Hart musical I’d Rather Be Right. On the first night, he is summoned to meet the President at the White House, who presents him with a Congressional Gold Medal (in fact, this happened several years previously). Cohan is overcome and chats with Roosevelt, recalling his early days on the stage. The film flashes back to his supposed birth on July 4, whilst his father is performing on the vaudeville stage.

Scene from

Cohan and his sister join the family act as soon as they can learn to dance, and soon The Four Cohans are performing successfully. But George gets too cocky as he grows up and is blacklisted by theatrical producers for being troublesome. He leaves the act and hawks his songs unsuccessfully around to producers. In partnership with another struggling writer, Sam Harris, he finally interests a producer and they are on the road to success. He also marries Mary, a young singer/dancer.

77109-004-5B5206CD

As his star ascends, he persuades his now struggling parents to join his act, eventually vesting some of his valuable theatrical properties in their name.

Cohan retires, but returns to the stage several times, culminating in the role of the U.S. President. As he leaves the White House, after receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from the President, he performs a tap dance down a set of interior stairs (which Cagney thought up before the scene was filmed and performed with no rehearsal). Outside, he joins a military parade, where the soldiers are singing “Over There”, and, at first, he isn’t singing. Not knowing that Cohan is the song’s composer, one of them asks if he knows the words. Cohan’s response is a smile and then joins in the singing.

Yankee-Doodle-6800px-Over_There_1

 

 

Sunday 14th January 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 14, 2018 by bishshat

Words of Drivel

How do yet get from being a person to a poet?
Are you just a poet in your own head?
Are you a poet as soon as the words are put on paper?
Are you a poet when you stand in front of others and read it?
Are you a poet when they nod their heads, smile and clap?
Are you a poet when Barnes and Noble buy your words?
Are you a poet when you die?
Are you a poet when your words are passed to your child?
Are you a poet when your words are passed to your grand child?
Are you never a poet just a writer of drivel?
It bothers me
It bothers me that my words and thoughts will be lost before they are found
That in the heat death of the universe all poets known or unknown will be lost
Don’t you think that is a great pity?
My Sunday daubs and my wall of books wall all be lost too
Don’t you think that’s terrible?
And sometimes I know that in the end it won’t be ok
Sometimes the despair of all these lost things gets on top of me
Sometimes I know it won’t matter a jot
Sometimes I know how small I am
And sometimes, sometimes I realise that it’s me
And only me against the universe

John Bish 114th January 2018

On listening to a radio programme with Momtaza Mehri

Its a strange thing that after writing this I watched the movie Lucky. The movie related amazingly to this poem. It was uncanny.

lucky

Lucky

Harry Dean Stanton complained loud and long about his status as a “character actor.” Even after his magnetic display of melancholy as the hero of Paris, Texas (1984), he never became a “character-actor star” like Gene Hackman or Robert Duvall. But no actor developed keener instincts for connecting with other players to create a solid grid of energy and feeling.

Stanton makes his presence felt profoundly in the chain-gang ensemble of Cool Hand Luke even when we merely hear him pluck his guitar or see him as a blurred face in a group at the barracks. Straight Time becomes one of the most veracious small-time crime films ever made when Stanton, during a jewelry heist, tries in vain to stop his obsessive partner (Dustin Hoffman) from seizing every valuable piece long after the alarm goes off; Stanton’s exasperation transforms the scene into a dynamic, funny-scary miniature of a job and a friendship going wrong. In Repo Man, as a deadpan working-stiff philosopher, with a personal code and a legal license to harass car owners and pilfer their vehicles, he turned Emilio Estevez into his punk straight man. Stanton could be devastating in one-scene roles. In The Rose, as an old-fashioned country star in a crowded trailer, his antennae quiver as he picks up on Bette Midler’s rock diva flirting with his teenage son and casually using curse words like “bat shit.” He bans her from recording any of his songs—a leveling psychological and artistic punishment.

1006_lucky-2-1000x667

Lucky, his final movie, stars Stanton in a role based on himself, as a proudly rational 90-year-old loner in a small SoCal desert town, facing his inevitable demise with understandable fear and existential questioning, but without a shred of sentimentality or cowardice. Lucky isn’t just an actor’s movie: it’s a character actor’s movie, with Stanton at the center of a roster that includes, notably, Ed Begley Jr., Ron Livingston, and Tom Skerritt. Each of their scenes is a triumphant test of how much meaning an actor can wring out of a single setpiece conversation. The whole movie pays tribute to Stanton’s ability to convey a rich, funky lyricism via the micro-feelings tugging at the gaunt features of his face, the economic movements of his bantamweight body, and the tangy, sardonic vibrations of his reedy voice. As an actor and a singer, Stanton shares Willie Nelson’s aura of filtering immense emotion through a spindly instrument, and he does it with a lithe bluntness all his own.

The first-time director, John Carroll Lynch, has long been a formidable character actor himself. He and Nick Offerman were white-bread sublime as the true pioneers and founders of McDonald’s in The Founder (2016). Lynch designs and shapes the film as a salute to his and Stanton’s own kind, demonstrating, albeit with several glitches and short circuits, how a live-wire cast can turn a film into a living tapestry.

The sturdy thread keeping everything in place is Lucky’s reaction to a seemingly inexplicable fall. It does no physical damage, but it makes him recognize that he’s not as independent as he thinks he is, after being a self-reliant maverick for his full four-score years and 10. And the concern that everybody in town shows for Lucky embarrasses and befuddles him. Lucky never questions his long-held belief that after life comes nothing but darkness, but he’s compelled to consider how that feels when a person actually stares into the abyss. The outcome manages to be surprisingly light, playful, and touching, without trivializing the subject.

Working from a script by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, Lynch intersperses group portraits of soulful humanity at a diner or a bar with intense tête-à-têtes. Lynch gives his actors lots of breathing room—a risk in a cast varied enough to include David Lynch (no relation) and ’50s and ’60s teen idol James Darren. Those two appear in the saloon scenes, along with Beth Grant as the bar owner (also Darren’s long-time lover) and Hugo Armstrong as the bartender. I was glad to see all four, but their styles and rhythms clash, and the film sometimes collapses into dead air. Even so, the bar scenes boast pungent moments, while the diner talk is consistently superb. Lucky becomes a magnetic focus as a man whose frankness draws out other people’s core truths. He’s like a walking divining rod for honesty and revelation.

lucky-image-1

John Carroll Lynch frames the movie with Lucky’s daily routines: his 21 reps of five yoga exercises, his morning cigarette and glass of milk, his talks to an unnamed friend or friends via a bright red phone (an existential hot line?), his crossword puzzles and game shows, his cup of joe at, yes, Joe’s Coffee Shop and Diner, and his nightly Bloody Marias at Elaine’s Tavern. (The great Barry Shabaka Henley plays Joe; Grant is Elaine.) The director sets up these survival rites so swiftly and indelibly that a tiny upset in any one of them generates suspense. Lucky gets woozy and faints when he stares at the flashing red default numbers (12:00) on the digital clock of his coffeemaker. This fall prompts a visit to Dr. Kneedler (Begley), who declares him remarkably healthy; his lungs are clear though he smokes a pack a day. He now has a chance to examine the whole aging process. The movie asks and answers the question, “Will he take it?”

The actor’s onscreen credit reads, “Harry Dean Stanton is Lucky,” so there’s no doubt who supplied the inspiration for this ornery but mostly civil and oddly engaging loner. Happily, John Carroll Lynch doesn’t push too hard on the idea that it takes a tumble to make Lucky realize how much the townsfolk mean to him, and he to them. The rituals Lucky shares with everyone in town are based in part on mutual humor and awareness. He and Joe greet each other with a jaunty, “You’re nothing.” David Lynch’s character, a natty fellow named Howard, is Lucky’s best friend, though a tortoise named President Roosevelt is Howard’s best friend. David Lynch is nonpareil at embodying an idée fixe. In the film’s quirkiest running—no, crawling—joke, President Roosevelt escapes from Howard’s yard when he leaves the gate open, and the poor man is afraid he’ll never see his reptile buddy again. When Howard’s attorney, Bobby Lawrence (Livingston), tries to craft an end-of-life package at the bar, so Howard can leave the tortoise well provided for (if it ever comes home), Lucky gets angry and accuses Bobby of exploiting his pal. When Bobby is presumptuous enough to start a sentence with, “You remind me of…,” as if the lawyer knows anything about him, Lucky challenges him to a fight.

lucky_harry_dean_stanton_courtesy_magnolia

Later, when Bobby ambles into Joe’s for coffee, he and Lucky—and Livingston and Stanton—gingerly suss each other out. Livingston brilliantly reveals that Bobby’s worry for his family in the case of his own possible sudden death has motivated his morbid legal specialty. The two find themselves tapping coffee cups without agreeing on how important it is to pay for cremation in advance. Livingston (still most famous for the lead in Office Space), an intelligent, truthful, and peculiarly witty actor makes us wonder, to the bittersweet end, whether Bobby just bonds with Lucky or also hopes to close another sale. Stanton’s laser-like gaze keeps him righteous.

A few minutes on, with Skerritt as a guy named Fred, Stanton pulls off the formidable acting challenge of an impromptu heart-to-heart. A Navy man himself, Lucky can see by the badge on Fred’s cap as well as the cut of his jib that he’s a U.S. Marines vet. It turns out that both served in the Pacific War. Each experienced terror—Lucky on an LST ship (nicknamed Long Slow Target) and Fred while battling to secure Japanese-held islands. Skerritt strikes an utterly authentic note of horrified wonder as he recalls beaches covered in body parts and native survivors literally scared to death—of Americans. He makes the sight of a Buddhist girl smiling as she contemplates the hereafter register as an epiphany for the audience as well as for Lucky. Skerritt and Stanton, two masters of understatement, work simply, quietly, and oh so powerfully. We feel privileged that this movie lets us listen in on their painful confidences.

1200px-Lucky_film_2017

Lynch’s directorial sense of balance isn’t always so sure. But he rebounds from every stumble with a satisfying leap, like holding on a shot of Lucky sleepless in bed while on the soundtrack Johnny Cash sings Will Oldham’s song, “I See a Darkness”: “Can you see that opposition comes rising up sometimes? / That its dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind?” The most memorable fleeting moments are musical; the film’s poignant refrain is Stanton’s harmonica rendition of “Red River Valley,” which he recently strummed and sang on Twin Peaks. When Lucky attends his grocery lady’s birthday party for her son, “Juan Wayne,” and he suddenly breaks into a traditional mariachi song, in strong voice and perfect Spanish, this agreeably prosy movie takes poetic flight.

Whenever the bar scenes threaten to turn into a sloshed homage to The Iceman Cometh, Stanton keeps the tone unvarnished, earthy, and amusing. By the end he’s like a laughing Methuselah. When he smiles straight at the camera he connects to us with startling directness.

33

Volver volver

Este amor apasionado, anda todo alborotado , por volver.
voy camino a la locura y aunque todo me tortura, se querer.
Nos dejamos hace tiempo pero me llego el momento de perder
tu tenías mucha razon, le hago caso al corazón y me muero
por volver
“Y volver volver, volver a tus brazos otra vez, llegaré hasta donde estés
yo se perder,yo se perder, quiero volver, volver, volver.”
No vuelves porque no quieres!
Nos dejamos hace tiempo pero me llego el momento de perder
tu tenías mucha razon, le hago caso al corazón y me muero por volver.
“Y volver volver, volver a tus brazos otra vez, llegaré hasta donde estés
yo se perder, yo se perder, quiero volver, volver, volver.

Return Return

This passionate love, is all excited, to return
I’m on my way to madness and although everything tortures me, love me

We left a long time ago but I got the time to lose
you had a lot of reason, I pay attention to my heart and I’m dying to go back

‘And come back, return to your arms again,
I will get to where you are lost, I will get lost, I want to come back, come back, come back

We left some time ago but the time came to lose
you were very right, I pay attention to heart and I’m dying to go back

‘And come back, go back into your arms again,
I’ll get to where you’re going to get lost, I’ll get lost, I want to come back, come back, come back