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Random Rantings

May 1st, 2006 (07:51 pm)

I've been bad about finishing postings (there are 4-5 just waiting to be finished), so here's a quickie.

1. Naughty Little Girl

I've been reading a biography of Louise Brooks (Louise Brooks, by Barry Paris). A couple of things are leaping out at me:

Louise's star status was finished by time she was 24. In general (from this book and Lulu in Hollywood), it sounds like she was seen / treated like this year's flavor. There's some debate about how good she actually was, and whether her current position isn't due to a well-placed affair with a film historian. (I do think the woman had some special quality about her, even if you want to argue that she was a character actor). Maybe she slept her way into a career; maybe it was the pedophile that got to her when she was nine; maybe it was the disappointment of being fired from virtually the best job in modern dance available - at the age of 17. But it's somewhat clear that her goal wasn't to be an actor - she pretty much stumbled into it - and she definitely didn't take it seriously. Thus she (like Anna May Wong, but for different reasons) couldn't continue on in Europe, and Hollywood used the talkies as an excuse to get rid of someone who was a headache on the set.

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2. Naughty Little Boys

So I saw Tsotsi last night (chose between it, Kinky Boots, and the Bettie Page flick). It was uneven in spots (a few continuity issues as well), but once it got underway, I thought it was a quite good little thriller.

It's from a novel by Athol Fugard (whom I enjoy), and I think the big thing is to remember it's a South African story. The social conventions and expectations - the whole importance of the story - are going to be different than in the US and UK (not that they're identical between those two). If you go in understanding that, it's pretty entertaining.

Oscar good? Not sure - I'd still say that Paradise Now is a technically better made movie. But the impact I felt with both stories was very close. I have more familiarity with the Middle East than with South Africa, so the difference could be that the underlying story of Tsotsi is more foreign to me.

Another thing - I really really really liked the music. I usually pass on soundtracks, but this one I'm thinking of hunting down.

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