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How Could They Do It?

By       Message Mark Sashine     Permalink
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by jbcurio

 

http://catalog.juilliard.edu/content.php?catoid=13&navoid=1387

 

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The Juilliard   School in NY is highly revered and its deserves it. I   personally   always   respected   it,   tried to know more   about it and   always considered it a shining beacon in the otherwise rather   bleak landscape of   American Arts.    Juilliard   traditions, its legacy, its message   were and are exemplary and   if there is   something all the world knows about, American to the core and   great at the same time- that's this School of Arts.

I don't know about other people but when I hear "the Juilliard graduate' I feel   good about that   person even before   I see the performance.   That is I felt that way until Zero Dark Thirty.   Jessica Chastain   is a Juilliard   graduate and she    played the CIA queen bee.

 

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In all fairness,   propaganda movies are nothing new. In fact, most of the movies are   propaganda movies, even lyrical   comedies. I do not associate the negative connotation with the word: cinema was invented   as the mass --oriented art and as such   it targets   groups of people, not individuals.   What   you expect from the book- deep thinking,   rich characters,   psychology, individual feedback- all of that should    not be expected from the "sentimental   fever' as Ossip Mandelshtam had   defined   the cinema.   It is not even   a theater whose sole purpose is   to concentrate   the   emotions   flying in the air and dump them all on pitch and toss inside of   the constrained   space of the scene. Cinema is   for everyone and as such   promotes anything; its secret is in the availability of    a menu-   everyone enters the theater   and picks his/her   meal.

 

So before Zero Dark Thirty was, for instance   "The British Agent' (   if I remember correctly) -- the 1920s   movie loosely based   on the    "Memoirs   Of The British Agent'   by Robert Bruce Lockhart, the former   member of the British mission in Russia during the Revolution.   The movie had not much to do with real events but it   featured    a brilliant cast, a perfect protagonist woman- heroine,   a lover and a spy   played   by Key Francis; it featured    the portraying of then famous Russian leaders like Dzerzhinsky, the   Leader of Cheka, the   Political Police, also others.   The movie was full of   cheap   and low-level cliche's; the Brit, of course, was noble and   irresistible,   a   predecessor of James   Bond when it comes to women (in real life British men are considered   the   least attractive,   being in front of maybe, Finns- MS J ).   Of course, the Russian spy-woman adores him and divulges all the secrets and   he prevails against all odds.   The reality was not that glamorous; the plot which Lockhart financed was   discovered by a   sting operation; he was arrested and   deported and although there was a Russian woman, he left her   alone in Russia. She eventually became a double agent for   the Russian   Foreign   Spy System and in that capacity   went abroad and   resided in London until her death in 1960s.   But that was not reflected in that rather successful movie; critics were very favorable about the   actors and their performance.

 

 

 

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Critics were very favorable about the actors   in Zero Dark Thirty too.   The story is still a story and   it is quite legit;   there   was   an internationally renowned terrorist, he had to be eliminated; that's how it was done. It was a fascinating   story,   ready for making a movie and a movie was   made. The cast was great, the territory was well- known and as for a woman   CIA- operative- even that was not that new; before Maya there was Pamela Landy from the   "Bourne' series.   What's the fuss, really? Enjoy the show and pay for the popcorn.

 

Russian   literary historian Sherba   defined art as a "Deliberate and    calculated deviation form the norm.'   The norm thus is to be defined, the reference   point   identified beforehand. Every form of art   confronts this problem and   although   it   is up to an individual   to apparently choose the reference point and the direction   on where to   deviate, the   history of art forms gives   some guidance.   And one of those   guiding principles is   formulated   by   Alexander Pushkin (I am sorry for using only Russian sources but    it   is easier for me: I am sure there is a plenty of Western sources too- MS):

 

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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.


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