Monday, December 9, 2013

The Rebel

One of the strengths of El Cid is its structure—the way it builds in theme and intensity, first to the intermission; then, quickly, to the final mammoth conflict between the forces of evil versus good; of intolerance versus light.

Part of the narrative’s appeal is Rodrigo’s insistence on thinking beyond the narrow limits of his fellow Christians. He understands that they need to join forces with moderate Muslims, if they’re ever to unite the peninsula.

Rodrigo bucks the system throughout, at high cost—culminating in his forced exile. He’s joined in that exile by his estranged wife, Chimene, which brings the personal, emotional part of the drama to a peak. Anthony Mann’s handling of this is masterful—the couple’s encounter with each other on a snowy night: a mystical moment when viewed on a giant movie screen. The elements are so much part of the scene, intimations of destiny and fate, we’re given a subliminal glimpse of the spiritual, which will be evoked again at the very end of the film. Rodrigo’s journey as “the purest knight” is physical, part of the political conflicts of his day, but also spiritual, as he allows himself to be utilized by a force greater than himself: the Christian God.

After they spend a night together in a barn, Rodrigo and Chimene realize they’ve been joined by a small army of followers willing to share their banishment. This army rides off, to thrilling Miklos Rozsa music, and the intermission begins. The first act is as exciting as any movie ever made—exciting dramatically, visually, and emotionally. yet much more remains. The conflict with Ben Yussef, prepared for from the film’s first moments, will now move into higher gear—and Rodrigo’s life will reach its final purpose and end, as the movie achieves final unity.

The lines of narrative—physical, personal, political, spiritual—move in unison, toward interim climaxes in the first act, then toward the larger climax of a final, Armageddon-like battle, through which Rodrigo, “The Cid,” achieves apotheosis as hero.

The movie is greater than others not solely in its surface elements of cinematography and sound (including the score), but also in its superstructure of narrative, and through narrative, theme.

The film’s larger meaning is civilizational. El Cid is a story of the battle of Western civilization—the creation of the world we still live in. That struggle to hang on to our glorious heritage goes on.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dream or Nightmare

When seen on a big movie screen, El Cid is transformed from a simple action epic into something more. Images become profoundly moving and profoundly disturbing.

El Cid expresses unconscious fears about the fight for goodness over its opposite. The death of the hero at the end is stunning. Does it represent the possible death of Western civilization itself?

Today this is a real-world question.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Life and Art

The conjunction of life and art: the burned Coptic Christian churches in Egypt are right out of the opening scenes of the 1961 movie EL CID.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Pro-American Movie Essay

We’re engaged in a widespread cultural war, kids. Western civilization faces existential threats from A.) pseudo-liberal heirs to the tradition who’d rather commit cultural suicide and scrap our great history, faiths, and traditions; B.) determined barbarians at the gates. In this contest, I hope to get in my shots, affirming what’s best in the West—including the American offshoot. Here’s an essay which takes on a media elite revisionist:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Saving the Culture

THE WAY to save Western civilization is for both Europe and America, each in their own way, to embrace their cultural roots and historical heritage. For America, this means the mythic, artistic West.

Toward that end I’ve produced a new ebook, ABOUT WESTERN MOVIES, available now at Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook. Don’t wait to read it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coming Attraction


The big (only?) Western movie for 2013 is "The Lone Ranger." I've seen the trailer. The movie doesn't look promising.

Johnny Depp in white face. Is this a gag? Depp is a terrible choice for Tonto for numerous reasons. One being that he's the most overcivilized, foppish, overmannered pretentiously egoistical actor in Hollywood. Be ready for a stereotypical offbeat portrayal.

The movie itself will be hyperpaced and filled with special effects. The Western on speed, combined with Five Hour Energy.

The ideas look to be hypocritical and simplistic. A Custer-style Army officer is the bad guy. Expanding Capitalism is no doubt eviscerated. This from a movie produced by monster conglomerate Disney, and certain to be promoted by multi-national media conglomerates, with a bankable big name (Depp) paid many millions, and starring as Ranger, Armie Hammer, scion of the billion-dollar Armand Hammer empire. The story appears to be a celebration of primitivism, of the natural Native American way, while the movie itself is created in as high-tech a manner as possible, from advanced lenses to complicated computer-image graphics; hundreds of technicians everyplace, not a primitivist in sight. Least of all Mr. Depp, who's already back in glitzy sophisticated France tinkering with his wineries, more millions in the bank.

The most cynical movie ever made?

We'll see if it's entertaining. The popcorn pop images will move so fast no one will notice the ideas.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Media Distorting the Benghazi Story

So-called journalists from establishment media are in fact propagandists. Which means, they’re not seeking objective truth. They have a set narrative in mind when they begin to write—often but not always based in partisan politics. Everything in the article will comply with the predetermined narrative.

We see this from mainstream media about Wednesday’s Benghazi hearings. Perhaps the most distorted account of those hearings comes from esteemed Time writer Joe Klein. It’s not really an account, but more of a diatribe in defense of the Administration, with not a speck of objectivity, and scarcely any honesty.

Much of what Klein says is pure misdirection, away from the actual subject. For instance, the question of adequate funding provided to defend embassies and consulates. We should all be able to agree that there are adequate funds in the federal budget in general, and the State Department in particular, to move funds around, if necessary, to protect crisis points. Others have pointed out the lavish sums of money for embassies in safer places like Jordan. Or Moscow, for that matter. No money to protect a mission in the middle of a global hot spot? The idea is ridiculous.

Amid the constant mentions of, and apologies for, a YouTube video, by Obama, Hillary, and Susan Rice, did the President in fact call the 9/11 Benghazi attack an “act of terror”? Yes and no. In his Rose Garden remarks Obama mentioned “acts of terror” in general. Klein’s presentation is a half-truth that fits well with the slanted thrust of his article. See the matter discussed here:

More important than Joe Klein’s misdirections about the Benghazi hearings are his omissions, and his outright lies.

Note the caption under the photo on the page of a “protester.” The caption says, “A protester reacts . . . during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film. . . .”

Two quick comments. 1.) Note the weapon. That’s a hell of a protest! 2.) “said” to have been protesting a film? “Said”—by whom?

Joe Klein and his Time editors seem not to have listened to the hearings the article is supposed to be about. In his testimony, Gregory Hicks said there was “No protest” at the consulate. Everyone involved in the 9/11 events—everyone—called it an attack. Hicks also dismissed the idea of an obscure YouTube video being the cause, calling it “a non-event in Libya.” If anyone was in a position to know, he was.

To confirm this, we have the email from Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones, quoted at the hearings (Klein and Time seem to have missed it), dated 9/12, the day after the attacks, in which this assistant to Hillary Clinton said, “—the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”

Hmm. Doesn’t sound quite like the “local street gang” in Joe Klein’s depiction.

No mention in Joe Klein’s article of the stand down order, and the Administration’s failure to act—in particular, Hillary Clinton’s failure to act to protect her own people, once the battle began—which is always the first test of leadership.

No mention by Joe Klein of the outright lies by Hillary, Susan Rice, and even the President blaming the attack on the obscure video, with no evidence presented then, or now, least of all by Joe Klein, showing that said video had ANYTHING to do with the Benghazi attacks. An administration lied to the American public—saying what they surely knew were lies. They tried to cover-up their inaction and incompetence. Esteemed journalist Joe Klein is like Sergeant Schultz from the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes”: “I see nothing. NOTHING!”

I could go on. The bottom line is that this magazine, and its scoundrel of a propagandist, are considered “legitimate” media. One has to laugh about it, because the alternative is to cry over what’s happened to the press in this country.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Being Played

Hillary Clinton and President Obama have taken a huge risk in putting their faith in Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi. Is he a moderate? In any way a moderate? Or is he not, as he’s been demonstrating with his anti-democratic consolidation of power, anything BUT a moderate?

For all their high intelligence, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been played. It’s embarrassing, and for the west, it’s tragedy.