Arthur Penn on Kurosawa [Criterion Current]
Rashomon told the story of an event, possibly a rape, possibly a romantic adventure, from multiple points of view, each of them persuasive and each, as witnessed, seemingly the truth. It was a film in all aspects original and compelling. Certainly, we had never seen a work that seduced and tantalized in such a cinematically unique way.
It became clear that Kurosawa was a major figure in the world of cinema. His influence was apparent almost immediately in Western films. In addition, Kurosawa reached into the great literature of the world. He drew from Shakespeare’s Macbeth for Throne of Blood, Maksim Gorky’s The Lower Depths for his film of the same title, and American chase thrillers for his High and Low, a particular favorite of mine.
Obama talks music in new interview [Rolling Stone]
My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There’s still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.
A lot of classical music. I’m not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need.
Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I’ve got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
UK campaign to make John Cage’s “4′33″” the No. 1 Chirstmas song this year [Guardian]
A Facebook campaign to install 4’33” as a Christmas No 1 might be light-hearted, but it’s closer to Cage’s vision than you might think
How long does it take to make an annual tradition? The idea of fixing the Christmas No 1 via Facebook is only three years old, but already feels cosy. In fact, to some of those trying to send a song to the top of the charts, it’s a given that Rage Against the Machine scored but the first of many such victories. “It seems obvious that a similar Facebook-inspired campaign will triumph again,” writes the webmaster of a Surfin’ Bird for No 1 group. It seems even more obvious that it won’t, since every fanbase with a grudge against The Man is massing their forces separately and dissension is rife. The Children of Bodom group doesn’t even mention Simon Cowell: “Better than Rage, anyway,” it huffs. Splitters!