Luminance

Spreading Light

And in the spreading light that becomes
Southern California’s swan song
We revel in the fast shuffle
The spiel, the syrupy song
And dance, the call now
Operators are standing by
The blogs, the bits, the bravura
That has seemingly transformed
This free enterprise flotilla
Of markets and innovation
Into a slap-dash, bright lights
Compendium of hucksterism, shells and secrets

Torching the truth of Hamilton’s legacy
In the deluded belief that our prize will glow
In a world not now peopled with strivers
But animated by the burning desire
To torch the house
And the hope that holds it!

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Fish & Famine

La Terra Trema

After the conclusion of World War II, many folks thought they had seen the war to end all wars.  However, then you had Italian neorealists, like Luchino Visconti, who thought perhaps a little self-reflection was in order.  In La Terra Trema, he explores the war’s hidden costs, in terms of not only the number of lives lost, but also the ways in which it changed the dynamics of family life.
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Delusions & Desire

Sunset Boulevard

Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” is the portrait of a forgotten silent star, living in exile in her grotesque mansion, screening her old films, dreaming of a comeback.  But it’s also a love story, and the love keeps it from becoming simply a waxworks or a freak show.  Gloria Swanson gives her greatest performance as the silent star Norma Desmond, with her grasping talons, her theatrical mannerisms, her grandiose delusions.  William Holden tactfully inhabits the tricky role of the writer half her age, who allows himself to be kept by her.  But the performance that holds the film together, that gives it emotional resonance and makes it real in spite of its gothic flamboyance, is by Erich von Stroheim, as Norma’s faithful butler Max.
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