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Thursday, April 14, 2011

R.I.P. Sidney Lumet (podcast)

Sidney Lumet passed away Saturday Apr. 9 and on this day we pay tribute to one of the great American Filmmakers. Below is Cody's must see list of Lumet films:

Q&A (1990)
Running on Empty (1988)
The Verdict (1982)
Deathtrap (1982)
Prince of the City (1981)
Network (1976)*
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)*
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Serpico (1973)
The Offence (1972)
The Anderson Tapes (1971)
The Hill (1965)*
Fail-Safe (1964)
The Pawnbroker (1964)
Long Day's Journey into night (1962)
12 Angry Men (1957)*

*personal favorite

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1 comment:

  1. “Long Day’s Journey into the Night” by Sidney Lumet (based on Eugene O’Neill’s play) is a film about family life – about a common destiny, how we cope with problems of personal relationships, how we treat one another inside our families, how human soul becomes part of the family soul, and how our social life competes and coexists with our family obligations and dedications.
    When we today watch the life of Tyrone family in the beginning of 20th century, we are amazed at how much American family relations have changed after only one hundred years. Our main difference from the Tyrones is not how much we have developed in our ability to be wiser and kinder to people we love and live with. The picture is, rather, the opposite – how much emotional sensitivity, mental maneuverability in adapting to each other, empathy and sympathy we have lost for these years of our country’s “democratic development”, and the major losses, it seems, happened during the last thirty years.
    Watching “Long Day’s…” is an educational and a psycho-dramatic experience mobilizing our introspection and our ability to observe our emotional reactions (in comparison with that of Tyrone family members) more objectively. James, Mary and their two grown-up sons (Jamie and Edmund) are born in the very midst of traditional Christianity and, together with American culture are going through the process of secularization of worldview. A father who was a famous Shakespearean actor still maintains a religious psychology (that Lumet analyses in detail), although a refracted one by his exposition to the grace of serious art. Mary, his wife, personifies martyrdom aspect of religious psychology - she suffers for being a “bad mother and wife” but her self-judgment is severe because of spiritual perfectionism of her worldview. James and Mary’s sons try to rebel against religious authoritarianism – they personify correspondingly two aspects of post-religious spirituality, Jamie – its intellectual aspect, and Edmund – its artistic-mystical aspect.
    While experiencing the film we feel that we have to learn a lot from the of the beginning of previous century, that our everyday communications with each other are cognitively flat and thin and emotionally narrow and petty in comparison with theirs. Instead of honest arguments, as they had, we have “premature ejaculations” of clashes, frustrations and sulking. Instead of positive confrontations we choose people (to be with) by the principle of similarity, and we are isolated from the otherness of other people and of the world around. Because Lumet concentrates on the psychological confrontations between characters and on the truths coming out of it the film is very interesting to watch – our life today with all its distractions from our humanity to entertaining (consumerist) images of Hollywood blockbusters, TV soups of soaps and pop-singing is much more boring than they had way back then.
    The acting of Jason Robards and Dean Stockwell is not just dramatic but poetic, not just truthful but gracious, and Mary Tyrone of Katharine Hepburn is her best work on screen, while Ralph Richardson was able not only to open the heart of James Tyrone for the viewers but sharply depicted his psychological defenses.
    By Victor Enyutin