in a perfect world of yancies: Oh, Nation

03 July 2008

Oh, Nation

Well, there's plenty one could complain about this Independence Day--from the Supreme Court's reckless stupidity to inspiring candidates' unfortunate ideological collapses--but I thought I'd stay away from that sort of thing (wink).

Instead, let me offer a couple of patriotic videos from the past. A few weeks ago, during the Seattle International Film Festival, Emily and I were able to view Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky. The coolest part of the whole thing was that the it was shown at Benaroya Hall while the Seattle Symphony Orchestra played the Prokofiev soundtrack live during the film. Very cool. (Alas, our affordable seats left us leaning around the violins to see the subtitles, but, you know, whatever.)

A bit from the film:

As you can see, Eisenstein does some lovely things with framing; as you can imagine, that all looks much better on the big screen. Thank goodness things like SIFF exist.

Perhaps one of the most fun aspects for me was getting ready for the show by reading contemporary reviews. Here's a bit from Frank S. Nugent's 1939 Times review:
''Eisenstein's work can no more withstand the ordinary critical scrutiny, a judgment based on the refinement and subtlety of its execution, than, say, the hydraulic sculpture and rock blasting that Gutzon Borglum is dashing off on Mount Rushmore.''
He concludes:
"It is impossible not to admire Eisenstein's colossal unconcern with [some] refinements of film-making, not to marvel at his stylistic insistence that all people walk along a sky-line, and not to wish, in the same breath, that more directors had his talent for doing great things so well and little things so badly."

The music, of course, was also incredible.
Here's a performance (St Petersburg Philharmonic?) of Emily's favorite song from the soundtrack, "Arise People of Russia":

Speaking of Emily and YouTube, you're also welcome, over the holiday weekend, to enjoy videos from her trip to Alaska.

Cheers, reader. Happy Fourth. See you next week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comment on that last post, Marisa. Glad I'm not the only one who thought that was funny. Hope you managed to have a happy birthday without Emily there to keep you awake.