It started snowing here in Oslo about 2 days ago. So forgive me for some of my more sentimental comments lately, but I have been sitting in the dark looking at the snow on the trees outside my windows the last few night – and since yesterday with a few candles spread about in my room. I really like both the weather and the candles and the whole atmosphere with Kahimi Karie’s “Photosong”, Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ballade De Melody Nelson” or Margo Guryan’s “Sunday Morning” playing in the background – the first and the last of which I only heard quite recently. (Today some of the snow melted again, so I won’t be able to make pictures right now, but it’ll probably be back and I promise pictures for then.)
But it also makes me sentimental, and crying is really popular with me these days. And I staretd watching some movies (most of which you can download yourself!)
Only today I was crying at least three times – first when I was watching “Lilja 4-ever” with the school that I’m at right now, when the mother left Lilja alone somewhere in the former USSR. I was sort of crying for the fact that the USSR had been done away with and, although I have always felt that it was a dictatorship, it still was the home for so many people, and their dignity and internal relations have just been torn into a million shreds through the fall of the Soviet Union – when you went from a situation of a solidarity as a sort of weird mix of state ideology of uncompetitive behavior and commonality in seeing this precise state as the enemy, and moved on to a situation where all the symbols of common pride from the revolution were no longer worth anything. Reaganism/McDonalds/greediness was replacing Lenin and the October Revolution as the most significant symbols in the socialization of the younger generation at the same time as these “values” corrupted most of the older generation that was in any way dependent on having an income (as you can see just about everywhere in the East: communists today are either youngsters that grew up mostly during the nineties, or they are senior citizens who were on some kind of pension already in 1990 or have been laid of since then).
The second was when I was feeling somewhat lonely here, watching the movie Things To Come (Britain 1936, click the link to download it, it’s free!). The movie is a prediction that WWII will continue until 1970 and will lead humanity right into barbarism and a new middle ages, before a sort of international union of skilled engineers takes over and transforms society into a peaceful state, although they are seemingly well focused on continued scientific progress and very little on The Right to be Lazy (Lafargue 1883) , at least until 2036, when another revolution against the constant need for this progress seems to start. The movie is actually quite good, and the battle scenes are so full of anti-military sentiment that it makes a historically interested person really shiver. So that is not what I cried about at all. What I cried about was the fact that I could just lie here in my bed and watch it without having someone to tell me that this is boring black and white stuff and how much longer the movie would require all my attention and when i would be available for human-to-human conversation. And the third time, I was simply reflecting upon the second time, and that was while I was looking at myself mirrored in the window in front of me, in nothing but the light of the candle – just before typing this entry.
But the archive.org has quite a bunch of other good classic movies. One is “Salt of the Earth” – an antiracist feminist labor-union movie produced in McCarthy’s USA. My borther told me about all kind of repercussions that the actors and the director suffered, but I can’t remember any of them in detail right now. It’s a powerful movie, presenting a powerful woman and her view of the condition of non-white miners in the 1950s USA. A must watch for any good communist!
An then there are quite a bunch of other interesting things there – just look at propaganda crap like “A is for Atom” (promoting Atomic Energy in 1953) or “Duck and Cover” (explaining Americans what to do in the case of atomic warfare in 1951).
But go look for youself, it’s a really great archive! But of course – it’s very western/US-focused. I’d still like to find the movies “Niemandsland” (Hell on Earth) or “Kuhle Wampe” – both of them German interwar movies which I have heard so much about, but never have been able to watch or download anywhere.