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The Farewell Party

High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Art School Consequential

From: Joe Sszczepaniak, Omaha, NB

I hear you on some of your points your review [of "Art School Confidential"]. I really can. It's amazing to see what college freshman are capable of.

I'm a sophmore studying Visual Communication and Design (getting a BFA in Graphic Design) at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. I have one qualm with the idea that an artist is born and not made.

Just a quick idea: Walk into any kindergarten class in America and ask the kids this, "Anyone who is an artist raise your hand!" I'd bet you everything I own that almost every kid would raise their hands. So what makes an artist?

Well, it's highly subjective, but we can say some things for sure: Not everyone is an "Artist", and not everyone who goes to art school is either. Artists are not born with that status. If you were to ask Da Vinci, Magritte, Picasso, Bernini, Monet, Manet, Cezane, or any other great artist they would very likely come to the consensus that an artist is someone who works at their craft.

Even the best draughtsman in the world (say, Albrecht Dürer) wouldn't be an artist if they didn't work at it. So, I must conclude that I was not an artist until I started taking classes for it and studying it on my own, which didn't happen until I reached high school. Now I'm one of the highest performing artists in my class, but it only happened because of work.

You'd be amazed how crummy my first drawings were in 1st semester Drawing I class as a freshman, and still amazed at how good they were after that semester alone. The difference is incredible, and I'm not even close to an uncommon case.

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