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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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Idiocy of games and TV?

From: Gordon Cameron

In your Oscar prediction article you wrote: "Hammered by the idiocy of formula television and video games, a generation is forming that has no feeling for narrative and character."

Oh, Mr. Ebert, must you continue to bait us? Despite having been (quite willingly) hammered by the idiocy of videogames for over a quarter century, I also studied cinema at USC and admire the work of Kubrick, Fellini, Welles, Kurosawa, etc. Since videogames mostly have little to do with story, I don't think they have got much to do with the development of cinematic taste; one might as well say that playing poker or tennis causes one's narrative attention span to atrophy.

Meanwhile, the television comment is interesting, as some would say that medium has been going through a golden age in which long and carefully sustained story arcs are kept alive season after season by smart writers. (Admittedly, this golden age, if there is one, is coexisting with the tedious reality-show fad.)

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