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Goodbye to Language

Jean-Luc Godard's latest free-form essay film may be, more than anything else, a documentary of a restless mind.

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The Great Invisible

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, the film is strongest when it focuses on the micro rather than the macro. How the…

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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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Is global warming like Jesus?

From John Schwenkler, Esq., Elmira, NY:

You wrote your review of "An Inconvenient Truth" so that your readers would finish it. You put as much passion and certitude into your expression as Mr. Gore has in his film. Both of you believe near-term catastrophic man-generated global warming is TRUTH. I accept the possibility, but I will not characterize it as fact. This is the position of a number of sound-minded people. Michael Crichton (who, like you, me and Mr. Gore, is not a scientist) may have encapsulated it best at his 2005 National Press Club Speech "The Impossibility of Prediction."

Like him, I have seen pseudo-evidentiary apocalyptic projections passed off as fact in science journals for years. Moreover, I see that politics drives climatology as surely as it did Germany's racist brand of anthropology. Why is it Gore that is doing the film? You ask me to "[c]onsider [Gore] a concerned man speaking out on the approaching crisis." I have. But would you do the same if David Duke were lecturing you on the "less evolved" skull structure of certain humans? Nevertheless, I know you and Gore and a lot of thoughtful people believe it. You may be right.

In the end, you say that it is not a mere possibility, but a fact, and that radical change must start today or in 10 years a "tipping point" will make any further action impossible. Accordingly, if the recent past provides a basis for prediction, (1) near total inaction on climate will prevail; (2) ten years will pass; (3) the "tipping point" will arrive or not arrive.

Should it not arrive, climatologists will, like a Millenniumist whose Second Coming deadline has been blown by a tardy Jesus, go back and massage their figures. Truth will change. The "tipping point," will move. It will have been stayed by the insignificant preventive actions taken over the prior 10 years. It will be adjourned to the next trial term, meaning that the crisis continues and more radical action must be had immediately or the inevitable will occur. . . . (Of course, if the world does go to a literal hell in a hand basket, I will admit I was wrong—but that would be rather stupidly and tragically inadequate, wouldn't it?)

I read your review. Please consider reading Mr. Crichton's insightful treatment of the matter, if you haven't all ready.

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