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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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To summarize the arguments...

From: Don Rushing

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Mr. Ebert is a respected film critic and is entitled to his opinions. It is indeed unfortunate that some response to the "Crash" selection is ungraceful and accuses the Academy of homophobia. Most thoughtful critics of the "Crash: selection focus on:

1) More universal critical acclaim and favorable reviews of "Brokeback Mountain."

2) Only one major critics groups selection of "Crash" as best film (Chicago Film Critics).

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3) More professional awards to "Brokeback Mountain," including BAFTA , Producers Guild, and Directors Guild than "Crash" (Writers Guild split with "Brokeback Mountain"; SAG ensemble cast award, which also recognized "Sideways" and "Gosford Park" in the past, both non-Oscar winners).

4) More realistic story line in "Brokeback Mountain" than in "Crash" (surprise -- there is still racism in our society), which is totally implausible (that these people could actually run into each other).

5) Higher production values in direction, score, and cinematography with almost universal recognition of Ang Lee and including Oscars for director Lee and composer Santaolalla

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6) Non-preachy message in "Brokeback Mountain" vs. preachy message in "Crash" : "We're all racists!!!!"

7) More Oscar nominations including three acting nominations for "Brokeback Mountain" vs. one for "Crash"

8) Which is the film that the Academy wants to leave as a legacy? One that tells us something we already know ("Crash") or one that opens eyes and hopefully changes hearts ("Brokeback Mountain")?

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