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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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Annie Proulx's bigotry

From: W. David Lichty, Indianapolis, IN

Literary savant or not, Annie Proulx has just demonstrated herself [see Proulx's essay, "Blood on the red carpet"] to be a world-class bigot, with a cause she has just demoted, by treating it as such publicly, from 'progressive' to merely 'fashionable'. It's the kind of stunt I would have expected from Spike Lee as recently as 10 years ago, though I doubt if even he would have played such an insupportable card this time, had the Best Picture situation been reversed. I am always most passionately against those bigotries which are trendy. With some of her almost pathological comments in The Guardian, she has just demonstrated that this one now is.

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Those poor, backward idiots in Hollywood who didn't realize which social re-engineering duty they were to fulfill this year. Buncha homophobes. Because, of course, homophobia wouldn't be expressed so overtly, by censoring a film -- that didn't happen, nor by censuring a movie -- that didn't happen either. Nor would it appear in the barring of a film altogether from any awards, or even just the Oscars -- that didn't happen, nor did relegating it to lesser awards, as might have occurred with "Match Point," or appearing to forget it altogether, as seemed the case with "A History of Violence," because neither happened to Brokeback. Those might stand the test of the term, but this year, either homophobia, already an entrenched misnomer, or ignorance, an over-misused term some apply to those who disagree with them, has been bestowed as an implied moniker upon those who did not honor this movie by automatically granting it what is popularly regarded as the single most important award of the year for the overall artistry of any American film.

They just didn't bow properly, or at least not in the right direction. Did they not get the memo?

In 2000, Michael Caine won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar that he was arguably the farthest of five from deserving. His acceptance speech defines gracefulness in winning, and I have never since heard exception taken with the win.

Conversely, there is "Crash"'s win last week. I slightly prefer the film to "Brokeback Mountain," and so was already mildly pleased with the awarding, but at this point, I no longer even have doubts that what happened is what should have happened, for any reason that could be given. There is also such a thing as losing gracefullyl. That "Crash" won not because it was a safer social choice, but a better film, is a matter of argument. That it could not be a matter of argument is a viewpoint born of the ugliest sort of opportunism, flawlessly exemplified by Ms. Proulx.

"Crash" has been described by many as a societal mirror, reflecting normally undisclosed bigotries back to its viewers. Perhaps Ms. Proulx should have checked such a reflection before instead revealing this hideousness to the entire planet, and stripping her position of even the appearance of moral grounding.

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