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"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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Hillary and Bill: A one-act play

by Roger Ebert

TIME: Not too early on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 5.

PLACE: The Obama bedroom in Chicago's Hyde Park. Barack and Michelle Obama are beginning to stir. Their daughters Malia and Sasha come bounding into the room.

Malia: Daddy! Daddy! Are you the president?

Obama: Not for a little while yet, honey.

He kisses his wife Michelle, leans on one elbow, and dials the telephone.

THE CLINTON BEDROOM in Chappaqua, New York. Hillary answers the telephone.

Barack: Hillary? it's Barack calling.

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Hillary: Barack! Congratulations! It was a victory for you, and a victory for America.

Barack: Especially for America.

Hillary (slight pause): Yes.

Barack: Listen, Hillary, I wanted this to be my first call after I woke up. I want to ask you to play an important role in our nation's future.

Hillary: But I have an important role. I'm a United States Senator.

Barack: The job I have in mind might not be open for awhile. When a vacancy occurs, I'd like for you to be my first appointment to the Supreme Court.

Hillary (pause): I didn't see that one coming.

Barack: Just give it serious consideration. That's all I ask.

BREAKFAST ROOM of the Clinton home. Bill is at the table, drinking coffee and reading the New York Times. He is dressed in Jockey shorts and an Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt. Hillary enters, in a Karen Neuburger dressing robe with an Oprah logo.

Bill: They have an op-ed piece going back to Rush Limbaugh saying Colin Powell only endorsed Barack because they were both black.

Hillary: When one man says another man did something only because of his race, one of the two of them must be a racist.

Bill (in his W. C. Fields accent): That's right, m'dear. (Looks up from paper): Who was that on the phone?

Hillary: That was Barack.

Bill: What’d he have to say?

Hillary: He wants to appoint me to the Supreme Court.

Bill (puts down cup, looks up): And?

Hillary: I told him I'd think about it.

Bill (pauses, then thoughtfully): Hillary, I'd do it. Three things. One, it gives you an important role in the country’s future. Two, it solidifies your place in history. Three, no more goddamned campaigning.

Hillary: But think about it. Clarence Thomas. How would I deal with him?

Bill: How would he deal with you?

Hillary: It really is a wonderful opportunity. I wonder how I'd get along with Scalia? He's a smart cookie.

Bill: He'll have to be an even smarter cookie when he's in the minority.

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