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Rim of the World

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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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Fassbinder or NPR?


From "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" -- one of the best movies, and movie titles, ever. Say it five times.

Back when the New German Cinema was colonizing America, my friends and I liked to transform our favorite actor-names, especially those from Fassbinder movies, into exclamations. "Ulli Lommel!" we would exclaim. Or, "Gottfried John!" (with a W.C. Fields inflection). Or, "What the Harry Baer was that!?!" The moniker-musik of Fassbinder's cinematographers alone still fill me with joy: Michael Ballhaus, Dietrich Lohmann, Xaver Schwarzenberger, Jürgen Jürges...


My dream was to hear the complete cast and credits of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" read by a National Public Radio on-air personality. Sure, every name sounds great when pronounced on NPR -- and especially "Sylvia Poggioli" or "Corey Flintoff." (I love how the second syllable of "Flintoff" falls off, like it's going over a cliff. Say that last sentence out loud. It's fun.) But what if you put the two together? It could be like peanut butter and chocolate.

What follows is a list of very, very good names for your enjoyment. They are best when you speak them with impeccable diction. And don't forget the umlauts, where appropriate. While you're doing that, can you also figure out which ones are from NPR and which are from Fassbinder? After scrambling the two lists of my favorites I'm not sure I can anymore. I will, however, say this: Rüdiger Vogler. (He's a Wim Wenders actor, not a Fassbinder vet, but he's a damn fine one with a damn fine name and I wanted to get him in here somewhere.)

UPDATE: You want to hear how it's done? Our Man In Istanbul, Ali Arikan, reads some Fassbinderian names with poetic precision here.

Before the jump, here's a few to get you started -- but beware, there are three tricks!

1 Kai Ryssdal 2 Kurt Raab 3 Peer Raben 4 Mara Liasson 5 Ulla Jacobsson 6 Annabelle Gurwitch 7 Elisabeth Trissenaar 8 Ira Flatow 9 David Folkenflik

10 Volker Spengler 11 Werner Schroeter 12 Dieter Schidor 13 Joanne Silberner 14 Adam Hochberg 15 Jim Zarroli 16 David Bianculli 17 Y Sa Lo 18 Lourdes Garcia-Navarro 19 Vitus Zeplichal 20 Tom Gjelten 21 Steve Inskeep 22 Abe Beeson 23 Karlheinz Böhm 24 Hark Bohm 25 Karin Baal 26 Hannes Gromball 27 Charlayne Hunter-Gault 28 Ina Jaffe 29 Brigitte Mira 30 Lilo Pempeit 31 Daniel Zwerdling 32 BJ Liederman 33 Ketzel Levine 34 Karl-Heinz von Hassel 35 Carl Kassel 36 Gusti Kreissl 37 Pam Fessler 38 Frank Langfitt 39 Corey Flintoff 40 Günter Lamprecht 41 Ulli Lommel 42 Ofeibea Quist-Arcton 43 El Hedi ben Salem 44 Armin Mueller-Stahl 45 Armin Meier 46 Walter Sedlmayr 47 Farai Chideya 48 Barbara Sukowa 49 Renee Montagne 50 Peter Overby 51 Daniel Pinkwater 52 Harry Baer 53 Guy Raz 54 Rosel Zech 55 Karl Scheydt 56 Hannes Fuchs 57 Roger Fritz 58 Irm Hermann 59 Ingrid Craven 60 Nida Ulaby 61 Doualy Xaykaothao 62 John Ydstie 63 Ivan Desny 64 Mandalit del Barco 65 Kristine De Loup 66 Nina Totenberg 67 Margit Carstensen 68 Gottfried John 69 John Nelson 70 Don Gonyea 71 Doris Mattes 72 Matthias Fuchs 73 Bellamy Pailthorpe 74 Lakshmi Singh 75 Klaus Löwitsch 76 Andrei Codrescu 77 Snigdha Prakash 78 Sylvia Poggioli

Three people will think this is half as funny as I do. Here's to you.

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