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A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

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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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Thumbnails Special Edition: Is Our President the Predator-in-Chief?

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and informative. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.

In light of the sexual harassment allegations taking down powerful men on a daily basis, the most recent examples including Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, I have decided to devote this special edition of Thumbnails to coverage of the equally disturbing conduct of President Trump.

Acclaimed actor Michael Shannon in his recent interview with Nick Allen, about his new film, "The Shape of Water," spoke eloquently about the appalling "double standard" regarding our president. "Harvey Weinstein is out here in front of a firing squad right now, and Donald Trump’s still President of the United States of America," said Shannon. "Donald Trump is on tape claiming the exact same thing. So what the hell is going on?"

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I share Shannon's bewilderment at how our president has managed to evade any sense of guilt while cheering on the downfall of other offenders (only if they're liberal, of course; he continues to support Roy Moore, who has been accused of being a sexual predator and pedophile).

 —Chaz Ebert

1. 

"What Donald Trump has done for women": Essential commentary from CNN's Michael D'Antonio.

“The example set by Trump's accusers seemed to ignite a firestorm of accusations from courageous women who have been sexually harassed by famous and powerful men. The list of men accused since then includes, among others, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Senator Al Franken, journalist Mark Halperin, TV host Charlie Rose, and Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for a US Senate seat in Alabama. Some of those men denied some of the allegations against them, but all except Moore acknowledged some inappropriate behavior. The accusations have inspired a movement known as #MeToo and a long-neglected national conversation about how men bully women. Moore is the only one in the list above who has been accused of molesting a child (a 14-year-old girl) and pursuing relationships with other teens. He is also the only one who categorically denies all of the multiple claims made against him. Here he has something in common with the President. Throughout his life Trump has made a habit of denying any charge of wrongdoing and then attacking his accusers. (This is what he calls "counterpunching.") While Republican senators expressed their revulsion at the prospect of Moore joining them on Capitol Hill, Trump has voiced his support explaining, ‘He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen.’ In Trump's experience, denial has been enough for him to avoid accountability and thus it seems to him that anyone who admits to wrongdoing in the absence of irrefutable proof is a fool. Indeed, his arrogance is so enormous that even in cases where the proof is abundant, as in the ‘Access Hollywood’ case, and he's copped to the facts, it's possible to reverse course and deny the truth.”

2. 

"Will Trump ever have to answer to the women who say he harassed and assaulted them?": Asks Robin Abcarian of The Los Angeles Times.

“Now that Americans are facing the truth about sexual harassment, will they hold President Trump accountable for his own bad behavior? Last year, after Trump was heard on an ‘Access Hollywood’ tape bragging about assaulting women, 16 accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior, ranging from voyeurism to assault. They say he grabbed their breasts and genitals, and kissed them without permission. Beauty pageant contestants say he strolled uninvited into rooms where they were naked and vulnerable. None of the women is hiding behind anonymity. They are on the record. The White House spokeswoman has said they are all lying. Their names are Cathy Heller, Jill Harth, Temple Taggart, Cassandra Searles, Jessica Leeds, Kristin Anderson, Lisa Boyne, Karena Virginia, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Jessica Drake, Ninni Laaksonen, Samantha Holvey, Tasha Dixon and Summer Zervos, who has filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump for calling her a liar. […] On Dec. 12, Alabama voters will choose between [Roy] Moore and his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, a former prosecutor who won convictions against two Ku Klux Klan members for orchestrating the 1963 bombing that killed four African American girls at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Some Republican senators have already made noise about refusing to seat Moore if he wins. Yet only one — Susan Collins of Maine — has addressed the lingering allegations against Trump, calling them ‘very disturbing’ last week. ‘We are suddenly living in a very different universe,’ Greenwald said. ‘In a world where people are appropriately being called out for abusive and horrific actions, Trump has gotten away scot-free.’ The powerful and entitled are being called to account. Why should Trump be an exception?”

3.

"President Trump and accusations of sexual misconduct: The complete list": As compiled by Meg Kelly of The Washington Post

“Often, a sexual assault will occur behind closed doors. The contemporary corroborators can explain what they heard at the time and whether the story being told now is consistent with how the story was told years earlier. This does not necessarily mean an allegation is true, but it does give journalistic organizations more confidence to report on the allegation. The Fact Checker first detailed some of the accusations against Trump during the 2016 campaign. That fact check also detailed the witnesses who backed up claims of sexual accusations against former president Bill Clinton — who, like Trump, insisted the women accusing him were not telling the truth. Here’s a list of 13 women who have publicly come forward with claims that Trump had physically touched them inappropriately in some way, and the witnesses they provided. We did not include claims that were made only through Facebook posts or other social media, or in lawsuits that subsequently were withdrawn. We also did not include the accounts of former beauty contestants who say Trump walked in on them when they were half nude because there were no allegations of touching. Trump had bragged on the Howard Stern show of his ‘inspections’ during the pageants: ‘You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.’”

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4. 

"What Happened to the 16 Women Who Accused Trump of Sexual Misconduct": Margaret Hartmann of New York Magazine has the scoop.

“As new sexual-harassment accusations — sometimes several per day — pour out in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there’s one person whose alleged sexual misconduct seems simultaneously ever-present, and yet grossly overlooked. Some have argued that there would be no #MeToo moment if Donald Trump had not been elected, even after being accused of various forms of misconduct, from groping to rape. But in recent weeks several of Trump’s accusers have said that while they’re happy sexual harassment is being discussed more openly, they’re still dismayed that their own stories seem to have had little impact. Some have continued speaking out, hoping that away from the chaos of the election, people might be more ready to listen to their accounts. A defamation suit filed by Summer Zervos, one of the accusers, has also opened up the possibility that they’ll get their day in court. But for now, Trump seems entirely unfazed by the allegations hanging over him. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed last month that it is the White House’s official position that every single one of the women is lying, and Trump has not shied away from condemning alleged sexual harassers (if they’re Democrats). Here’s a reminder of what behavior the president has been accused of, including, when available, an update on how the women have continued trying to make their stories heard.”

5. 

"Trump Is Quietly Making It Even Harder To Report Sexual Harassment And Discrimination": According to Emily Peck of The Huffington Post.

“In this atmosphere, the Trump administration’s actions look remarkably like a real-time backlash to the growing assertion of female power. The assault on women began almost instantly after the primal female scream that was the women’s march in January. That month, Trump signed his first executive order (surrounded by men). Literally a “gag rule,” meant to prevent health clinics around the world from even talking about abortion. He was just warming up his pen. After the order on arbitration came in March, the administration in August ditched an innovative equal pay initiative launched by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, women on average make just 80 percent of what men earn. And women of color face even wider pay gaps. The scrapped provision would’ve required companies to report data on how much they pay workers ― broken down by race and ethnicity ― in order to make it easier to figure out the scope of the pay gap and ideally help close it. The EEOC spent six years devising this rule. The agency worked with the National Academy of Sciences to set-up a study on the pay gap, and revised and tweaked its proposal after consulting with employers and opening it up to public comment. The Office of Management and Budget scrapped the rule with little explanation, beyond saying it would create too much paperwork and impose too much of a burden on corporations. It would’ve cost each company $416.58 to comply, according to an EEOC estimate.”

Image of the Day

Last year, Yahoo's Dylan Stableford provided a round-up of various women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. Their faces are pictured above.

Video of the Day

One year ago, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks reported on a video in which Trump is heard flirting with a 10-year-old girl, claiming that he'll be "dating her in ten years." Yet another example of how he and Roy Moore are very much alike.

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