June 27, 2010 |
The great French critic André Bazin said of director Luchino Visconti that he filmed the Sicilian fishermen in "La Terra Trema" as if they were "tragic princes." In the 1963 epic "The Leopard," rapturously presented on a new Criterion Blu-ray, Visconti reverses the equation, pulling a family of 19th century aristocrats down to earth. Set in Sicily during the Risorgimento, the period that marked the end of Sicily's existence as an independent monarchy and the emergence of an Italian state, the movie exults in the last gasps of the nobility's opulence, even as it acknowledges and — ambivalently — endorses the necessity of its end. Perhaps the most overtly dialectical of Visconti's movies, "The Leopard" embodies the contradictions inherent in his identity.
December 8, 1998 |
Both were from poor Southern states and got to be president against great odds. Both acquired a determined collection of political foes, bent on driving them out of office. Both faced impeachment on narrow legal grounds that many argue were proxies for political disagreements. But scholars say the case of President Andrew Johnson, who in 1868 became the only chief executive in U.S.
July 18, 1993 |
Here's my plan. When this life ends, and the authorities ask whose shoes I'd like to fill next, I'll immediately remember the calm water of this town's tiny Old Dock, the dignity of its five-story facades, the stylish traffic in its busy boat slips, the 17th-Century bricks and beams that dominate its narrow side streets, and the scenes that emerge when these elements overlap. Then I'll give the authorities my answer: Eric Boudet de Dramard.
March 1, 2012 |
Mingling with extras in historical costumes and fans who called him "His Imperial Highness," Charles Napoleon sipped from a plastic cup and said matter-of-factly: "I gave my spit to be analyzed. " The affable businessman was referring to a recent study by a French scientist that matched his DNA to that of his great-great-grand-uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte I. Yes, that Napoleon Bonaparte. The study, part of an effort to reconstruct the genome of the 19th century emperor, may eventually help solve the mystery of whether the remains preserved in Napoleon's tomb in Les Invalides museum in Paris are really his. Napoleonic DNA was just one focus of avid discussion at recent festivities here marking the 198th anniversary of one of Napoleon's last military victories.
September 27, 1993 |
The romantic sensibilities of the 19th Century seem to have seized the imaginations of artists and their audiences of late. It feels like a collective exhaustion with the demands of the relentlessly postmodern life. Whether it is the drapy, ankle-length dresses in the shop windows or the accolades for "The Age of Innocence," the Romantic era is demonstrating fresh appeal.
April 7, 1991 |
The Giza Zoo, built as a royal playground a century ago, is a rare patch of urban green that delights children and gives their parents respite from the crush of a teeming city. On holidays and festivals, at least 150,000 of Cairo's 14 million people escape to the tree-lined walkways of its 88 acres. For harried residents of the chaotic megacity, the zoo is a paradise. For the management, it is a constant worry and administrative headache.
May 6, 1993 |
Vikram Seth bursts into the offices of his British publisher. He is late, disheveled, apologetic, sickly, hoarse and in need of black coffee-- "strong, with lots of sugar." Just back from a photo shoot, the celebrated Indian writer has this interview before racing across London for a book signing at Harrods,lunch with bookstore executives and more publicity appearances. He'll catch the evening train to Cambridge, where he'll read from his new novel, "A Suitable Boy."
September 15, 1991 |
High in the Andes, a giant bronze statue of Christ looks down on Chile and Argentina. Erected in 1904 as a symbol of good will between neighbors that long had squabbled about their border, it bears the inscription: "Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than the peoples of Argentina and Chile break the peace which at the feet of Christ the Redeemer they have sworn to maintain." The Andes, of course, have not crumbled.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 2007 |
In his medley of train songs, Fallbrook singer Ken Graydon hit upon one Friday with the refrain "there was always a train in my dreams." Graydon was the opening act for an afternoon of hoopla to hail the debut of the North County Transit District's latest public conveyance, German-made light-rail cars that will travel the 22 miles from Oceanside to Escondido on two sets of tracks, with 15 stops.
July 30, 2000 |
Before the black curtain of night rises for a new day on the prairie, the newspaper columnist lights a kerosene lamp, takes out pen and pad and begins writing about her life: The trips she takes by horse-drawn buggy. The water she pumps from her well. The clothes she sews, the corn she cans.