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.
September 12, 1993 |
Lawrence Lefferts and Sillerton Jackson ought to be having a field day with the new film of Edith Wharton's novel "The Age of Innocence" instead of wandering through it without seeming to notice that anything is wrong. True, these two insufferable gentlemen are only minor characters in the movie, as in the book. But in the circles in which the major characters move, they are the self-appointed guardians of what is done and what is simply not done.
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.
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.
January 23, 2005 |
Inside a technology park across the Hudson River from Albany rest the lifelike facial reconstructions of nine seemingly diverse individuals: black and white, young and old, male and female. A look into their past, however, reveals a common thread: They lived, worked and died at one of New York's earliest poorhouses, which housed Albany's paupers, orphans and mentally ill in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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.