CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 8, 2001 |
Jorge Amado, considered Brazil's greatest contemporary writer for raucous, bawdy novels that celebrate his country's underclasses, has died. He was 88. Amado died Monday evening, hours after being admitted to Alianca Hospital in Salvador in the northeastern state of Bahia. The cause of death was heart and lung failure. Amado was hospitalized several times in recent years because of diabetes and heart problems.
June 12, 1998 |
In her long and varied career, Bette Davis played many a memorable heroine, but she never got to play her namesake, Balzac's Cousin Bette. Davis would have been perfect as the plain, impoverished spinster who engineers revenge against her rich, selfish relatives.
August 26, 2005 |
Great political upheavals usually get the epic treatment in movies, which tend to flatten wholesale human suffering into cast-of-thousands backdrops for heroic stories of "one ordinary man's extraordinary courage." It's rarer that a film focuses on the effects of large-scale social cataclysms on individuals whose bravery consists of remaining resolutely human and true to themselves, and much more poignant.
September 11, 1994 |
If anybody is still looking for the quintessential Los Angeles novelist, I've just found him: Honore de Balzac. The prolific chronicler of Paris in the first half of the 19th Century describes a city uncannily like my own. Nowadays Paris has become an upscale Disneyland for grown-ups, but Balzac's Paris was a caldron of greed, envy and intractable class conflict.
December 26, 2011 |
The holiday lights on the Champs-Elysees are in full splendor, but right off the avenue, the landmark art house movie palace, the Balzac, has remained dark for days. Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky, owner of the independent film theater, has shut the doors from Dec. 21 to 28 to protest what he says is an existential threat to his long-standing business by major theater chains, which have increasingly snatched the rights to screen the sort of artistic but popular films that have provided him his baguette et beurre until now. A sign of explanation outside his gated cinema includes a quote from philosopher Albert Camus: "Everything which degrades culture shortens the path to servitude.
June 8, 2001 |
It's no big surprise that Balzac died of caffeine poisoning. Considering that he wrote some 80 novels in 30 years, it may stand to reason he was hyped up on something. Somehow, in addition to that extraordinary outpouring of prose, Balzac also managed to write a handful of plays, among them, "Mercadet, the Napoleon of Finance." In Robert Cornthwaite's new translation at the Ivy Substation, Balzac's 150-year-old comedy spans the centuries with sprightliness intact. The Antaeus Company, highly praised for last year's revival--also at the Ivy Substation--of Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck," has had good luck itself digging into the archives for obscure classics.