Friday, October 28, 2005

Va. Film Festival was interesting

Saw Dirty Harry on the big screen. It is quite a stirring, disturbing film. I sympathize with those who feel it is facist, but I think it was a movie was the times when America may have perhaps been ever more uptight (because of the Manson murders and Vietnam) than it is now! I also saw Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" and "Inherit the Wind" with Spencer Tracy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Best Dozen Films of 2004

Well, these things are always subject to change. As it is, my top 10 list that I submitted to Film Comment last year for a contest which I won (and, I never win anything!) has seen a complete overhaul. Here it is:


1. Sideways (US. dir: Alexander Payne)

2. Distant (Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

3. The Return (Russia, dir. Andrei Zyanginstev)

4. Since Otar Left (France/Georgia, dir. Julie Bertucelli)

5. The Aviator (US, dir. Martin Scorsese)

6. Million Dollar Baby (US, dir. Clint Eastwood)

7. Spring, Summer, Fall....(So. Korea, dir. Kim Ki-duk)

8. Before Sunset (US, dir. Richard Linklater)

9. Fahrenheit 9-11 (doc, US, dir. Michael Moore)

10. The Incredibles (ani. US, dir. Brad Bird)

11. Vera Drake (UK, dir. Mike Leigh)

12. Bright Leaves (doc., US, dir. Ross McElwee)


'Til I change my mind, which could well be tommorow. There were many other great films from last year, including House of Flying Daggers,Motorcycle Diaries,  Finding Neverland, and Downfall among many, many others......!

The two questions I missed -regarding Turkey

It has been a long and awful day, but I did do well on a -surprise, surprise BBC news quiz about Turkey. It is my father's country and I speak Turkish, so this should hardly be a shocker. I got 10 out of 12, right. I thought it would be interesting to mention the two I missed.


1. Turkey first tried to enter the EU in which decade:


a. the 50s

b. the 70s

c. the 90s

As it turns out, and I think after I missed it I realized I had heard this somewhere before, Turkey first tried to enter in 1959. I chose the '70s.


Which word is used to mean "mountain' in Turkish

a. Alp

b. Balkan

C. Caucuss


Well, I've always heard the word Dag used for mountain so this one threw me. I chose Alp, but the answer is Balkan.


The trickiest question was one I got right though. Which city was once a part of the Ottoman Empire?


A. Venice

B. Budapest

C. Kiev

I chose Budapest, which is correct. I hope the locals can forgive us! Iw ent to Budapest as a child in the 70s, and it was awesome and I hear that it's even better now...!


Is Jerry Kilgore running for gov., or executioneer?

Opinion Piece:


During the Oct. 9 Virginia state gubernatorial debate, between lt. gov. Tim Kaine and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (state senator Russ Potts, a moderate REpublican from Winchester was left out much to his dismay), the issue of capital punishment came up frequently. Moderator Larry Sabato asked Kaine, who has said he would uphold the state's capital punishment measure which I absolutely oppose, if he still felt opposed to the death penalty in the wake of a brutal slaying of a VCU student. Kaine responded by saying that he would not call for a moratorium as governor in spite of his personal objections. But, if there is one thing that Kilgore will never, ever disclose in either his ads or a debate, it is that there have been people exonerated from death row in Virginia, including Earl Washington of Culpepper. This is not a dismissive matter because it is very difficult to get the state to clear someone once they have been sentenced to death. Keith Coleman, of Grundy a far southwestern coal-minning community, was sent to his death despite world pleas. The case has still been brought forth and the state of Virginia refuses to test his DNA, even ten years after his infamous execution. In fact, the former pope actually asked then Gov. George Allen not to execute an inmate whose case had recieved world wide attention and Allen, who has since become Senator, refused! With his current campaign, Kilogore is not only insulting Kaine but he is spitting in the face of all of us who either oppose capital punishment outright or who have major concerns about how it is applied in Virginia. By frequently bringing up the matter, Kilgore thus seems more interested in being the state's 'prime executioneer' than taking care of other needs, including transportation, education, and ironically funding for local law enforcement needs.  

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Today's Washington Post has story about Kurds in Turkey

There was a very interesting article in the Oct. 16 Washington Post about Kurds in Turkey. Like many things in my father's country, it is a politically sensitive controversial issue. The article talked about the pressures that Ankara faces in trying to make life more democratic for Kurdish citizens who live predominantly in Eastern Turkey though they have a large population in Istanbul. And, it also talked about the pressures that the Kurds have from Ankara in moving away from the political/terrorist group The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which was headed by Abdullah Ocalan who was captured in Kenya and is now serving a life sentence. The article also went into the complications of the War in Iraq, which also has a large Kurdish population. There was a civil war between government forces and the PKK from the mid-80s up until Ocalan's capture. Ocalan surprised authorities by requesting a cease-fire. It has held up, but a reemergence of Kurdish terrorist activities, including a tour bus explosion in the Aegean resort of Kusadasi has occured this year. However, with no PKK, it is hard to know who is directly  responsible for such incidents.