[Marxism] Re: V for Vendetta
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 2 11:41:11 MDT 2006
Thomas M. wrote:
>WSWS usually has the snobbish attitude of a film professor towards
As a rule of thumb, I only review films that I really enjoy--like "Whisky".
I make the occasional exception for something that irks me so much that I
want to get off my chest--like Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator". I think
that Walsh's need to attack so many movies goes hand in hand with the
general "left opposition" stance of WSWS.
That being said, Walsh can be a very perceptive and fine writer, even when
he is panning a film. For example, his take on Woody Allen is pretty
The Allen persona wore thin a good many pictures ago, but it carried him
through until the early 1990s. Various factors, including personal ones,
may have caused him to lose his way so dramatically, but no doubt social
changes played a decisive role. The milieu that he lovingly, if
sardonically, chronicled has disintegrated. At its upper, wealthiest end it
has become a source of support for law-and-order, free-market Republicans.
Many of New York Citys so-called cultural intelligentsia signaled their
shift by supporting Rudolph Giuliani in 1993.
New York Citys official web site explains: His [Giulianis] message of
fiscal responsibility and attention to quality of life concerns [i.e.,
shunting the homeless off the streets and subways] resonated with New
Yorkers, who elected him over incumbent David Dinkins. ... To reduce crime,
he implemented a zero tolerance approach, placing an emphasis on
enforcing laws against nuisance crimes as well as serious offenses. ... To
stimulate the citys stagnated economy, Giuliani reduced the tax burden by
eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax in most areas of the city, reducing the
Hotel Occupancy Tax, and eliminating the Unincorporated Business Tax. ...
[A] national financial magazine named New York City the most improved
American city in which to do business. ...
Faced with a $2.2 billion budget gap upon taking office, Giuliani lowered
projected spending by $7.8 billion through a series of cost cutting
measures and productivity improvements. He reduced the citys payroll by
over 20,000 jobs without layoffs. ... In 1993, 1.1 million New Yorkers were
receiving welfare. To bring an end to a philosophy that encouraged
dependency on public assistance, Giuliani implemented the largest workfare
program in the nation. Since his welfare reforms were enacted in March of
1995, 340,000 people have been moved off the rolls, saving $650 million
annually in city, state and federal funds.
It would be hard to improve on this as a guide to the general evolution of
certain upper middle class layers in Manhattan. One would perhaps only need
to add a graph showing the meteoric rise in the stock market in the 1990s.
Allens milieu largely threw its lot in with the barbarians some time ago.
And he goes on pretending as if nothing has happened. But these
developments have had consequences for his art, hollowing it out, rendering
One scene stands out: the party at which the tragic Melinda (at least I
think its the tragic one) meets her new love. First of all, the vast,
sumptuously decorated Upper East Side apartment would be out of reach for
nearly anyone but a millionaire these days. A leisurely medium shot takes
in the guests standing around, in their blazers and ties and tasteful
evening dresses, sipping drinks, listening to classical music skillfully
played on the piano, presumably discussing love and psychoanalysis and
literature and who knows what else, and one suddenly realizes why it all
looks so terribly, terribly unreal, almost touchingly unrealthis is a
gathering of phantoms. One can see why the camera remains at a certain
distance; if it were to move in too close one would surely be able to see
right through what must be paper-thin, two-dimensional figures.
This is light from a dead star. The party only exists in Allens brain, as
a memory or perhaps a fantasy, a crowd of cultured, moneyed, sophisticated,
liberal-minded New Yorkers.
It is impossible to accomplish much of anything, comic, tragic or
otherwise, on such a basis. It may be painful at times to look life and
reality in the face, but they remain the only basis for art.
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