Tuesday, August 30, 2011

bad mother movies

I clicked past something horrible on the screen the other night, and then found myself clicking back to it, somehow hijacked by the awfulness of it.  I hate bad mother movies.  They're just so painful to watch.

This one turned out to be called 'Raising Genius.'  I'd never heard of it.  Shrill mother in an apron. OCD father reading the paper. Unbearable spoiled smart kid locks himself in the bathroom while working on equations. Therapist who gets trapped into sex with shrill mother looking for better sperm. And why on earth did I watch bits of this thing? Everyone in the movie is almost paralytically dysfunctional.

It reminded me a bit of 'Harold and Maude' — which has, I think, the best bad mother on film.  The 'Raising Genius' bad mother seemed to have been trying to imprint on Harold's mother, but just wasn't able to carry it off.  And the 'Raising Genius' genius kid is named Hal (short for Harold), and almost but not quite has the Harold look.  But he's not smart (in the British sense), and he's not interesting.  And he's as much a piece of work as everyone else in the family.   'Harold and Maude' on the other hand, is a class act across the board. No point even going there: this is something everyone knows.

'The Graduate' comes to mind for Anne Bancroft's bad mother class act.  I saw this one when it came out and found it so disturbing (especially Anne Bancroft's role) that I could never watch it again.  What is it about these bad mother movies that just scares the shit out of me?  Of course 'The Graduate' also drove us all crazy because they're driving the wrong direction on the Bay Bridge to Berkeley, and they used somebody else's campus and called it ours.  WTF?

'Black Swan' turned out to be another bad mother movie, although it didn't overwhelm the film.  Still—what did bad mother do here? Drive daughter beyond retrieval, right smack into the best scene of shape-shifting I've ever seen.  You have to sit through the whole bloody movie to get there, however.

'Ordinary People' had Mary Tyler Moore showing her bad mother chops.  Shocking to see after all her sunny TV persona. Well, wow.

In 'Bee Season' I'm not sure the bad mother counts as bad or just psychotic.  Either way, she's more part of the problem than part of a solution.

'Mommie Dearest.' Enough said.

'Postcards from the Edge' with Shirley MacLaine having a ball doing Debbie Reynolds' bad mother.  This is the most bad mother movie that I can handle. There's contributory negligence enough in here to be doled out all around.

Maybe I can take bad mother movies if they're funny enough.  Without the funny, they throw me into a despondent frenzy.  They're not like real life, are they, where you can pretend to change the outcomes. In the movies you can't change anything.  The bad mother doesn't get any better.  She doesn't learn her lesson. She doesn't change her ways.  She's frozen on the screen, just sitting there in her awfulness, and driving all the action in almost every scene.

Are there good mother movies?

Maybe Jessica in 'Dune'?  Hm.  Nope. Even she (in her ambition and pride) drugs herself on spice while daughter Alia is still in utero. For all her goodness, Jessica's still a bad bad mother.

Are good mothers too boring to put in movies?  Are they crap at motivating their kids to rebel in movie-worthy ways? Are all good mothers dead mothers?  (Think Babar, Curious George, and every fairy tale you ever read as a kid).

Is it only the loss of good mother that leads the little ones out onto their adventure? And if she's not dead yet, do we need the bad mother in order to excel?

Help me here.  I'm thinking about American films not films from other parts of the world.  Are there any good mother films out there that are produced in the US that still work (i.e. aren't sappy or cartoonish) and that really do the job?

Monday, August 22, 2011

evil eye, reprise

So. This is how the evil eye works.  You acknowledge (just to yourself, mind you and not even out loud) that everything's just fine thank you.  Or worse yet, just fine and dandy. Or worst of all, actually, you can't complain. But deep down you know that things are frakking great.  And that's bad, really bad. Really really really bad.

You have activated the evil eye, by just knowing what you know and completely denying it.  Too late.  Too late.

I am so bummed out by this.

Actually, there's a sequence that comes just before the bomb drops.  It's the warning signs.  Warning that your life is just a little too good right now for words.

I won't say what the good is.  Won't admit the truth of it.  In fact, I'm happy to deny the whole bloody thing.

Things are shit.

How's that? Does that sound convincing enough?

The thing about the evil eye is that somehow some force out there knows better.  Knows when you're lying.  Knows that no matter how long your face, that deep down you're actually thrilled to pieces, solvent, just plain happy, won the lottery, having the greatest sex in your life, paid off your house, have kids who are thriving — whatever it is that you're trying to hide behind that sad sack look.  It doesn't work.

Initial warning sign:

You're doing okay financially, and decide to purchase some little indulgence.  Your first iPhone, maybe, or some other indulgent Apple product. Opera tickets. Um, clothes to wear to the opera (unless you live in San Francisco, where you can go to Opening Night in jeans), or how's about an elliptical trainer to pretend you're really really going to get in shape?

And bam. You car goes out.  Or the roof falls in. Your back goes out. Your dad drops dead. Your girlfriend walks out.

Something. Really. Bad.

I'm sick of trying to outwit the forces of nature.

Actually, there's another way of thinking about it.  And that is, that good fortune and bad fortune are just waves in the ocean.  It's not volitional and it's nothing personal.  Things happen, and not just shit.  Take it in stride (somehow).

Remind yourself that you're not living in Somalia. That you don't have relatives in Afghanistan right now. That you actually have a job. That your teeth haven't fallen out of your head.  That the pain in your hip isn't currently so bad that it makes you cry and keeps you up all night.

See?  Counting your blessings is not entirely antithetical to the evil eye.  Done right, you can still do it and not incur the wrath of whatever forces run things like this on our little planet.  Keep the counting of blessings fairly generic and impersonal.  Not too emotionally charged.

Say something like, isn't it great that the migraines don't come every week but only once (or twice) a  month at the opposite peaks of your lunar cycle.  Say wow, I only have to up the dosage of my heart meds just a little bit, I mean, how cool is that?

Say something, in other words, where the blessings being counted are also being countered by some big implied downer.

This goes for compliments as well:

—"Wow, your dog is sooo beautiful..." [with even more effusive chatter following].  Oy yoi-yoi, appalling behavior. Your poor dog is in for some major health problems to follow. You've got to ward it off and protect her.

So you say,

—"Well, she's a little hard of hearing / has a touch of cancer / just had surgery / lost her pack mate / is getting old and arthritic / is incontinent / you should see what her meds cost ..."

Something. Anything. Anything except "Thank you."

The problem with 'thank you" is that it implies recognition and acceptance of the good. And you don't want to do that.

Girlfriend gets effusive about how much she loves you.  On and on and on she goes.  Yikes! Ouch! Feel the evil eye giving itself an evil little wink to self, gearing up for some serious action.

Drive shaft breaks.

Air bag sensor goes berzerker.

Mum slips and almost breaks her hip.

Pup gets major runs.

Something.  It's gonna be something.

Solution?  I'm just not sure.  Because once you stop curling up into a little ball and start to unwind some, you just want to unwind a whole lot more and finally just let the sunshine in.  I mean, should a little bit of happiness really be quite so fraught with drama?

Note to self: 
Wave theory. Good stuff in. Good stuff out.
 Stuff just happens, both the good and the bad. 
Get over it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

broccoli man

When M was little he had night terrors.  Not a lot. And not for long. And weird be told, he woke up completely refreshed, saying that he'd slept well.  Meanwhile, in the middle of the night — well yikes! There was a man who would rise from the gap between his bed and the wall, brandishing a huge long rifle (I have no idea what kind) (I'm rifle-challenged that way) (a good thing). And the man would rise up, take aim, and —

It was Broccoli Man.

For M, Broccoli Man was the terror that comes in the night.  Broccoli Man filled his nightmares—but he inhabited that night terror zone as well, as it turned out.  Strangely enough, M never had any problem with the vegetable itself. That would be me, who couldn't eat it at all.  It gave me such sharp pains in the gut, it was like someone stabbing me over and over and over again.  But M didn't know about that (as far as I remember).  Nevertheless, for a while there, Broccoli Man consumed him.

The worst part?  He couldn't wake up.

He'd be screaming, and I'd run in there, and nothing! He'd be telling what was happening, but he couldn't exit. And I'd hold him and rock him, and hold him some more, until finally, exhausted, he fell back into a more quiet sleep.

Night terrors are not nightmares.  Nightmares, you can wake up. You can tell what happened. You can even lucid-dream it all away with some good solid practice.  Terrors, you're frozen in there unable to respond. Unable to escape.

There was only one thing to do.


We got out the large sketchbook with the good paper, not the newsprint. This was serious stuff. And although M could draw plenty of disasters — usually houses (brown) that catch on fire (red, yellow and blue), with smoke (gray), then the fire engines roll up (more red), then they hose down the houses (more blue), then the smoke rises (billowing black, covering the page), then it's all fine again (only there's no picture left)* — and had had plenty of cathartic moments doing art projects, he just couldn't bring himself to draw broccoli man.

So we did it together.  One line here, one color there, and before you knew it, pit'om! there was Broccoli Man in all his sinister glory looming over us, it seemed. And yah. Pretty scary.  But as you can imagine, he was also ridiculous.

And that was the key.  M started cracking up. And Broccoli Man bowed his head in shame and never brandished his rifle near my glorious first born son ever ever again.

It's the Mel Brooks Effect.  And M and I are firm proponents of the Mel Brooks effect.

You see, Mel Brooks isn't just about 'broad humor' (as the new girlfriend called it yesterday) or walk-this-way and fart jokes. He's really about the alleviation of major suffering. Not personal suffering, really. No — something much larger: historical suffering.

In his work, he takes on the pain of inequality, torture, abuse of power, genocide, religious intolerance, racial discrimination, injustice and more, all with the 'broad' brush of the ridiculous.

If you can laugh instead of cry, then you can conquer trauma. That's the Mel Brooks Effect.

M loves Mel Brooks. And so do I. His work holds up because we haven't solved these larger terrors yet, have we?

Laughing at Broccoli Man was as powerful an antidote to nightmares and night terrors as Springtime for Hitler was an antidote to the Holocaust.

My mother, of course would disagree. To her, Mel Brooks trivializes our suffering. Maybe it's a generational thing. Dunno. But what Mel Brooks did at our house was have the kids want to know more about what really happened.  Want to visit Versailles and see the Bastille. Want to know about the Inquisition. Want to ask. And want to talk about it.

Likewise, once Broccoli Man was right there in the sketchbook staring back at us, we could hold the conversation.  Broccoli Man wasn't so tough now, was he, when we could draw him any way we wanted?

I met Broccoli Man yesterday, which is what made me think of the original. He was just as traumatic in real life, and I was just as doubled over on my way to meeting him.  Turns out he's Russian, and his name is Alex. But that's another story. And it'll have to wait till next time...

*I think this processual drawing technique is why M is a musician, which is so much better at containing these elements on a single page.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

little peachling

I almost never eat peaches. It's because I still half expect to bite in and find a tiny child inside. A Japanese child, no less.  When I was just learning to read, I got this beautiful book about the peachling child. His name was Momotaro.  On the cover was a picture (Ukiyo-e style of course) of a peach cut in half, and instead of the pit, Momotaro is sitting inside. There are peach blossoms all over the cover, and a black frame lining the edges of the cover.

The illustrations were magical.

Little Peachling grew into a full-sized man who could commune with animals. He left his adoptive parents, a woodcutter and his wife, who of course had been childless before the miracle of his coming.

So. Childless couples have always existed. Bachofen would say that if a folk tale has a story about it, then it's probably something that's really been on the minds of humans for a really long time.  Inability to conceive is certainly like that.  As is finding foundlings. And adoption. I think I was comforted by that as a child. This vulnerable foundling grew up and found his strength and power. It could be done.

In Tunisia, when we lived there, children were fairly transmutable.  Since I didn't have any, people were always giving me one.

"Take my child, please—"

And so, I would borrow children when I needed them.  They made social intercourse much much easier. A woman without a child. Real bummer. No validation at all. Walking around town all alone? Couldn't be done.  Walk with a child? And a woman could go anywhere.

Children in rural Tunisia made great little spies. They saw everything. And were so easily bribed.  They had access to everyone. Delivered messages. They could shop in the markets and handle money. Girl or boy. Didn't matter. They had access to the courtyards at home. The cafés. The bath houses. Cemeteries.  Uncles. Aunts.

They were free.

And as they grew, their lives bifurcated. Girls lives became more restricted to the courtyard, farm, or field. While boys had greater access to places further afield. Especially, as they got older, those cafés.  The women and girls were generally pretty happy to see them go. North Africa, at least then (and less so now) was extremely homophilic.

Girls and boys. Growing up. Sticking to their own kind. More and more.

Momotaro didn't do that.

I was completely captivated by his tale. He had, of course, this miraculous genesis. And then he grew into 'a strong and brave man' — with not a single word in the tale about courtyards, farms, fields or other people. Not a word of the mundane in his story. He goes from peach boy to warrior in one fell swoop. He carries a sword. And a fan.

I wanted to be like that. A sword. And a fan.  Took a long time to get there.

The Peach Boy had three nonhuman friends and companions. A dog. A monkey. And a pheasant.

I wanted friends like that.

They went off together to punish Ogres for their wickedness. They had a quest. What could be better than that?

The whole story captivated me as a child. I think it set the stage, without my noticing, for a lifelong passion for all things from long ago Japan.  Like Arthur Whaley, who translated Lady Muraski's Tale of Genji into (Victorian) English, I never wanted to actually set foot in contemporary Japan. It would ruin my 18th century impression.

My vision was all Ukiyo-e woodblock print impressions. Kuniyoshi impressions. Primarily from the Edo period. That's what I see—and I don't want it to change.  For all my usual desire to know, in this case I'm just fine not knowing. The tale gave me strength and courage and hope if not downright knowledge that everything would be okay. Surely that's enough.

Why think about this right now?

I cut into a beautiful and fragrant peach just now. Very carefully, as I always do. One slice along the spine. And gently (as always) pried the two halves apart, and opened wide. And held my breath.

No baby boy within.

My shoulders sank. As they always do. My breath released with a sigh. No tiny child. No child to grow up strong and brave and take up sword and fan. And befriend dog and monkey and pheasant. And fight the Ogres. And win. And come back home again.

I sliced it up into thin crescents. And ate it slice by slice.

And realized. I have my sword. I have my fan. I didn't need to be a man. And when I read that story then, that was when my quest began.

Oh. And it's delicious. The peach, too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

one teaspoon each collectivism and autonomy, two tablespoons hypocrisy

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them wholeheartedly — but not enough to take them back.

The issue:  She made a collectivist offer. An offer to share. From subscriptions to memberships. Things like Costco. Things like the New York Times. Stuff like that. It wasn't altruism nor was it generosity.  We'd each be covering one thing or another. Just an instance of sharing. Which would bring down costs for both of us. An act of pure economic rationality, especially in a time of dearth.

And I said no.

I didn't just say no.  I said no emphatically. And I meant it. You can tell because I used italics here.

Partly I was just ashamed that it wasn't I who had come up with the idea in the first place. God forbid someone else should have a collectivist bone in her body. I guess I'm very competitive about my collectivism.

Partly it was that she's currently in the process of dissolving a collectivist arrangement that didn't work out.  Ach.  Been there, done that. Don't want to do that again.

Partly it was a scream (albeit fairly silent) of freak-out-ishness of the potential loss of my own hard won autonomy.

What a bleeping hypocrite!

I talk a good talk. About the joys and power of collective action. But I don't so much as ask for another person's help when I need it.  Ammendment: I didn't used to.  Now I do recognize that yes, every once in a long while I need to ask for help with stuff. Sometimes.  It's aging season, for example, and I'm not willing to risk the likelihood of further damage to my wrecked lower spine by schlepping and lifting the heavy stuff anymore. Nor will I offer to help with the schlepping and hauling like I used to. On the other hand — I never used to ask for help. And now I do. And hate every minute of it.

But asking for help isn't collectivism.  Collectivism is about union. Sharing tools, land, water, seed, and labor—essential basics—collective production.  Growing enough for others to take their basketful, knowing that you're welcome to do the same—collective distribution.  Interdependence. Emphasizing collective need over that of the individual.  The joy of sharing.

But my collectivist ideology and my autonomous constitution are at war with each other.  I love the idea of working together, sharing expenses, collaborative writing, sharing authorship, seed, soil, and all that.  And I do these things well. On the other hand, basically I wish I could do everything myself.

And so I had a little hissy fit. Without explaining anything.  Without understanding it myself.

I want it. Collectivism, I mean.

And right now it scares the shit out of me.  So why is that?

I think it's not the fear of collectivizing per se that's done me in.  I think it's the fear that if I re-collectivize that it'll be harder than ever to dismantle it when its time is over. It's the idea that I have to trust someone. That she'll keep her side of the bargain (whatever that bargain is). The fear that I'll lose the knowledge or ability to fend for myself.

Autonomy is a crock.

There's really no such thing.  Not yet, anyway.  Although it seems that Congress would have us go more and more in that direction.  Dismantle the U.S. Post Office. Public education. Social Security. Medicare. Less government, more privatization. But we (I speak collectively here realizing that this 'we' doesn't include 'me' at all) don't want to pay for collective benefits. But we do seem to all want the particular benefits that we ourselves enjoy.  Let's just support the military some say. Or how 'bout education?

So. This isn't just about me and my health insurance or Costco or Netflix membership. It's a national issue, and we're not united about it. I guess that's the point, isn't it?

For what are we willing to take collective responsibility, and for what do we stand alone?

L. H. Morgan saw the rise of civilization as the movement away from collectivism in favor of greater and greater autonomy and competition.  Darwin, on the other hand, saw competition as the primitive root leading to the 'higher' animal. 'From the war of nature, the higher animal directly follows...' he said.  Kropotkin tried to tone him down with the benefits of Mutual Aid, but never got a response from the great man.  It's still in print, but clearly not as popular as Darwin's war of nature bit.

But is any of this going to help me with my little conundrum? What am I really scared of right now? That once we're each dependent on each other that the whole thing will fall apart? That it leads to a slippery slope of elder care (or equivalent) of the till-death-do-us-part variety? Am I scared that I might like it? That I might end up with the loopy lab? That she might end up with the house?  Wait, wait! That's not collectivism—that's marriage.

So why is the American public so gung-ho about the Defense of Marriage Act but downright freaked about the provision of services like health care to the larger community?  Whereas, I feel just the opposite. Collectivism, I'm for it. Marriage, not so much.

And sharing a Costco membership?

I'll think about it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

month of aaarrrggghhh now ending

Where have I been? Well, last night I had another awful night at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and another movie we just walked out of.  This year's SFJFF has been a real disappointment.  And I'm a little concerned that this year's festival was simply designed to fail.  Because there's a theme of aaarrrggghhh running all the way through it. And that theme appears to be films that are self-serving, self-referential, and self-reflective except without the reflection.

Now maybe, you might say, we've just managed to hit a bad film here and there.  But goddamnit, we've got All Festival Passes — which means that we've seen more movies —more bad movies— than anyone has a right to.  It also means that we've walked out of more movies than I've ever walked out on in my life.

To tell the truth, the bad-movie experience started on opening night at the Castro.

Mabul — The Flood  by Guy Nativ, was the Opening Night Film.  It was torture to watch, but I gave it a chance and sat through the whole thing.  It actually worked as a movie, and unfortunately, you really do have to sit through the whole thing in order to get the point of it and experience the redemptive ending.  The Director and principal (child) actor were there to answer questions and explain stuff, and that helped a lot. Still, I walked out wondering if the rest of the Film Festival was going to put us in the audience through more of the same.  But no.  It was going to put us through worse.  This one, at least, had a point.

Bobby Fisher Against the World was next.  This one wasn't terrible at all, just depressing. And while it didn't help us like Bobby Fisher any better, it didn't help us understand him better either.  But I think it tried.  Or maybe that's over-generous.  Maybe they didn't try to shed some light on what-happened-to Bobby Fisher. Maybe they just tracked down a bunch of footage and did a good editing job — and are leaving the interpretations up to us.  And maybe if Bobby Fisher had been given / and taken meds, all his genius would have melted away?

Connected, An Autoblogography about Love, Death and Technology by Tiffany Shlain was by far the worst movie I'd ever seen in my life up until that point.  And that was true — until tonight, when something worse topped the Worst-Of list.  And it was beginning with this film that I formed the hypothesis that there was something dreadfully wrong with this year's SFJFF.  There was a lot of local-girl-makes-good cheering before the film began.  It's local-girl using local-money, and aren't we all so precious and precocious?  Tiffany is Leonard Shlain's daughter. He's the brain surgeon who thought he knew all about the mind.  First book was a good one, but his Alphabet book is one 19th century reductionist blunder after another.  All innuendo, and all of its argument refuted a century ago.  The film, therefore, is a fitting tribute by Tiffany to her dad, right down to making us watch her home movies and her crying at his memorial. The argument in the film is that the internet is connecting us all in new ways, and isn't that special? We walked out, but it was almost over by then, so I guess that doesn't count.  It didn't seem like Mabul at all — there wasn't going to be any redemption at the end.

The Names of Love by Michel Leclerc was an absolute delight, thank god, and I thought the festival redeemed itself with this one. It dealt with pluralism in France in a nuanced and fun manner, bursting stereotypes, and still managing to cover Jewish angst, Franco-Algerian struggle in the younger generation, French radical activism, and a whole lot more — and still manage the delight.  Now, was that so hard?

Don't Tell Santa You're Jewish hit the mark exactly.  I remember that dilemma when I was little.  A fun little ditty.

Spartacus.  Well, it was great to see Kirk Douglas get the Freedom of Expression Award that the SFJFF gives. And to learn just how much Spartacus reflected the political sentiments of Douglas.  Important movie.  Still, I didn't make it past the intermission.

Jews in Toons included three TV cartoon series' episodes on Jewish themes.  The Family Guy episode "When you wish upon a Weinstein" was forced and not quite as terrible as it promised to be.  South Park's "Passion of the Jew" is of course a classic that everyone should see. And The Simpsons "Like Father Like Clown" was the least interesting of the three.  The audience was then subjected to Mike Reiss' comedy onstage, which, like the Simpsons episode that he wrote, should have been (like his "Queer Duck") edgier and have a point.

Life is Too Long — I know I saw it.  Can't remember a thing about it.  And that's after rereading the blurb about it.  Good title. The only reason I'm sure we saw it is that it came with a short entitled Grandpa looked Like William Powell, and I know I saw that one.  Or at least some of it.

The Queen has no Crown we got through.  And I think it's important despite the self-referential quasi-home movie/quasi documentary surface.  Here was another depressing movie addressing in part the very large point of whether Israelis have lost the dream. And whether the Israeli diaspora may be a sign of the failure of the Zionist entity.  The film is understated and more important than it seems.  Still, it's more home movie than I ever want to see in my life ever again.

Between Two Worlds was another self-referential home grown local-girl-makes-good movie that starts out particular (right there at the controversial 2009 SFJFF at the Castro Theater) and moves rapidly to the downright massive, if not cosmic, question of who gets to speak for the Jews today? This film is the opposite of The Queen has no Crown, which focuses on the particular and lets the audience contemplate the larger questions.  This one tries to cover absolutely everything, and ends by being way too diffuse to be useful.  Sure, Deborah Kaufman gets credit for putting the SFJFF on the map. And that's a good thing.  But the film just isn't. The panel afterwards was moderated by Michael Krasny. The only person worth listening to here was Rabbi Kula — who reminded us that our identity is rooted in part in the fact that we do debate this stuff...  (He said it better, and had a lot more to say)

100 Voices was another self-referential let's-film-ourselves flick. Only these were American cantors going 'back' to Poland and giving concerts in Warsaw and Krakow.  This one was better than I expected, although I ended up in Ashkenazi overload despite the presence of not one, but two Sephardi cantors participating.

Sarah's Key — despite the Terry Gross interview with Kristin Scott Thomas nothing in the world could have made me want to see this film. I just don't think I could take it.

which brings us to tonight's

Flawed was a short preceding Four Weddings.  It was a 13 minute stop-motion animation that was another me/my life movie, but it managed to keep it humble, keep it sweet, and keep it short.

Four Weddings and a Felony — which we walked out on, and then so did a bunch of other people as well.  And that, was after the writer/director/actor of it even came out to introduce the thing.  This one may well tie with Connected as worst-movie-ever, except that we didn't stay long enough to find out. Yes, this is another follow-myself-around-with-a-camera and let's-talk-about-me-some-more movie. And if it's got a redemptive quality to it, well you'll just have to let me know.


If you've wondered (and I've gotten email that proves that there is some wondering) why the hell I haven't been writing anything in a couple of weeks, well, here's your answer.  It's been bad movies and more aaarrrggghhh movies over the last couple weeks.  I know that's no excuse.

Oh. And I was dragged to see Captain America on Saturday night.

"You'll hate it," she said.  "But you have to see it."

She was right.  I was appalled. But it's an important movie. A propaganda film about propaganda films — unashamed of itself, and promoting hard every inch of the way.  An important movie. Do not underestimate this film. Its subliminal message isn't subliminal at all.