This edition: January 2004 edition
Original tape date: January 26, 2004.
The Battle of Algiers
Winner of numerous international awards in the 1960s and a presiding influence on such recent films as Traffic and Black Hawk Down, The Battle of Algiers is being re-released as a film that comments with prophetic accuracy about today's world order. Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, the film re-creates in hyper-documentary fashion how the Algerian people defeated the French to win their freedom. Producer and star Saadi Yacef, who plays in the film the role he lived as a true revolutionary leader, talks to CANAPE about the ways his film is relevant fifty years after the events that it portrays.
Several years ago Saving Private Ryan celebrated the heroism of the American soldiers who liberated France. But no story tells every story. The new translation by Alice Kaplan of the French novel OK Joe by Louis Guilloux takes the point of view of a young Frenchman who serves as an interpreter for Army lawyers. Their job is to prosecute those soldiers who commit crimes against civilians. The experience allows him to learn about American culture through its many contradictions, especially those centered on race in a segregated military. Professor Alice Kaplan tells CANAPE why she chose to bring this story about America to Americans themselves.
Have you ever thought the world was being run by automatons? That fear is nothing new. An 18th century robot beat Ben Franklin and countless others at chess. Or did he? The restored silent film epic The Chessplayer uses the real story of a hoax to present a grand romantic melodrama of Polish resistance to Russian rule in the days of Catherine the Great. Battles, love scenes, and court intrigue, they are all there for a viewer's pleasure. Henri Rabaud's restored musical score is a special treat. CANAPE takes a glimpse at scenes from Raymond Bernard's 1927 masterpiece.
It took awhile for American artists to see the value of French Impressionism, but, once they did, an artistic dialogue began that changed the visual culture of the United States. Drawing from its rich permanent collection, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. offers an exhibit that showcases the breadth and depth of the American Impressionist tradition of the late 19th and early 20th century. Masterpieces by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt are complemented by surprises by less well known artists such as Willard Metcalf, Edmund Tarbell, and Bessie Potter Vonnoh. Curator Sarah Cash guides CANAPE on a tour of this meeting ground of France and America.
In the 1950s in Rashomon Akira Kurosawa told the same murder story four times. In the 1970s in Nashville Robert Altman mixed genres while turning minor characters into protagonists and vice versa. In the 21st century director, writer, and actor Lucas Belvaux samples both techniques in Trilogy, three feature films with separate identities but intertwined stories and characters. There is a thriller, a comedy, and a drama. And what's the sum of the parts? The young cinematic wizard chats with CANAPE about the challenges of being the same and different three times over.