Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (September 6th, 1757- May 20th, 1834)
[portrayed by Brian Wiles on AMC’s TURN: Washington’s spies]
Tribute to the Marquis de Lafayette on his 260th birthday. [Part 1]
Lafayette, born a french aristocrat, joined the American cause in 1777, becoming a major-general in the continental forces at age 19. He grew to be the closest companion of His Excellency George Washington and was regarded as the General’s adopted son. Lafayette’s commitment to the American struggle for independence contributed decisively to the forming of an alliance between France and the United States in 1778.
After the War of Independence, Lafayette returned to France where he spread the ideals of democracy and the Enlightenment. He wrote a draft for the Declaration of Human Rights and, influenced by his american friends Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens, was a life-long abolitionist. Lafayette commanded the French national guard until 1791. After being inprisoned for five years, he left the political stage until the exiling of Napoleon Bonaparte. He became a high-ranking politician and once again commander of the national guard. Lafayette died in 1834, aged 76.
Until today Lafayette is known as the “Hero of two worlds”, owing to his role in both the American and French Revolution.
What the Hell is Modern Architecture? Part Two: Mid-Century Madness
Hello friends! It’s everybody’s favorite time of the 20th century, kudos to Mad Men.
For the purpose of this post, Mid-Century starts in the late 1930s and goes through about 1960. While the 60s were integral to the concept of “Mid-Century Modernism” to people who shop at Design Within Reach, it really belongs to the period known as Late Modernism, which will be the subject of next week’s post.
Where we left off with our beloved modernists two weeks ago, World War II was just starting. Coincidentally, it turns out dictators really like columns and stuff (who knew), and so Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius fled to the US where they responded to the hostile takeover of their countries by committing a benevolent takeover of the major American universities.
Though the architecture of fascism was overwhelmingly traditional, (with the exception of Italian Futurism) modernism has still been deemed “fascist” by the ill-informed for over fifty years. Go figure.
The Second World War had a major impact on the field of architecture. For one, it destroyed previous socioeconomic orders, and the horrific use of technology to commit so many heinous atrocities undermined its central position in the previous ideas of technocratic utopia. The machine for living in had a bad taste in its mouth, now.
In addition, in Europe, the destruction of so many urban communities during the war left a vacuum for housing projects, many of which failed and most of which were completely insensitive to people’s aesthetic needs post-tragedy.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. One of the pinnacle struggles of midcentury was the battle to continue old norms (the International Style of 1920s Europe) and to pave new frontiers. Meanwhile, in non-western countries, this prewar architecture spread like wildfire, partially as a reaction against the 19th century traditionalism they inherited from colonialism. In countries like Finland, Brazil, and Mexico, there was considerable effort to balance new modern aesthetics with national identities and climates.
But back to the Bauhaus babes: Gropius (and later Marcel Breuer) were both invited to teach at Harvard, effectively ending that school’s history of Beaux Arts classicism.
Gropius’ arrival did something else for American architecture: with the exception of Richard Neutra & Co. on the west coast and Wright in the Midwest, American architecture was relatively stale innovation-wise on the East Coast, and bringing Gropius in kickstarted architectural change in that region.
Gropius’ students, sick of the rather boring eclecticism of the time, flocked to hear the new European ideas, including future stars Paul Rudolph (my personal bae), IM Pei, and Philip Johnson, who would all go on to be icons of Late Modernism (and to some extents, its scapegoats.)
Enter the Saarinens
Meanwhile in the Midwest, where actual progress happened in lieu of lectures, the Finnish-born architect Eliel Saarinen and his son, Eero, effectively kickstarted the aesthetics of the mid-century. Eliel, a figure of the previous generation, shifted his attention to American design late in life, but Eero seemed to have been born into the American jet-set ideal.
Saarinen the Younger established his reputation when he won the competition to build the 1947 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri aka:
The 1950s were a period of (highly idealized) prosperity and optimism (despite the constant threat of nuclear winter) with a focus on scientific progress and good ol’ American ingenuity.
It was said ingenuity that enabled new methods of construction, including the wall of glass. One of the pinnacle examples of this progress and optimism was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan begun by Saarinen the Elder and finished by Saarinen the Younger in 1948.
It was in this building that the processes of American manufacturing, management, and industry were canonized in architectural form - the building, seemingly weightless, floats above a green, minimal lawn.
Meanwhile, Mies van der Rohe, was spending 1939-1956 building the new campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mies was very fond of the craftsmanship of American steel manufacturing, and used the steel beam as a way to articulate his functional ideals with a finesse like no other.
The glass box of the Institute’s Crown Hall was fervently egalitarian in that it was supposed to be good for anything and everything, and neutral to the concept of place and the specificity of internal function.
(The irony of Mies’ buildings and their honesty of expression, is that the fire code of the time required that steel be surrounded by fireproofing, and therefore the steel visual on buildings such as Crown Hall, is, in fact, a decorative effect, something not lost on later theorists such as Robert Venturi.)
Mies’ seminal work of the period was the famous Farnsworth House (1945-51), where he applied the cool sleekness of his academic and industrial buildings to residential design.
Perhaps Mies is most infamous in the long run for his tall skyscrapers, the most famous of which is the Seagram Building (New York City, 1954-8), which he designed with the help of Gropius acolyte Philip Johnson.
The building owes its debts to Sullivan, who over half a century before, used appearance to express the ideal of its structure, an idea Mies evolved into “lying in order to tell the truth” - his steel frame hid within it wind bracing and other engineering necessities; the mullions separating the windows are applied, rather than structural necessity.
While Mies’ aesthetic would be elevated to the epitome of American corporate style, it continued in the tradition of the Deutsches Werkbund of early modernity, which believed that industrial technique should be worn on the sleeve of architectural form.
Unfortunately, the Miesian ideal was taken up by countless (often garbage) imitators, which reduced his finesse to mere uniformity, resulting in the endlessly replicating “glass box downtowns” of the 60s and 70s. The criticisms of later theorists that Mies left out the messiness of life within the glass structure, weren’t entirely invalid, but much of the time the ad nauseum replication of glass boxes are the faults of Mies’ imitators rather than Mies himself.
Meanwhile, in Brazil and Finland
Brazil and Finland are perhaps the most notable of the nations to have adopted modernism after the pre-war German-French-American trichotomy, because their national architectural figures have contributed so much to the architecture of the time.
Brazil’s strongman, Oscar Niemeyer, was born in Rio de Janeiro, and studied architecture at the Escola Nacional des Belas Artes. His architecture was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier, and featured a heavy use of reinforced concrete. Niemeyer was a believer in constructing “monuments” - architecture that stood out from its surroundings, and the concept that architecture should be infused with social idealism.
Niemeyer’s most famous buildings were those built for the deal city of Brazil’s new capital, Brasilia. Built with Socialist ideas, such as the government owning apartments and leasing them to employees, and that the common worker and the top officials would share the same public spaces, the project, which was constructed hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere, aimed to bring a higher quality of life to a rural region.
Unfortunately, his leftist politics resulted in his exile from Brazil, when Castelo Branco usurped the previous president and made Brazil a dictatorship until 1985. Oh well.
In Finland, home of the Saarinens, the architect Alvar Aalto was quietly straight killingit at modern architecture. Unamused by the cold corporatism of the endlessly replicating glass box, Aalto and his contemporaries sought to infuse the vernacular traditions of their country, pre-industrial rusticism, and environmental consciousness with the sleekness of modernism.
(This was easier to achieve in the Nordic countries, where rabid industrialization had not yet ruined natural resources such as timber.)
Aalto’s remarkable sensitivity to his clients and their anticipated behavior within his dwellings combined with his keen sense of place made his architecture successful during a time dominated by the necessity of post-war building making (in place of lasting architecture.)
The sensitivity to the Earth, and the desire to embed his buildings fully into their environment (rather than make them objects on the lawn as was the modern tradition in Europe at the time), set Aalto apart from his contemporaries, and deeply inspired many young architects of midcentury, most notably Louis Kahn.
But that’s not why y’all came here. Y’all came here for this:
On the Pop Side of Things: What Most People Think of When They Hear “Mid Century Modern”
While Gropius lectured, Mies built his boxes, Wright got weird with the Guggenheim, Aalto and Niemeyer led their countries as pioneers, and Corbu hid in Europe (butthurt that he was used for his input on the design of the United Nations building but never received the official commission- basically, he got catfished by the UN) the endless sprawl of the suburbs inched across the US, and the Federal Highway Act paved the way for a new way of life: sitting in the car a lot.
What most people associate with mid-century modernism are the “retro” vibes of the 50s - the Eames rocker, the fanciful signs, and the space-age hotels. What they don’t realize is that much of this beloved imagery existed outside the architectural canon, in the realm of folk or commercial architecture.
Suddenly, the world of motels, supermarkets, diners, and more sprung up seemingly overnight. The architecture of this time was designed to get people’s attention, and not much more - which is perhaps why it is so endearing. Originating from Southern California, this style was known as “Googie,” “Space Age,” and “Atomic Age” architecture, inspired by the events that transpired as part of the Space Race, and the pop culture surrounding the events of the Cold War.
Also originating in California, the ideal of the Mid-Century Modern House was canonized in the Case Study Houses (built for Arts & Architecture Magazine, made famous by the photographs of Julius Schulman), the houses of Richard Neutra, and the affordable tract home plans put together by architects such as Joseph Eichler, and Palmer & Kilmer.
It makes sense that such architecture originated in California, a state that adopted the automobile with a fervent efficiency and built its best-known city of Los Angeles around it.
The unique decor made by companies like furniture giants Knoll and Herman Miller, fit right at home in such adventurous houses. Herman Miller hired the famous duo Charles and Ray Eames to design many lines of chairs and other furniture which have become iconic in and of themselves.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
The Eames’ designs took the functionalism of modernism and infused it with fanciful coziness which became instantly appealing. The Eames’ chairs dared onlookers to sit in them, and were designed to excel at their purpose: to be sat in. These attributes, along with the slick futuristic design, have made Eames-design furniture timeless and highly desirable, even today.
While the Eameses were the most famous of the mid-century designers, the work of architects such as Eero Saarinen, and designers like George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi, should not be left out as well:
The fanciful nature of Mid-Century Modern design has seen a resurge in recent years, as younger generations delight in its charming simplicity and thoughtful execution for the first time.
Mid-century was the period during which American corporate zeitgeist, pop culture, and technological innovation reached its peak in the public eye. However, a new generation of architects were coming of age, whose sculptural monumentality would send a wave of dissent through the world of modernism, thrusting it into the period known as Late Modernism.
Which is what we’ll get to next week!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s post on Mid-Century Modernism! I’m sorry I couldn’t post an ugly house this Thursday, as it was Thanksgiving and drama was high. Trust me, the upcoming Michigan Monstrosity is well worth the wait.
As a side note, for all of you who submitted a logo proposal to me, I am going through the entries (all 200 of them) and will select a winner soon, so stay tuned!
Jaff Schatz, in his study of the generation of Polish Jewish Communists born around 1910, reports that some of them (with the retrospective perspicacity of political disgrace and ethnic exile) considered their Marxist education to have been primarily Jewish in style. “The basic method was self-study, supplemented by tutoring by those more advanced. Thus, they read and discussed, and if they could not agree on the meaning of a text, or when issues proved too complicated, they asked for the help of an expert whose authoritative interpretation was, as a rule, accepted.” The mentors were more experienced, erudite, and inventive interpreters of texts. “Those who enjoyed the highest respect knew large portions of the classical texts almost by heart. In addition, those more advanced would frequently be able to quote from memory statistical data, for example, on the production of bread, sugar, or steel before and after the October Revolution, to support their analyses and generalizations… . ‘We behaved like yeshiva bokhers and they like rabbis,’ one respondent summed up.”
hi. there's only so many times I can reread Queen's Thief and not die waiting for the next book. tell me there are other series I can die for meanwhile???
God I feel you anon, I feel you. Let’s see… @shaelit did a rec list for people suffering from withdrawal symptoms, and while I don’t know a single one of the books mentioned there I do trust Shae’s taste, so give that a try! As for books I know…
If you’re looking for someone as ruthlessly manipulative and absolutely brilliant as Gen, against a backdrop of politics and exile, you could try Finnikin of the Rock. As far as I know it’s a series, though my library only had the first book and I ended up never finding the rest. I have only faint, hazy memories of this book, other than falling in love with the cunning schemer, so let me know what it’s like if you read it!
For characters to fall in love with and the weight of being mythical in your own time, I suggest E. Jade Lomax’sLeagues and Legendsseries, starting with Beanstalk. You can read these books free on the author’s website! Or if you like you can order paperback versions for… I don’t remember exactly, but it’s a very reasonable price. It’s kind of hard to come up with a blurb that does these books justice, to be honest, but suffice to say the first book’s tagline is “the adventures of a Jack of All Tales.” Click the links for more, see if it’s up your creek. (You could also check out the author’s stuff on ao3 if you enjoy being brought to tears by beautiful prose.)
For intricate plotting, complex worldbuilding, and edge-of-your-seat tension born not from action scenes but from characters’ conflicting goals, you could go for the Split Worldsseries. These feature family politics to rival Game of Thrones, Fae Lords of the terrifying kind, and intriguing new forms of sorcery involving gargoyles and dislocated souls.
This last one isn’t really very similar to Queen’s Thief at all, but it does have some nice quasi-historical worldbuilding and characters who grow more distant and more mythical as the books progress, even as you meet more and more characters to fall in love with. The Squire’s Tales are Arthurian legend told from the inside, from the perspective of someone who wouldn’t have been the hero in the stories that got told. It’s a great way to get into Arthurian legend, or if you already love the tales of Camelot it’s a great new take on a lot of the stories you’ll be familiar with. (I suggest starting with the first two books and ending with the last two, but all the middle ones can be read in any order.)
In 1903, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Sergei Iulevich Witte, remarked to Theodor Herzl that Jews comprised nearly half of the membership of revolutionary parties, even though they were only six million people in a nation of 136 million. If Witte exaggerated, he did so only slightly.
From 1901 to 1903, Jews composed 29.1 percent (2,269 individuals) of those arrested for political crimes. From March 1903 to November 1904 more than half of those investigated for political activity were Jews (53 percent). This fact can most easily be explained as a reaction to the Kishinev and Homel pogroms. In 1905, Jews made up 34 percent of all political prisoners; of those exiled to Siberia, 37 percent were Jews. […] The number of Jews who were Social Democrats exceeded the number of Russians (according to police data) in both the southwestern (49.4 percent to 41.8 percent) and southern territories (51.3 percent to 44.2 percent). They also comprised the lion’s share of those under investigation in Odessa (75.1 percent Jews versus 18.7 percent Russians). […] Without a doubt, the Bund, the largest revolutionary party in Russia, contained the largest numbers of Jews involved in criminal political activity. In the summer of 1904, the Bund could claim 23,000 members; in 1905–7, 34,000. […] For comparison’s sake, in the beginning of 1905, the entire Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (RSDRP) consisted of approximately 8,400 members. There was also significant Jewish representation in the Russian revolutionary parties and organizations. During the time of the 1905 revolution, approximately 15 percent of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party (PSR) was Jewish, and there were a number of “maximalist and anarchist terrorist groups that were almost entirely Jewish.” […] At the Fifth Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party in London in 1907, nearly a third of the delegates were Jewish.
At the same time, however, it must be noted that regardless of the extent of Jewish participation in Russian or Jewish revolutionary parties, Jewish revolutionaries comprised a minute portion of the general Russian population, as well as an extremely small percentage of Russian Jewry. In the perception of the typical Russian resident—from the lumpenproletariat to the intelligentsia—the role of Jews in revolutionary activity was greater than it actually was. A typical example can be found in a joke from the satirical liberal journal Vampir from the 1905–7 revolutionary period. Though of limited wit, it is nevertheless telling. It reads, “Warsaw. Eleven anarchists were shot in the fortress prison. Of these, 15 were Jews.”
Oleg Budnitskii, Russian Jews Between the Reds and the Whites, 1917-1920
Answering that anon made me remember how much insane variety there is in classic Who companions. Like, I’m not knocking new Who for its desire to ground the show through the companions. It’s probably necessary for making the show nowadays. But let’s take a second to appreciate how few fucks the classic Who producers gave. There was…
a genius astrophysicist from the future with perfect memory
a warrior from a primitive society that developed on another planet after the Doctor fucked up real bad one time
a stuck up time lady
a boy genius mathmetician from another reality
an alien aristocrat whose dad’s body was stolen by the Master in her first story and he. just. kept it?
an exiled political prisoner from another world pretending to be a school boy and who’s being manipulated by the avatar of all evil
a shape-shifting robot that the Master found on another planet that the Doctor reprograms and then everyone just forgets about until the Master shows up again (oh and the Master is still running around in that one girl’s dad’s body by the way)
a perfectly ordinary teen who just happened to swept up in time storm and transported to another planet in the far future and starts waiting tables there all as part of the plan of yet another cosmic evil in its ongoing chess match with the Doctor
reblog if you love freedom and liberty and think marx shouldn’t have been a political exile from a bunch of countries all because he was a communist. reblog if you think communists should be able to openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.
What do you think America would be like had Hamilton not died?
At the time of his death, Hamilton was already wandering in the political wilderness, his political career effectively over and he seeked a private life. But I think he still had great contributions to make in two areas. At the time of the duel, he was projecting a series of volumes on the history of political institutions, and he said that those books would be to the Federalist Papers what wine was to water- of course we will never get to read them. Also he was one of the prominent lawyers of his day, so I think he would have gone on to argue major cases and write distinguished briefs. He would have continued to matter, even as he remained in political exile even if not many people liked to listen to him anymore.
Had he lived, the Adams clan, as John Quincy Adams was rising politically by this point, would have had the relative moral sway to basically expel Hamilton from the Federalist Party, leaving the Federalists’ path to doom with the secessionist Hartford Convention left unchanged from the OT. Likewise, a marginalized Hamilton would have been swept aside in the Clay/War Hawk-led rush to war against Hamilton’s favored British Empire in 1812, again leaving the OT unchanged.
Had Hamilton lived, he likely would have had sway in establishing a national bank and allowing for more government intervention in favor of business. The Whigs of the 1830s and 1840s and the the Republican Party post-1850 were strongly influenced by Hamilton’s economic doctrine and so, his economic policy legacy continued despite him having died in the duel.
While it is likely, if he would of run (although it is most likely he wouldn’t of) he had a good chance of becoming President of the United States instead of James Madison, restoring the Federalists to the White House and breaking the streak of Democratic-Republican party dominance. Hamilton’s likely policies would have firmly established the U.S. National Bank and avoided the War of 1812, thus depriving Andrew Jackson of the famous victories that elected him and led to the bank’s dismantling. The failure of Andrew Jackson to become President would have dramatically affected the development of what is now the Democratic Party.
I think it’s important to note and interesting that I can’t recall it being mentioned in discussions on Wufei that his colony, L5-A0205, was going to be the colony they dropped in the original Operation Meteor.
Let that sink in.
It was Wufei’s home they were going to drop on Earth.
I think this a wildly huge factor in understanding Wufei and his motivations/actions. So let’s get all up in this shit.
(also just an fyi, all of what I say is based off of the english dub at this time, since I’m finding it hard to find subs that don’t feel like they’re dub script subs.)
The most popular pair of brothers from the Minamoto Clan in Japanese folklore with their tragic tale told from generation to generation are Yoritomo and Yoshitsune. And they might have left the most significant mark on Higekiri and Hizamaru, for the distance between them while serving under the Saniwa. Higekiri’s master is Minamoto no Yoritomo, who was sent alone faraway as an exile in his youth after his family was executed due to defeat in the previous rebellion. Yoritomo was a shrewd politician and shogun manoeuvring the course of history in his favour despite overwhelming odds against him, resilient against setbacks and remarkable with his foresight in turning the tables on his political enemies. Higekiri inherited the amiable and charming facade from Yoritomo, presenting smiles to his enemies while crouching for the right moment to strike. Hizamaru went to Yoritomo’s younger brother Yoshitsune, who was a beautiful warrior with a slender build, fast and nimble with his sword. Yoshitsune was a cunning strategist famous for using radical tactics when his enemies least expected, headstrong and free-spirited yet humble to his brother. Hizamaru was influenced by the chivalry and sincerity of the warrior, though occasionally blunt in nature.
Shortly before the era of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, the twin swords Higekiri and Hizamaru were split from each other. Higekiri stayed in the Minamoto household with current head Tameyoshi, while Hizamaru left for Kumano. Higekiri only had the replica of Hizamaru, Kogarasu, by his side as a replacement for the warmth of his real brother. That was the start of the split in the Minamoto Clan even if it at the same time opened up the path to the height of power of the samurai in Japan. In 1156, the simmering power struggle in the Imperial Court led to open hostilities where the Emperor sought to control the influence of the Fujiwara regents, and the Minamoto Clan was mobilized during the military conflict. However, contrary to common belief that they will fight together as a faction, Tameyoshi and his son Yoshitomo each picked a different side whom they acknowledged as their leader and sought to destroy each other. Both of the Minamotos chose power over blood kins, and the battlefield did not allow for bonds familial ties as they fought against each other. Tameyoshi was executed by his son who won the war against him and Yoshitomo inherited Higekiri and Kogarasu, while Go-Shirakawa secured his position as Emperor.
The samurai class grew in power in Japanese politics as the Emperors increasingly relied on the military house for securing their position. Yoshitomo paid a huge price even slaying his own clan to protect Emperor Go-Shirakawa, who repaid him by seeing his growing influence as a threat and refused his requests for higher ranking in the court, while rewarding the Minamoto’s rival samurai clan the Taira instead. This brewing discontent eventually led to the Heiji Rebellion(1160) where Yoshitomo rebelled against the Imperial court but was quickly put down by Taira no Kiyomori. As Yoshitomo sensed that his end was near, he prayed to the guardian god of warriors and the Minamoto Clan, Hachiman, grieving for the god had abandoned his clan. Hachiman appeared in Yoshitomo’s dream, advising him to rename Tomokiri, the current name of Higekiri, back to his first name Higekiri. The god revealed that the numerous renamings of Higekiri had weakened the power of the blade. Yoshitomo immediately reverted Higekiri back to his original name in an attempt to restore the Minamoto clan back to its former glory where it had yet to be plagued by inner turmoil. However, that did not stop Yoshitomo’s defeat at the hands of Taira no Kiyomori and it sparked another wave of executions against the Minamoto Clan, leaving only 3 out of Yoshitomo’s 9 sons alive.
Yoritomo was the eldest son of Yoshitomo, while Yoshitsune was the youngest. Higekiri was entrusted to Yoritomo during the Heiji Rebellion. But as he foresaw the defeat of the Minamoto Clan, he hid Higekiri in Atsuta Shrine to avoid surrendering the family treasure to the Taira, as became the fate of Kogarasu(Hizamaru’s replica) who was taken by the Taira. The 13-year-old Yoritomo was captured by Taira no Kiyomori and was nearly executed but Kiyomori’s aunt took pity on the boy and plead for his release. Yoritomo was exiled to the backwaters of Izu province instead under the spying eyes of the local clans of Hojo and Itou.
Although Yoritomo was a political exile with watchful guardians who were more like his jail keepers, he was not one to passively allow fate to control, he would be the one to take charge and change his destiny. With his natural charm and looks, Yoritomo seduced both of the daughters of Itou and Hojo, the former was furious about the liaison and Yoritomo sought shelter from Hojo Tokimasa who agreed to the marriage of his daughter Masako to Yoritomo. With the backup from the local power, the Hojo Clan, Yoritomo planned for his strike back against the Taira and reassert glory of the Minamoto. Meanwhile, Yoshitsune was sent to the temple of Mount Kurama but refused to be caged in the life of a monk, he mastered the art of swordsmanship from a legendary Tengu and studied military tactics, hoping that one day he would be reunited with his brother. In 1180, the Genpei War erupted with the Emperor’s call to arms of the Minamoto Clan to rebel against the arrogant and tyrannical Taira Clan. At this signal, Yoritomo decided that the time was right for his entrance into the game of thrones.
Higekiri and Hizamaru were each safely kept away in their sheaths elsewhere during the disturbances, awaiting the day that the brothers of Minamoto would grow to become the rightful heirs and become fit to reclaim their family treasures to lead the clan to victory.
Hi there! I'm taking Italian right now, and we can get extra credit by watching Italian language films and reviewing them. I really love mysteries and horror (but things like comedy or romance are also good), and I was wondering if you had any recommendations? The only stipulation is that they have to be completely in Italian. Thanks!
OK THIS IS MY TIME TO SHINE.
I love getting asks like these and I LOVE italian cinema you can guess that by my tag about italian cinema.
@iamartemisday I’m publishing this because someone might be interested in this.
So ok, Italian cinema suffers from the fact that we lack the economic resources hollywood has, so we almost never have ‘genre’ cinema. Such as Horror movies or action movies, because they are generally expensive and are more nieche than production house can allow themselves to invest into. I’ll see what I can find. I’ll post a bit of genre we cover, even though you might not be interested BUT we italian do not span a lot in terms of cinematic stuff. We tend to stick to single types of movies.
I’m not a great connoisseur of horror and I know it was great only in the 70es and 80es. so we’re talking old school here. I can name a few movies that have reached cult status here:
But yeah, it’s not our most prolific genre. I can’t think of anything else (I know @janiedean is better versed than me in horror genre.)
Mysteries is something we’re indeed more in tune with. We like our mystery novels and mystery series. Super weird thing to know, we call the genre ‘Giallo’, which means literally ‘yellow’, if you’re curious as to why I explained it here. (it’s weird and kinda cool). It’s more like… detective stuff than full on mystery/thriller.
First thing I recommend it’s not a movie but a tv show with episodes that are movie-long. I know the books were translated and the tv show was shown on the bbc with english subtitles so I’m sure it’s easy to find at least a couple of episodes: Il Commissario Montalbano. Ok he’s a detective in a really small sea-side city in sicily and there’s this great atmosphere and cinematography (despite being for tv) and it’s a love note to sicily and its inhabitants. here a trailer with eng subs. Really we have a fandom for this. I have fanart with montalbano eating caponata. We also once made a series of posts about a wonderful Montalbano/Captain america crossover which is… frankly a thing of beauty. You get TONS of stuff even by watching this one only by the way.
What we are REALLY big on is mafia movies. Which are usually completely different from hollywood movies about mafia. If you’re interested in a different perspective:
I Cento Passi di Marco Tullio Giordana. It’s about Peppino Impastato, who in the 70es who had a radio broadcast and was killed by mafia. It focuses a lot on the period when no one still talked about it. And it’s a really amazing movie if you ask me
La mafia uccide solo d’estate by Pif. This one is a dark commedy but I’m not 100% sure it can be understood if you don’t know all the history around that. It’s about a kid who lives in palermo and lives his life and COMPLETELY MISSES all the gigantic stuff that happens around him related to mafia. You sort of need to at least know names like Dalla Chiesa or Borsellino and Falcone to actually know what this kid is missing out… So I’m not sure. but it’s fun though. and his personal history is a romantic comedy
Gomorrah by Matteo Garrone is super crude. Trailer here It’s about the modern neapolitan mafia and it’s a novelization from Roberto Saviano’s book about the methods of Camorra (the neapolitan mafia). The movie won at cannes but they made a tv series after that and I have yet to watch it but almost everyone I know say it’s better than the movie: here english trailer
Romanzo Criminale by Michele Placido is about a band of criminals who run rampant here in rome called “la banda della Magliana” in the 70es and had tons of political connections. This is another movie where the tv series is actually better than the original…?! I know it makes no sense for me either. I have a special love for this one mostly because I’m from Magliana and everything is set in my neighborhood.
Realistic stuff - drama - neorealism
Ok so what we’re really great with is neo-realism and realistic shit. So we talk a lot about class. and class struggles. and more class. The first and the one who basically made history of cinema (you might find his works in the criterion collection) is Vittorio De Sica. He’s amazing. Bring tissues.
Ladri di Biciclette is his absolute masterpiece. It’s about a guy who just found a job after months and months of searching but as soon as he gets it his bicycle get stolen, and the bicycle is the most important thing to have for this job. So he starts looking for it, with his son.
Umberto D. is about a retired guy and his debt and his dog. it’s terrible. that fucking dog. makes me cry every time.
Sciuscià is about two kids who work as shoe-shiners
La Ciociara is I believe the first dramatic role for Sophia Loren (she mostly worked comedies before then). it’s about a woman trying to shield her daughter from the horrors of war (WWII)
Matrimonio all’italiana is slightly more cheerful. just a bit tho. based on the play ‘filumena marturano’ by Eduardo De Filippo it’s about a prostitute who tries to set her 3 sons, economically. she has a way, she tells a rich old client of hers, Domenico, that one of the 3 children is his son, but she won’t tell him which one.
Roberto Rossellini. is another neo-realist director. so expect tears here as well.
Roma Città aperta is the absolute masterpiece of italian cinema. Stories about the resistance in Rome during WWII
Paisà is a multi-episode movie about stories during WWII
I can go on with this stuff for HOURS but you didn’t ask for drama, so some romantic drama stuff can be:
Il Gattopardo which is a cinematographic masterpiece look at this set. Is based during the time of italian’s unification, in the sicilian nobility and its problems trying to adequate themselves to new times
Il Postino it’s completely fictional but about Pablo Neruda when he spent a period in exile for political reasons. he didn’t spend it in italy but who cares. It’s about his friendship with a shy postman. Makes me cry every fucking time mostly because it ends in a way it wasn’t supposed to end because the main actor died a couple of weeks before filming ended and he was a really great beloved actor here in italy.
Nuovo Cinema paradiso is another splendid one about sicily and the life in a small city and dreaming about cinema….
Life is beautiful This is technically a comedy but it’s bittersweet and really a drama. It’s about a father who tries to shield his son and make up stories about the horror of the holocaust while being in a concentration camp with him. It won three academy awards btw.
and now that I look at my recs those aren’t even ‘romantic’ in the sense of boy meet girl… they just have that romantic feeling about it….
Old school comedies are something that really work well still this day:
I soliti ignoti by Mario Monicelli might be right there on top of my fave chart right beside some like it hot. it’s a heist movie. if we can call it that. Such an heist.
Il Marchese del Grillo talks about a marquis who spend his life playing practical jokes on pretty much everyone, from the lowest poor guy to the pope himself.
Benvenuti al sud is nice. it makes fun of stereotypes between north and south italy, it must be peculiar to watch it from an external perspective.
Non ci resta che piangere. Time travel commedy…?! it’s about two guys who finds themselves in 1400 (almost 1500!) and they decide to sto columbus to find america because one of the character’s sister had her heart broken by an american and if america is never discovered she won’t suffer, won’t she? makes tons of sense.
Ok this is weird from such a catholic country but we have those.
Una Giornata particolare by Ettore Scola with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It’s about the day Hitler came in visit in Rome, everyone is out the street and the palace where the story is set is empty except for this desperate lower class housewife and this intellectual who’s about to be deported to sardinia for being gay
Le fate ignoranti Antonia’s husband just died when she finds out he had a lover, so she decides to seek her out. Except that her late husband lover is Michele, a guy who works at the farmer’s market and she get sucked in this lovely community of friends.
La finestra di fronte is basically food porn from end to finish. I’m not even sure how to talk about it. it’s about gay bakers in fascist era. this one’s kinda sad.
Magnifica presenza is about this wannabe actor who lend a REALLY CHEAP HOUSE only to find out it’s infested by the ghosts of a company of 1930es theatre actors. still a lgbt movie btw. Also really funny.
Mine Vaganti talks about this southern family from a really closed off little city. One day one Tommaso gets back from Rome and tells his brother Antonio he wants to come out with his family. at dinner. Bad Idea. So Antonio decides to come out first and since that fuss at the dinner table made and Tommaso is stuck with his family, playing hetero.
I’m going to fit in here Il Giovane Favoloso as well. fight me. Leopardi/Ranieri OTP and I’m sure the director thought it as well. This is about one of our most beloved literature figures. I’m sure it will get you plenty of points in class btw. Leopardi was a poet from the 19th century, he was really sick and spent his whole life studying in his father’s library. Also this really isn’t a lgbt movie BUT WATCH IT AND THEN TELL ME IF THERE WASN’T SOMETHING THERE. I’ve been saying that since high school.
Yeah well, APPARENTLY. but a single one unfortunately.
Last year a movie came out that was……? I don’t know, celebrated as the return of italian cinema to ‘genre’ and won like every single movie prize you can win here in italy and venice and frankly you can ask anyone who saw it they’ll tell you that’s better than anything marvel have done until now and they better step up their game.
Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot by Gabriele Mainetti. If you need a reference is much more on the lines of netflix’s superheroes. It’s heavily contextualized in Rome and its really poor neighborhoods and the main character is a porn-addict low level thief who fall into the river Tiber where radioactive waste were in and comes out with superpowers. And the villain is another low level drug kingpin wannabe with tons of monetary problem and who want to make it big. After failing to be a pop star (THIS is the villain ok? I love him. he has SO MANY PROBLEMS)
So, what you can understand now from italian cinema: we like dramas. and mafia stuff. and lots of drama. Which maybe it’s not what you prefer but I hope I’ve given you enough movies to choose something.
I was also a tiny bit stopped by practical stuff like “will you be able to find it subbed in english?” and several comedies couldn’t be listed because they are very untranslatable and would fall flat for international audiences…
And I didn’t even cover the political shit. that a whole other can of worms I won’t subject you to…. I’ll wait for @janiedean‘s reply on horror stuff.
this is apparently what happens when you say you’re not going to do a thing and do something else. You do the other thing, but then something else entirely creeps in and steals your sleep.
Omega!Hux is large and in charge and don’t you ever forget it. Or trans as you prefer it- I just kind of adore the General as creator and destroyer in one.
Mitaka trails behind him, taking notes and praying it doesn’t all fall to chaos as soon as the General goes on leave (too late). Kylo is in polite exile while everyone else gets to occasionally pat the tummy. Phasma has the inside track on all the scans and is set to win a hefty sum when the betting pools come due.