Sunday, August 21, 2022

Reading 25

Alex Ross, "Laughter in the Dark," The New Yorker, August 15, 2022

Meet Ernst Lubitsch, the director's director, the director directors say invented modern Hollywood. He began his directorial work in Germany but as a German-Jew in fear of the rising regime, he immigrated to the United States before full-on autocratic Nazi rule. In good old Hollywood, he showcased many actors like Jimmy Stewart and inspired many directors like Billy Wilder. He is being talked about again for two reasons: for the sheer fact that he has been forgotten by the American public and because many of his old films have been restored and are being shown at New York's Museum of Modern Art. I've never seen a Lubitsch film. If I get the chance, I'll see one of his more famous ones tonight, called The Shop Around the Corner (1940).

Jane Hirschfield, "Manifest" (a poem), The New Yorker, August 15, 2022

The poem is a kind of prayer that whatever global disaster comes our way will leave us some opportunities for hope.

Franz Kafka, "The Metamorphosis" (Part 1), The Complete Stories of Kafka

20-something-year-old Gregor Samsa wakes up and discovers he's a beetle. But he's more worried about the fact that he woke up late and has missed the train into work. Then one of his bosses comes to the house and now Gregor's afraid to come out and have his parents and his boss see that he's a beetle because he fears he'll get fired. His family depends on him for a living. When he does come out, his father doesn't recognize him, the father grabbing up a cane and shooing his now beetle-son back into the bedroom.

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