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S. D'Anconia "shonstar@hotmail.com" (Toronto, Canada)
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Alphaville
Alphaville
DVD ~ Eddie Constantine
4 used & new from CDN$ 50.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eternal Theme of the Individual VS The State, Jan. 1 2004
This review is from: Alphaville (DVD)
It should not surprise anyone that a film from Jean-Luc Godard will invariably attract the usual assortment of Post-Modernist, ethically and politically retarded, anti-Western afficionados. Some of that can be seen in the reviews for this film, both on this page and throughout the Internet. The truth however, is that while Godard was a borderline socialist and critical of the supposed decadence of "America", he was more of a heroic individualist than anything else and his pre-1970 films all demonstrate this fact.
Alphavile is without a doubt, his greatest achievement and it is a work that speaks of an artistic sensibility all but lost in the France of today, which is overun with rampant anti-intellectualism and a worship of un-reason.
Godard takes the Bogart-like "Lemmy Caution" character out of his former slew of 40/50's French spy thrillers and puts the very same character into a future where a technocratic dictatorship exists. In doing so, the very best idealism of American pulp-fiction is given back its soul by a French director, Godard, who truly was interested in the world of ideas.
This film not only shows why a totalitarian state must be destroyed, it also demonstrates some key philosophical concepts in the process. Through Godard, we learn that it is language that first must be assaulted before one can enslave man, then mathematics, then history and finally, the human mind itself. We can see parallels to this line of thinking through the world today and yet, how ironic that it is today's France that probably best embodies Godard's nightmare come to life (for a Western democracy of course).
The cinematography of Alphaville is superb, as is the musical score by Paul Misraki which is one of the finest I have experienced, for it reaches its crescendo with the most important line in the film, almost as an answer to a question. The theme of Alphaville is simple enough - the Individual against the State, but the soul of Alphaville reaches higher to a level where Man is sanctified against all intrusions on his life, liberty and happiness.
Anna Karina plays the part of the Ideal Woman still capable of feeling and understanding the value of love and that immortal word that may still one day save humanity - "I". It is a rare thing to find a work of art that speaks so eloquently to the sublime beauty of Man, Humanity and Individualism. Godard does this and more in Alphaville and for that, he should go down in history as one of Europe's finest artists.
Note - One would need to watch this film about 3 times to completely grasp every important nuance. Also, Anthem and 1984 are good reads along the same vain.

Foundation
Foundation
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.82
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Rational Science Fiction Saga, Dec 26 2003
This review is from: Foundation (Mass Market Paperback)
Recently, I picked up a copy of the first book in Issac Asimov's Foundation series, for which this review is written. I will not spoil the book in this review as some others have done.
The theme was quite interesting. Essentially, one man somewhat manipulates humanity into protecting its knowledge and creative abilities by setting them apart from the "masses", so that they can weather the coming dark ages. The great joke of this book is that Asimov almost makes it seem as if history is pushed forward by the "masses" themselves but in reality, his apparent humanism and rationality comes through as he shows that it is always the "individual" who in the end can save or destroy humanity.
If you are a man (or woman) who cares about how ideas move history, if you believe in the sanctity of the individual, if you love life, then this is a book for you.
Asimov is a man of reason and he shows it well throughout this first, in what I hope to be an excellent sci-fi series. Often times, contemporary authors infuse their lack of values into their books and characters, making one wonder who one should be rooting for. Asimov paints a clear picture of the values within man that make him worthy of praise (or not) - reason, justice and a love of life.
This book can proudly stand side by side with Ayn Rand's Anthem and Orwell's 1984 as a warning to society about the dangers of the "irrational" in all its glorious forms.

Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.25
159 used & new from CDN$ 0.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Read Atlas Shrugged and be changed, Dec 24 2003
The world is full of Ayn Rand haters, lovers, worshipers, apologists, and everything in between. And then there are those few that honestly respect her. I am such a man, for of all people in the history of ideas, Ayn Rand is deserving of respect and admiration.
The truth is that books like Atlas Shrugged demand quite a bit from their readers, more than most people can handle or give. But Ayn Rand never wanted to reach out to the masses. Rather, she focused her work towards the smallest minority on earth - the individual.
If you have a working brain and you care about ideas then you must do yourself a monumental favor and read Atlas Shrugged.
It is not easy nor is it simple. Everything that you know and believe may be questioned. But you will come away from the experience as either a better person or a furious one (or both, like me). Rand will hit you where it hurts with her passionate and truly brilliant story of what happens when the motor of the world stops.
I owe Ayn Rand quite a bit so let me tell you that if one can properly integrate one's life with her philosophy, one can experience a much happier existence than would otherwise be possible. Challenge yourself and buy Atlas Shrugged (oh, and watch how nervous people get when you pull her book out of your bag).
Just remember one thing, you don't need anyone's advice on integrating Rand's ideas. Do it on your own and live a happy life. Trying to please the 1000's of rand-fans and haters out there in the world will make you crazy. Ignore them. For the most part, Rand did too.

Designagent Km7: License to Design
Designagent Km7: License to Design
by Klaus Mai
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 34.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 16.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book, June 1 2001
His designs are the best that I have ever seen, period. This book is an inspiration to everyone who sees art as a concrete representation of one's core values. A love of existence and of everything that makes it great is prevalent on each page.
From japanese anime to techno to James Bond and back again, no worthy subject is left untouched.
Whether you are a designer or just a fan of image and art, this man knows his stuff. You should too.

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