What a terrible time. I think people are feeling it from all over the world.
Here is an excerpt from Bergman’s oft-quoted essay “The Snakeskin”:
“There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by
lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all
points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they
began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the
building was completed ? master builders, artists, labourers, clowns,
noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one
knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres.
The artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God. ‘Eternal
values,’ ‘immortality’ and ‘masterpiece’ were terms not applicable in his
case. The ability to create was a gift.
Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be,
I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the
great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil ? or perhaps
a saint ? out of stone.
Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I
would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.”
I honestly can’t think of anything more to say or add to this…....
Having been led to believe it was a movie call, Douglas showed up at the Hal Roach Ranch for what in reality was a free fall party for MGM film salesmen. Douglas was one of 120 girls (most underage) who were lured there. They were dressed in revealing cowgirl outfits and more or less offered up as ?party favors? to the conventioneers. David Ross, a conventioneer from Chicago, forced liquor down Patricia Douglas?s throat and proceeded to beat and rape her. Douglas tried to complain and seek help, but to no avail. No one would listen or believe her. She took the bold step (particularly considering attitudes of the time) and took the case to court. She was humiliated and smeared terribly by the studio who tried to portray her as a tramp, alcoholic and party girl. The story become front page news and even took precedence in the headlines over the sudden death of Jean Harlow and the marriage of King Edward to divorcee Wallace Simpson.
Then MGM proceeded with highly effective damage control by buying off Patricia?s mother and her attorney. Their efforts practically erased this entire event from the pages of history. Patricia Douglas vanished from sight. When questioned about it in later years, MGM?s Eddie Mannix said, ?We had her killed.?
David Stenn first learned of the case while he was researching his book on Jean Harlow. He spent 10 years researching Patricia Douglas and her case and trying to uncover the truth. He presents rare archival footage, film clips and interviews that are compelling and at times even shocking when placed in the proper context. He gives the audience solid historical perspective on how secrets, lies and hypocrisy impacted Hollywood from the top stars on down.
The title of the film derives its name from the roster of girls who were at the party. Patricia Douglas was ?Girl 27? on the list.
About half way through the film, we finally meet Patricia Douglas. She has a commanding voice and an arresting presence. She is surprisingly sharp and articulate. In spite of what Eddie Mannix claimed, she is alive and living as a recluse in an apartment in Las Vegas. The film tells two interwoven stories of both Patricia?s terrible ordeal and of David Stenn?s search for the truth about the events surrounding it. Even though she is reluctant, Patricia Douglas finally opens up and tales her story. In doing so, she seems set free and vindicated. Through it all, Patricia and David form a close bond that seems almost like an unconventional love story.
Girl 27 is a haunting, compelling and powerful documentary that will stay with you long after the final credits.
SWEETLAND is one of those hidden gems. This film was made independently by first time director Ali Selim for a mere $1 million dollars, which is chump change by Hollywood standards. SWEETLAND was a hit on the festival circuit and won the Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Feature.” The DVD features extras including a “making of” featurette along with director and star commentaries.
It is now available on DVD and really deserves to be discovered!
Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) is a feisty German mail-order bride who has come to Minnesota to marry Olaf (Tim Guinee), a young Norwegian immigrant farmer of few words. But in a post-WWI, anti-German climate, the local minister (John Heard) openly forbids the marriage. Inge and Olaf fall in love despite the town’s disapproval. But when the town banker (Ned Beatty) attempts to foreclose on the farm of his friend Frandsen (Alan Cumming), Olaf takes a stand…and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own.
Watch the trailer and visit and official website!
See what the critics are saying:
“Demonstrating a mastery of the medium, writer-director Selim has crafted a tale of pure Americana that speaks both to the immigrant experience and the nature of love. Reaser breathes fire into (her) character.”
-Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
“A visually indelible movie that’s a grand dream of the American past. Sweet Land is a movie of extraordinary tenderness.”
-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“A gorgeously realized romance.”
-Rob Nelson, Village Voice
“Sweet Land celebrates a gutsy, old-fashioned sort of love, which Mr. Selim lovingly presents in scene after scene of glorious 35-millimeter images.”
-Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
”**** (Highest Rating)! A beautifully shot, sweetly crafted, finely acted film. Elizabeth Reaser is breathtakingly spot-on. Tim Guinee is wonderfully understated.”
-Clint O’Connor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A small, nearly perfect gem of a movie…don’t miss it.”
-Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer-Press
“Sweet Land is brave and touchingly executed cinematic storytelling that explores the lives of these immigrants with extraordinary insight.”
-Prairie Miller, WBAI Arts Magazine