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Showing posts from February, 2006

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Based on a book by Thornton Wilder (author of Our Town), this film is about five people who die when a bridge collapses, and a Franciscan monk who investigates their deaths for evidence of God's design, uncovering their secrets and connections with each other along the way. It takes place in Peru in the early 1700s. It's weird to see European culture in Peru--I mean, of course the Catholic church was everywhere and has been for a long time, but the huge, ornate European-style buildings and carriages and clothes and wigs--did they have to bring those? But I guess I can't blame the Church for that, or not exclusively. Of course this was Spain in Peru, so it was probably an unholy marriage of Church and State, and in that case, I can blame the Church. Anyway, it was pretty interesting, although it took a while for me to figure out what was happening. A lot of great actors (Gabriel Byrne, Robert de Niro, Kathy Bates, F. Murray Abraham), but some of them seemed like they were…

Candide by Voltaire

I've read Candide before, but I thought I might get more out of it this time around. I don't know if I did, though. Voltaire is brilliantly funny, of course. And I think I understood the historical context a little better this time. From what I've read recently about Candide, it wasn't so much Leibniz's philosophy ("this is the best of all possible worlds") he was making fun of as it was the general understanding of that philosophy. And one follower of Leibniz in particular, Christian Wolff, simplified his philosophy excessively, and this is what Voltaire was responding to. That's just what I've read recently. So I got more of the historical stuff this time, but not that much more. I wish I had an annotated edition that would just tell me what he's referring to. Like the part where he said someone committed a murder, not like the murder of May of 1610, but like that of December 1594. What is he talking about? I don't know, and my five mi…