RARA-AVIS: Re: 3 recent noir movies

From: Shannon Clute ( clute@noircast.net)
Date: 25 Feb 2008

I want to thank Dave Z. for the three recent neo-noir titles, and reviews. I'm always looking for good recent films with a noir feeling or style, and I'll have to check theses out. I also fell compelled to answer your question about Belgium, and respond to the following comments that came up later in that strand:
"Belgians are almost as silly as the Serb, Croats, Slovenians...etc...and reproducing alienated patterns of behaviour through their punny nasty internal wars, bitchin┬╣, separations, mass murders, brings outward animosity for them....is that your question???" For the record, I'm a huge fan of Belgium, have spent many years of my life there, so I'm not unbiased. But I think think this description is pretty rough. Belgium was created as a buffer zone between French and Holland, which just couldn't get along. A bunch of diplomats, sitting over in England, decided to lop off a piece from each of these enemy nations, and stick the enemies together inside a new country. I would argue that what Belgians have achieved is amazing: no, the Flemish and the Walloons don't like one another, but they've managed to function. In fact, they've managed to thrive, and become not only a viable modern economy, but the political fulcrum of Europe. Which is precisely why so many other countries dislike them. Once you realize you've been beaten on all fronts by a smaller, more culturally-divided country that had no right succeeding, your only option is to attack that country on false grounds, or just display unfounded bigotry towards it. As the films you mention demonstrate, most of Europe has arrived at that point of bigotry (which is thinly-veiled jealousy).

Is this fit for Rara-Avis? Maybe, maybe not. I can say I want to see the movies that inspired this diatribe. I can also say that there is a lot about the history of Belgium that would make for good noir, and that comments like this about Belgium (or for that matter, many other countries) make me contemplate dark crimes! I might also add that, despite appearances from this email, I would like to keep the list more focused on noir film and literature. That would help us all avoid the sort of flag-waving I've just felt compelled to undertake.

Shannon Clute www.noircast.net

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