Thursday, April 18, 2002

Entertainment Tonight - As a reward for doing something productive at work, I received a $50 gift certificate from back in January. It took me a while, but I finally got around to ordering something from Amazon. The package containing a book and a movie arrived on Tuesday.

Jenny and I finished watching Wong Kai-Wai's In the Mood For Love tonight. This was probably my favorite movie from Hong Kong over the past 5 years. I've virtually stopped watching American films after seeing recent garbage from Hollywood like "The Cider House Rules" and "The Royal Tennenbaums". Jenny was mezmerized by all the extra bells and whistles that came with the DVD. We saw at least 30 minutes of footage from scenes that were deleted from the final version of the movie. Inserting any one of those scenes would have totally changed my impression of the film. I'm glad the movie ended the way it did.

Last night, I finished reading The Sergeant in the Snow, by Mario Rigoni Stern. This book was written by an Italian Army veteran of the Russian Front, circa 1942-43, who escaped encirclement outside of Stalingrad. I ordered the book after reading "Enemy at the Gates", another book about Stalingrad that was made into a shitty movie last year. Read this book if you can. It's only 105 pages long, but is gripping beyond belief. Let me know if you want to borrow it.

Mental Footnote: Yesterday I read an newspaper account of the recent Israeli-Palestinian clash at the Jenin refugee camp--I think it was the New York Times. The author actually tried to compare the Jenin battle--where at least 13 Israeli solders and perhaps a hundred Palestinians died--to Stalingrad. Rigoni and others would understand that this comparison is ludicrous. Over 90,000 Italians, 300,000 Germans, 200,000 Rumanians and Hungarians, and at least 700,000 Russians died at Stalingrad. I think the writer is a Harvard graduate (Nicholas Kristof, perhaps?).


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