Friday, November 28, 2003


Watched Ken Loach's "Sweet Sixteen" last night.

Martin Compston is great as delinquent Liam, waiting desperately for the release of his mother Jean (Michelle Coulter) from prison, maintaining good opinion of her despite much evidence to the contrary.

Locale: Greenock in Scotland, overun by junkies, but still in beautiful area overlooking North Atlantic coast.

Liam often on verge of redeeming himself, but circumstances keep dragging him down.

Thought it was a great film. Not exactly uplifting, but inspiring in depicting innocence that endures in miserable hopeless world.

Touches similar issue to Tim Blake Nelson's "The Grey Zone." Some times there are only choices between bad options. Hard to judge someone, when you haven't been in their place.

In "Grey Zone," Sonderkommandos are forced to operate Auschwitz gas chambers and crematoria, and they like Liam are trying to survive with their innocence intact.

Watched Andrej Wajda's Korczak Sunday night. Story of doctor who ran Jewish orphanage, even after all its children were transported to Warsaw Ghetto and then to death camp. Well acted. Depressing.

On his website, Wajda writes that the initial reaction to his film in 1990 at Cannes was a standing ovation.

"By the next morning," he writes, "the review in Le Monde had tranformed me into an anti-Semite, and none of the major film distributors would agree to circulate the film outside Poland. My good intentions were useless."

In any case, Best Video has the New Yorker Films video release.