Like many of today’s historical films, Mysteries of Lisbon is long (very long). Before investing four and a half hours in a movie, it might be an idea to read a review or two. After I invested my four and a half hours, ideas for reviews kept invading my head. But there are so many things to talk about, the director’s style, the actors, the camera work that one observer called “unobtrusive”, the level of history, it was hard to settle on something.
Sure, I could write a PhD thesis, researching the director’s life and speculating how that influenced the production, but I’m not interested in that. Instead, I’ll answer the two questions I think every reviewer should answer. Did I like the movie? And, how do my readers know if they’ll like it? Continue reading “Mysteries of Lisbon: A historical film.”
As the EU wins the Nobel Peace Prize, we are reminded of a time when Europe was the site of many deadly wars.
Many institutions, from NATO to the UN, have claimed responsibility for the relative peace in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Can any of these claims be substantiated, or are they all special interests trying to make excuses for their hefty expense accounts? Continue reading “Why is western Europe at peace?”
I don’t know when the first University was established in the United States. That’s not because I’m too lazy to find out, it’s because different colleges claim the title. So, rather than nitpick over names and dates, I’ll tell a few stories from history that illustrate the worth of University, and how its meaning has changed.
Did you know that both Chinatown and Shawshank Redemption were inspired by President Nixon? That’s what the “making of” documentation said. I didn’t get that the first time I watched either of those films, and I wonder if the cinema audience did. Perhaps I should ask some of my older relatives about it.
What I did get, after watching “Avatar” was one older-than-me man saying “that’s about Iraq.” Yes, I “knew” that too. But, the youngest school kids in the audience didn’t have that impression. To them, it was only about blue people.
The Regent and his two sons – meeting with their state secretary and top ministers – have just received the news that Napoleon’s troops have definitely been expelled from Portugal. That means that there is no longer a valid reason for the court to remain in Brazil.
French history buffs are planning their own theme park to compete with Disneyland, and honour France’s best known soldier. Napoleonland will bring history to life, in ways that could even make fans of “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer” blush with embarrassment.
Et alors, can pure amusement be educational? It worked for King Arthur’s Labyrinth in Wales, and that’s History. Or, it’s a story.
39-year-old History teacher Josh Hoeska had a great idea. His sixteen-year-old students were to hold a tournament to find out who was the greatest examples of courage in American “history.” The two finalists involved events that happened in 2001 and 2005.
In other words, their “history” was the Presidency of George Bush Jr. Most people over thirty might think that these kids were learning current events, and not history.
On CNN, Timothy Stanely compared Bush Junior to Harry Truman. Both Presidents left office with low approval ratings, both supposedly fought what seemed like unpopular wars (Truman in Korea, Bush in Iraq), yet both had “a gentle, honest personality that voters looked back on with fondness.”