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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on The Dancer Upstairs

    Subject: Re: The Dancer Upstairs
    Date: Mar 21, 2004
    Sender: AXPrevious | Next

    What's truly offoffoff here is Tanzer's review. Off mark, off focus, and completely off balance. Here is a movie - one of the first in a long time that prompted me to go through half a day of research on its origin and the political background after watching. Clearly, for a "timid"" film, this is not a bad achievement.

    It's admirable that Tanzer tries to raise awareness of the class struggle and racial inequalities that form the wider background of this movie. But the criticism that the movie was not sympathetic enough in showing the plight of the peasants is simply misdirected. The Dancer Upstairs is not a story of Good triumphing over Evil, but a portrayal of how decent men survive the unspeakable Evil around him while making the best of it, even improving things a bit at times. It is a refreshing departure from the usual bad-dictator-oppressed-mass-let's-rise-and-fight formula when it comes to this genre. It captures the essence of the dilemma of living in a Third World country in most parts of the globe better than many.

    The Shining Path movement may have had (and still have) a cause, just as Hitler's rise could partiallly find cause in the Treaty of Versaille and the effects of Depression and so on. But the fact that not many WWII classics offer such "full perspectives" seldom detracts from their worthiness. So the way Tanzer lashes out at the movie for not showing the fuller context of the movement is not warrented. In fact, as someone who was born and raised in Communist China, I was quite impressed with the ability of a Western director to pull off such-themed a film to powerfully resonate with me.

    If we must grossly politicize an otherwise superb film, then I'd say it is a powerful indictment of evil means carried out in the name of "good" ends. And this makes it relevant today.

    Previous: Re: The Dancer Upstairs | Next: Re: The Dancer Upstairs

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: The Dancer Upstairs



    Response to this comment:
    Re: The Dancer Upstairs

    It is the time for the audience to start educating itself on the variety of the methods of communication. This film was conveying so much visually: facial expressions, clothes, movement (last but definitely not least). Malkovich is undoubtedly a multidimensional artist, whose different media of expression can be combined in cinema (isn't it what makes cinematography so special after all). As regards language: English, Spanish, whatever. There are always closed captions for those who miss a line in a dialogue. I think, the fact that the actors speak English w/ Spanish accent makes this film more universal, as does the geographical imprecision.
    The mere idea of protest is what's important. No manifesto -- even more appealing. Each one of us covertly or overtly protests against something. So what if a power, a very aggressive and strong power, which has no name, no face and no clear political agenda, appears? It is the spirit of disagreement, of protest that we often identify with, or the power of such protest. Watch the movie again and listen to what Rejas hears from the indigenous villagers when he asks them about Ezequiel. There is an air of idolization in their words. Why?
    While we've been taught to think that knowledge/information is power, Malkovich's film makes us question the power of not knowing something.
    Tanzer's review seems to be simply superficial. He uses beautiful words to criticize the film. However, while his eloquence speaks to his professionalism as a journalist, it does not speak to his professionalism as a viewer.






    Comment index:

  • [no subject]   from audrey, Oct 30, 2003
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Terry, Nov 17, 2003
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from shank, Jul 18, 2005
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Toby, Dec 6, 2003
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Mark, Jan 2, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Jennifer, Feb 15, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Aleksey, Jan 5, 2004
  • » Re: The Dancer Upstairs «   from AX, Mar 21, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Jerrie Ann Yeager, Jan 1, 2005
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Atim, May 30, 2004
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from John Miles, Jul 7, 2004
  • flaws vs. strengths of movie   from Vil Blekaitis, Jul 9, 2004
  • About the language   from Iigo, Nov 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from audrey, Oct 30, 2003
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Terry, Nov 17, 2003
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from shank, Jul 18, 2005
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Toby, Dec 6, 2003
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Mark, Jan 2, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Jennifer, Feb 15, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Aleksey, Jan 5, 2004
  • » Re: The Dancer Upstairs «   from AX, Mar 21, 2004
  • Re: The Dancer Upstairs   from Jerrie Ann Yeager, Jan 1, 2005
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from Atim, May 30, 2004
  • The Dancer Upstairs   from John Miles, Jul 7, 2004
  • flaws vs. strengths of movie   from Vil Blekaitis, Jul 9, 2004
  • About the language   from Iigo, Nov 25, 2004