The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
A planned dinner that never happens, and the reasons for it to happen were rather bizzarre. Instead, a group of characters from the middle class open a window into their souls, through the touch of Luis Buñuel, to display a pleiad of their shallow and corrupted lives.
Following up on the movie Borat from last week’s picks, this time we take a look at another film by Sacha Baron Cohen. The Dictator, as the movie’s title suggests, caricatures all dictatorial political regimes. Although there are voices that suggest that the main character – the despotic Admiral-General Aladeen – was inspired by a real person, this proposition has been refuted.
The Truman Show
The film toys with the power of the media over reality through the life of an unwanted child who was adopted by a broadcast company to make him the star of a reality show. Truman – the main protagonist – does not know that his life is being recorded and broadcasted minute by minute until he turns thirty.
The Great Dictator
Charlie Chaplin in the dual, contrasting role of a Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel, whose character was inspired by nobody else than the leader of the emerging Nazi party, Adolf Hitler. Chaplin made a fine decision when he chose the format of satiric comedy, which often seems to penetrate in ways that drama does not. Chaplin did not spare even the names of the main protagonists. He garbled funny-sounding names for the men in Hitler‘s inner circle, turning Hermann Göring’s name into Herring, Goebbels into Garbitsch, and the Italian Fascist Party leader Mussolini into Benzino Napaloni. The film was very well received despite Chaplin´s worries that it would not be.
Watching the film Dr. Strangelove, one cannot resist the feeling that one has seen similar behaviour somewhere in the recent past. Nevertheless this film – made in the sixties – has a satiric subtext focused on the events of the Cold War and allows Peter Sellers to excel in multiple leading roles. Stanley Kubrick was the director, producer, and co-scriptwriter.