Tag Archives: Blind Spot Series 2016

Network (1976): January Blind Spot

Director: Sidney Lumet; Main Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter FinchRobert DuvallNed Beatty;

Network

Television is indeed a cut-throat world. Network and corporate executives exploit the mental break-down of a veteran news anchorman for the sake of ratings and monetary return. Summarised in this way, the film sounds like a jaded, cynic view of TV news in the seventies but it is so much more! It manages to introduce some surreal elements into a serious and realistic narrative that becomes one of the harshest criticism of television, entertainment and business world. Furthermore it uncannily predicts what happens to television in the next forty years: reality shows, exploitation of the worst gory events to improve ratings and such. Faye Dunaway show a wonderful combination of fanatical glee, workaholism and sheer determination as Diana Christensen, the producer who takes the reins of the news section of the network. She replaces Max Shumacher (Holden), an old-timer with integrity and also personal friend of Howard Beale (Finch), the anchorman in question. Beale’s ravings are illuminating and still actual (and downright hilarious) and Finch is fantastic to watch, no wonder he has got an Oscar for this role. To add more quality to an already stellar cast there’s Robert Duvall as Frank Hackett, face of the corporation, that recently bought the network, and ultimate shot-caller. His character might come across as one-dimensional, only driven by quarterly returns and stockholders’ expectations but Duvall manages to imbue him with some vulnerability that makes him more credible. The heart of the film is Holden’s Max: a man who is going towards his twilight years and finds himself fired, rather unceremoniously. He is viewed by Hackett as the past in TV news and he is considered both expendable and a threat to the network. All of this because Max refuses to use his friend Howard as freak-show to be paraded in front of millions of people. Max is the only silver lining of the film: someone who clings to his humanity (both the good and the bad) and doesn’t surrender and turn into a humanoid like Diana. Lumet’s directing is flawless and inspired and Paddy Chayefsky’ s script is pure gold. My favorite scenes are: Arthur Jensen’s (Beatty) speech about the primal forces of Nature and the contract negotiation between the far-left-wing revolutionaries, the communist activist and the network representatives; both are hilarious and amazing. Riveting —9/10

 

This is my first entry to The Matinee‘s Blind Spot blogathon. So far so good!

blindspotseries2016

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Filed under Blind spot series, Oldies but goldies, Seen at home

Blind spot series 2016

blindspotseries2016

As cinematic resolution for this year, I’ve decided to join the Blind Spot Series, a pretty nifty blogathon organised by Ryan@TheMatinee. The rules are quite simple: pick 12 films (one for each month) that you haven’t seen before and post a write-up about them. Easy, right?! Well, choosing the movies from my ever-growing to-watch list has been tough but I managed. So, without further ado, here’s my selection:

January: Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)

February: Steamboy (Katsuhiro Otomo, 2004)

March: El Secreto de sus Ojos (Juan Jose Campanella, 2009)

April: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962)

May: Bande a Part (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

June: Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

July: Restrepo (Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger, 2010)

August: La Regle du Jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939)

September: Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)

October: Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)

November: The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

December: Los Abrazos Rotos (Pedro Almodovar, 2009)

 

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Filed under Odds and ends, Seen at home