Shakespeare Re-mixed

Recently, we watched Omkara – Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello. A few nights ago, I watched Xiaoxang Feng’s The Banquet – Hamlet set in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms of China. I could seriously geek out over the visual delights offered by both of these productions, but I will restrain myself since I have another reason behind this post.

Course Title: Shakespeare in Asian Cinema

Can we come up with a list of movies that can be labelled as adaptations or re-tellings of Shakespeare set in Asia? Difficulty: The movie must proclaim itself an adaptation. We can begin with K.B. Athavale’s 1928 Khoon-e Nahak [Hamlet] and Sohrab Modi’s 1935 Khoon Ka Khoon [Hamlet]. J. J. Madan’s 1941 Zalim Saudagar [Merchant of Venice]. Also, Gulzar’s 1982 Angoor [Comedy of Errors] or Jaya Raaj’s 1997 Kaliyattam [Othello].

Further fun: Comparing South vs. East Asian adapatations.

The Macbeths of Kurosawa [Throne of Blood] and Bharadwaj [Maqbool] could be compared. Or this Turkish female Hamlet!

Add away.

Chapati Review: Chicken with Plums

Even the dustjacket is sublime

Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books, 2006), $16.95.



The heartless Irane

Gadzooks! Every time you turn around these days there’s a new Marjane Satrape graphic novel for sale. The graphic novel translator’s league must be burning the midnight oil at HQ in the North Pole churning out translations of our favorite French cartoonists in English, Spanish, Italian and God knows what other exotic languages. I was confident that I would adore Chicken with Plums before I had even picked it up off the display in the comic book store, as I am an ardent fan of all Satrapi literature. I probably would have given the book five chapatis whether or not I liked it, just because I haven’t written reviews of her other books and they all deserve five hot buttery chapatis. I was not disappointed, however, as this novel is most excellent and should be read by one and all. Its only shortcoming is its length, which is short, affording the reader far too little time in the gracious ambience of Satrapi literature. Continue reading “Chapati Review: Chicken with Plums”

Microcredit Wins

The Nobel committee continues its rampage of making-news: Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh were awarded the Peace prize. A true pioneer – his bank gives loans without collateral, relying on a system of trust and honor – he has done more to fight poverty than all those Bono jeans at Gap. As of May, 2006, the bank has 6.61 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2226 branches, the bank provides services in 71,371 villages around Bangladesh. A truly deserving recognition.

Pamuk Wins

Ending the longest tease ever, the Nobel committee finally decided to give Pamuk the Literature prize. Woulda made more sense last year, no?

We will have to wait for e.’s take but a list of his work: Cevdet Bey ve Ogullar√Ω, 1979, Sessiz Ev (The Silent House), 1984, Beyaz Kale (The White Castle), 1985, Kara Kitap (Black Book), 1990, Yeni Hayat (New Life), 1995, Benim Adim Kirmizi (My Name is Red), 2000, Kar (Snow), 2002, Istanbul: Hatiralar ve Sehir (Istanbul: Memories of a City), 2005. I heartily recommend My Name is Red as a starting point.

As if to celebrate, it is SNOWING in Chicago. I kid you not.

update: e comes through! And reading about her autographed copy, I feel bad for not asking for an autograph a few years back when Pamuk visited Chicago. Oh well.

Cipher Alert

The Prevaricator as a Young ManProbably the most disturbing thing about the Joan Didion article on Dick Cheney in the New York Review of Books this month is that she tries and tries, but she can’t really figure out what makes him tick. Is it ideology? No, none there, really. Is it will to power? Maybe, but that’s not really it either. Greed? Could be greed. In the end it seems, Cheney’s terrifying acts of international prevarication and his apparent total lack of inclination to take responsibility for anything (as when he shot his hunting companion in the forest, and then proceeded back to the house to fix himself a drink) issue forth from an elaborately constructed void of his own micro-engineering. His will to hide all things, including himself (even when he has been seen arriving at his vacation home, he’s in an undisclosed location), the activities of his office (no one is allowed to know which individuals work on his staff), any activities of the Executive Branch of the government (he’s basically classified everything he can get his hands on), is perhaps his single-most powerful motivation, stronger still than the greed or the fondness for autocracy. Cheney would never want to be President, because that would mean cavorting about in the open all the time and kissing babies or cutting a rug or playing loads of ice hockey the way presidents always have to, from W to Nelson Mandela to Alexander Lukashenko.

Reading Between the Wickets

My friend Gerry emailed:

“Every so often I like to read up on what’s happening in the world of cricket. And, every so often, I’m struck by how impenetrable cricket lingo is to the uninitiated.” He then linked to this news post at BBC: Windies Destroy Tigers to qualify, with a quote: “Marlon Samuels missed a straightforward chance at deep backward square-leg off Jerome Taylor and the talented 20-year-old recovered to heave Taylor down to fine-leg and clip Ian Bradshaw off his pads for sixes as he raced to his seventh ODI fifty off only 40 balls. And commented further, “I get some of this, but by no means all. Is baseball this hard to decipher?”

Now, normally, I would link to Patience Propels Tigers and ask him to explain:

The first 12 Detroit batters took the first pitch until Magglio Ordonez hit a bases-loaded infield single off the glove of third baseman Eric Chavez. Ordonez’s hit came during a two-run third in which the Tigers made Zito throw 38 pitches and raise his pitch count to 69.

The Tigers were extremely effective in forcing Zito to throw his knee-buckling curve for strikes, Placido Polanco laid off a curve near the outside corner for a walk, and Sean Casey took the next two pitches before working Zito for another walk that preceded Ordonez’s RBI single.

But. This is the new and improved CM. The helpful CM. So, gentle readers, what follows is a decoding of the BBC article for those interested in penetrating the dense fog of cricket jargon – with some helpful commentary.

Continue reading “Reading Between the Wickets”