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Worse Than Chimps (Except for Diet)

I recall as if it were yesterday Jane Goodall's periodic updates on chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in National Geographic when I was young boy. Frodo, Flo, and Goliath were like characters in a sit-com. And then, Frodo became violent. Shortly afterward, a war broke out between rival clans of chimps. An image [...]

Fresh Voices on DPRK

If I had to offer the most thought-provoking debate on DPRK's recent provocations, it's this three-way discussion between Ray Suarez, Douglas Paal, and Joel Wit on the PBS Online Newshour. Firstly, what's to be done?RAY SUAREZ: Is it worthwhile to head back to the table?DOUGLAS PAAL: Not soon. We rushed back to the table after [...]

Cool, Calm, and Pleased

It looks like the Obama administration might need another special negotiator for Northeast Asia.Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister, in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Yu Myung-hwan, at the Asem summit in Hanoi called for the international community to deal with the latest example of Pyongyang’s brinkmanship in a “calm and cool-headed manner”, [...]

More Roh Loving

There's just one question I have for Aidan Foster-Carter in this hagiographic obituary of Roh Moo-hyun.In 1971 he had married his childhood sweetheart, Kwon Yang-sook; her father was once jailed as pro-communist. At first more upwardly mobile than political – with a comfortable tax practice, he joined the local yacht club – in 1980 Roh [...]

DPRK-Induced Finger-Pointing Syndrome

I can't fathom the intent of the evasions and buck-passing going on between Seoul and Washington - even Beijing is involved - about their intelligence failures, and I'm glad Blake Hounshell has the spirit to try. Interestingly, South Korean presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said that North Korea may have even notified the United States ahead of [...]

Haneke Wins Palme d’Or

Michael HanekeMichael Haneke, the Austrian filmmaker and darling of the Cannes film festival won the Palme d’Or for his latest film, “The White Ribbon” and no one seems to be  acknowledging the giant elephant in the room. Isabelle Huppert, the President of the jury this year, was the leading lady in two of Haneke’s previous movies and obviously has a close relationship with him  (a conflict of interest I pointed out when the official lineup was announced). But maybe it’s just that no one cares. After all, the director is a major heavyweight in arthouse cinema and has a wide following around the world. If you ever glance at my list of all time favorite films, you’ll immediately notice that I’m a part of that following. Whether or not the jury’s decision was swayed by its less than objective President, I’m happy to see Haneke awarded what’s arguably the most prestigious prize for an achievement in filmmaking. Hopefully, “The White Ribbon” lives up to it.

Juliette Binoche in Busan

The Busan cinematheque is screening a handful of French movies starring Juliette Binoche. I’m a little surprised to see some of her best films (”Blue,” “Cache” and “Flight of the Red Balloon”) missing, but I’m also excited to see her earlier, more underground work for the first time.

When: May 27 – 31

Where: Busan Cinematheque

In French with English  Subtitles:

Rendez Vous (Andre Techine, 1985)

Jetlag (Daniele Thompson, 2002)

Bad Blood (Leos Carax, 1986)

In French without English Subtitles:

Paris (Cedric Klapisch, 2008)

Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)

For screening information, please visit

* Tomorrow night, “Will It Snow for Christmas?” (Sandrine Veysset, 1996), about a rural family with an authoritative patriarch, is playing in lieu of one of the five Juliette Binoche movies.


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