Monthly Archives: July 2017

” Charlotte: A Novel” by David Foenkinos— Charlotte Solomon, Artist

Foenkinos, David. “Charlotte: A Novel”, (translated by Sam Taylor), The Overlook Press, 2016.

Charlotte Solomon, Artist

Amos Lassen

“Charlotte” tells the story of artist Charlotte Salomon who was born in pre-World War II Berlin to a Jewish family traumatized by suicide. David Foenkinos’ book has been an international literary phenomenon, multiple award-winner, and massive bestseller with over 500,000 copies in print in France and rights sold in 20 countries.

Charlotte attended school in Germany and was obsessed with art and with life. When it became too dangerous to remain there, she fled to France, and was interned in a bleak work camp from which she narrowly escaped. Free, she spent two years in almost total solitude, creating a series of autobiographical art including images, words and musical scores that together tell her life story. She was killed in Auschwitz while pregnant at the age of 26, but not before she entrusted her life’s work to a friend, who kept it safe until peacetime. The result, an extraordinary novel filled with artistic expression.

David Foenkinos passionately captures the life, humor, and intelligence of Charlotte in his novel. It is his own utterly original tribute to Charlotte Salomon’s tragic life and wonderful transcendent art. We sense his love and respect for Charlotte and sense the connection between writer and artist. What this book really does is create a monument to a genius that left this world way to soon. We sense every emotion and wish that we had had the chance to know Charlotte.

 

“Isra-Isle” by Nava Semel— Before Herzl

Semel, Nava. “Isra-Isle: A Novel”, (translated by Jessica Cohen), Mendel Vilar, 2016.

Before Herzl

Amos Lassen

Many consider Theodore Herzl to be the founder of modern Zionism and to a great extent he was. But history tells us that before Herzl there was Mordecai Manuel Noah, an American journalist, diplomat, playwright, and visionary. In September 1825 he bought Grand Island that is downriver from Niagara Falls. He paid the local Native Americans their price so that he could create a place of refuge for the Jewish people that came to be called “Ararat.” However, no Jews came. We can only wonder how different the world might have been had they come. This book is alternate history in which Jews from throughout the world fled persecution and came to Ararat. Isra Isle became— there was no Israel and there was no Holocaust. In exploring this what-if scenario, Nava Semel gives us new ways to think about “memory, Jewish/Israeli identity, attitudes toward minorities, women in top political positions, and the place of cultural heritage”.

Semel has divided her novel into three parts. Part one is set in September, 2001 when Liam Emanuel, an Israeli descendant of Mordecai Noah, learns about and inherits this island. He leaves Israel intending to claim this “Promised Land” in America. However, shortly after he comes to America, he disappears. A Native American police investigator Simon T. Lenox, tries to find Liam. In part 2 we go back in time to the events surrounding Mordecai Noah’s purchase of the island from the local Native Americans. In part three we get the alternate history with the rise of a successful modern Jewish city-state, Isra Isle, on the northern New York and Canadian border. It is a city that looks a lot like New York City both before and after 9/11 and there the Jewish female governor campaigns to become president of the United States.

“What If” is a fun game and Semel plays it well. “In this changed world, Israel never existed, Native American and Jewish customs have been merged, and the American Jewish state affects many issues in the world. Each of the main characters struggles with issues of religion, spirituality, and identity in streaming thoughts and discussions. Through those voices, Semel explores issues of global importance—such as terrorism, prejudice, and politics—in this singular, thought-provoking novel.”

Semel changes the Zionist narrative by considering whether it would have been possible to change the history of the Jewish people. She creates a world in which there is a prosperous Jewish state under American patronage.

The book crosses genre from detective novel to historical fantasy, and to alternate history making this an exploration of modern Jewish identity for a postmodern world. With swift pacing and a sly wit Semel looks at the very serious topics of Zionism, multicultural politics, the attacks of 9/11 and we can only imagine the world she gives us.

“SHALOM ITALIA”— The Anati Brothers

“Shalom Italia”

The Anati Brothers

Amos Lassen

In 2013, three Italian Jewish brothers set off on a journey through Tuscany, in search of a cave where they hid as children to escape the Nazis. For the Anati brothers, Bubi, 77; Andrea, 85; and Emmanuel, 88 wanted to reconnect with their past.

The Anatis were raised in an upper-class family in Florence. In 1942, just before the deportations of Florentine Jews to Auschwitz began, the family managed to escape the city. They fled from village to village and eventually settled in a forest near Villa a Sesta, a town some 50 miles from Florence. Their father dug a cave with the help of others and the family lived underground for several months during the winter of 1944 until the end of the war. The family then moved to Israel, where the brothers have lived ever since.

“Shalom Italia,” is a documentary directed by Tamar Tal Anati (Bubi’s daughter-in-law) that follows the brothers’ return to Italy in an attempt to find the cave and seek some closure about those years. The brothers hike through the forest, meet with members of a family that helped them survive and eat Italian food as they look for the cave. Here we see that the brothers are true friends and still maintain good feelings about Italian culture. Bubi, worked at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science for years, is the guiding force behind the trip because locating the cave was something he had wanted to do for years. Andrea is an oceanic physics researcher and a jokester is seen whistling, humming and introducing himself to strangers is still in great physical shape. Emmanuel or “Meme” as his brothers call him is an internationally renowned archaeologist is the most serious of the three and has no desire to relive his Holocaust memories agreed to the trip to satisfy Bubi.

The brothers’ enjoy bickering with each other and it is endearing to see and hear. However, we never lose sight of the real purpose of the trip. The film’s lighthearted tone goes hand in hand with the brothers’ ghosts from the war. They share interesting thoughts about the nature of memory as they enjoy the food of the country. Andrea reminds his brothers of living in the woods, collecting mushrooms and playing Robin Hood games and having fun during the darkest period in world history. The boys were forced to grow up quickly. The film is a “testament to how memories are filtered through our attitudes and experiences, even the desires of those around us”.

Even though Tal had been married to Bubi’s son for years, she was not aware that her father-in-law and his brothers were Holocaust survivors. When Bubi told her about the planned trip to the Italian countryside and she learned of the cave and the reason for the journey, she felt that she had to film the adventure. What she found fascinating was that each brother had a completely different memory of the same event and she was curious to see how they would deal with the physical and mental challenge of such a journey as this. The brothers did not even think of themselves as true Holocaust survivors but since the filming of “Shalom Italia,” they have dealt with the memories of time. We need never to forget that who we are and how we see life are the result of our memories and if memories change, so do we.

The journey itself is fascinating and we also get glimpses of people who helped them survive.

“MANIFESTO”— Manifestos as Monologues

“Manifesto”

Manifestos as Monologues

Amos Lassen

Cate Blanchett plays 13 roles in different locations and with a variety of accents, ages, and genders.

It’s impressive enough to see how Blanchett invented all these personas, with their attendant makeup and costume requirements. She did so in a 12-day shoot directed by Julian Rosefeldt and cinematographer Christoph Krauss who managed to find, construct, or create the illusion of so many complete worlds to place around her. Most of the 95-minute film that was originally presented as a 13-screen installation was ct shot in Germany, an oft-devastated nexus point for many of the manifestoes regarding capitalism. It’s fitting that Blanchett begins with Karl Marx’s words about the West’s “process of decay”, already in motion 150 years ago but suddenly relevant today. Elsewhere, fascistic and nihilist credos are included (some taken from the Italian futurists of the early 20th century), and it’s fascinating to see them collide and occasionally overlap. There’s no dialogue, only recitations of manifestos about art (plus the excerpt from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s “Communist Manifesto”) in the first scene. This is a vibrant, entertaining and engaging film that is also, thought provoking.

“Manifesto” is made up of 13 scenarios, most of which play out in interspersed segments. Each setup starts with a leisurely establishing shot. The camera moves slowly before descending into the scene to focus on Cate Blanchett who plays a different character in every scenario. These characters include a homeless man ranting at the world, a cynical English rocker dressed all in black, and a perfectly coiffed, tight-lipped society matron. In a series of mesmerizing performances that sit on the line between realism and satire, Blanchett gives each character its sharply distilled essence.

Images here are so much more powerful than the words and it is easy to tune out the manifestos, which often feel repetitive. This is a film about ideas that’s visually gorgeous with a wonderful actress but by and large something is missing although I am not sure what that is.

 

“Dangerous” by Milo Yiannopoulos— The Return

Yiannopoulos, Milo. “Dangerous”, Dangerous Books, 2017.

The Return

Amos Lassen

Here is the book that no one wanted to read ye already has 830 reviews just three weeks after publication. Even more shocking than that is that some of the reviews are extremely favorable.

By now everyone knows how the left took him yet Milo comes out fighting and using wit and humor to prove what he has to say.

Milo says that, “In short, I’m the Left’s worst nightmare: a living, breathing refutation of identity politics, and proof that free speech and the truth wrapped in a good joke will always be more persuasive and more powerful than identity politics.” This book is well written, and backed up with facts. It is extraordinarily funny, and gets the modern conservative viewpoint across. Like him or not,

Yiannopoulos is a refreshing voice. He is open and candid and even though I do not agree with most of what he has to say, this is an interesting and at times infuriating read. He lets us know early on that his book is “for open minded, independent thinkers and free speech advocates, not for ANTI First Amendment (ANTIFA) fascists or any other easily triggered tantrum throwing cry babies”.

“I’m no hypocrite,” states Milo Yiannopoulos tells us early on that he is not a hypocrite, “I tell the truth, always. That’s my whole fucking problem.”

However the truth that he tells is his version of it and it has been a problem for the guy who calls himself a “dangerous faggot.” (Don’t you just want to throw up here?).

This book was under contract to Simon & Schuster but they canceled the because of Milo’s remarks that condone pederasty. These remarks were made by Milo on a podcast last year and were reported in mainstream media. Milo was also uninvited from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference and forced to resign as tech editor for Breitbart, the news website often credited for helping elect President Donald Trump. This was quite a letdown for the fabulously gay Trump supporter, but he vowed that he would quickly and here is less than six months later with this book that he published on his own imprint, Dangerous Books.

Milo is a 32-year-old English journalist, political provocateur and occasional drag queen who first gained notoriety covering the #GamerGate controversy, which essentially concerned the issue of political correctness and video game content. This was a great concern to millennials and the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. His coverage brought in many young readers to Breitbart and his star began to rise. Ion 2016 he had a real experience with fame when he and co-writer Allum Bakhari published “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right,” a taxonomy of the alternative right political movement supporting candidate Trump.

“The article rightly pointed out that in today’s politically correct environment, where white males have been cast as the villain, it’s become difficult for whites to express any sort of white identity or culture without being hectored by some so-called Social Justice Warrior.”

This is not a new thought and Milo used it as best he could. He and his co-writer denied being a part of any movement, but with his face was soon all over mainstream media as the leader of the Alt-Right, operating out of the Alt-Right’s Berlin Bunker, Breitbart, then commanded by “notorious alleged crypto-nazi Steve Bannon.”

Milo’s simply said, “On the one hand, these guys are declaring the alt-right to be a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic hate group…. “On the other, they’re saying that a gay Jew with a black boyfriend is the head of it.”

The majority of the alternative right can be considered to be racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, and subscribes to a conspiracy theory known as “Cultural Marxism” that blames Jewish academic theorists for the alleged decline in Western culture, a line of thought Milo strongly promotes in this book. promote front-and-center in Dangerous.

More on that later. Despite his reputation as a public intellectual, there’s very little standard political content in “Dangerous”. At different times and at various points, Milo has called himself a conservative, a conservative libertarian, a cultural libertarian and once said that he’s not a libertarian at all. In the end he says people hate him and each chapter is dedicated to one of the various groups that despise Milo because as Milo says, “I’m not one of them. I don’t fit into the box they demand of me. I don’t fit into any fucking box. I am large, I contain multitudes.”

His megalomania may be the truest thing he says in the book and it is also symptomatic of nihilism. Milo sees his book as a guide to political activism in the internet age. “It is a guide to trolling by an author who is arguably one of the internet’s most successful trolls”. Milo claims when it comes to trolling, he’s second only to “Daddy,” his favored nickname for Trump.

He tells us here that being de-platformed has only made him stronger, particularly with the growing audience of Breitbart behind him. He shares that

“Trolling is the perfect weapon of a political dissident intent on spreading forbidden or inconvenient truths.” However, he steers clear of the truth that Cultural Marxism is understood by the vast majority of the alternative right as a modern Protocol of the Elders of Zion, the late nineteenth century forgery alleging a Jewish plot to control the world.

Milo correctly notes that Cultural Marxism traces its roots back to the Frankfurt School, a group of German Marxist academics who immigrated to the United States in 1935. However what he does not say is that virtually all the scholars were Jewish.

That fact may not mean much to Milo but the theory that Cultural Marxists control everything is usually used as an anti-Semitic idea yet Milo offers it up without reference “to Jewish academics, and “Hollywood,” or “mainstream media” or “leftist” or “progressive” or even “bankster” is inserted”. In its most common form, there’s no question as to the eternal scheming Jew pulling the strings.

Milo tells us that “In the following pages I’ll teach you how to cause the same sort of mayhem I do in defense of the most important right you have in America: the right to think, do, say and be whatever the hell you want.”

He believes that by wrapping himself in the American flag, he gains him dramatic license to pretend the significant racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic elements in the alternative right don’t actually exist.

He says that these are kids blowing off steam and that the trolls are winning because “we’re the only ones telling the truth any more.” We should know better than to listen to those who claim to carry the truth. Milo claims to be the spokesman for “those white deplorables without a college education Milo claims to be a spokesman for” who are all over the internet these days. Truth is easily the most misused word in English and probably every other language.

If Milo isn’t carrying the truth, what does he carry? It seems to me to be outrage delivered and aimed at the easiest and most vulnerable targets of the progressive left, defined as the “latte-sipping metropolitan voters, fairy tale dwelling antiwar activists, ugly women (sigh), and minorities.”

Milo has completely mischaracterized and insulted the opposition. He is unaware that there hasn’t been a sizable antiwar movement in this country since at least the election of President Barack Obama, and realistically since 9/11.

We get some very strong feelings from a guy who continues to dabble in identity politics. As one reviewer said, “Milo the Jewish drag queen who only has sex with black men is playing rural white America, the so-called deplorables who helped elect Donald Trump, for rubes… he wants attention. He’s getting it. He’s oh so outrageous.”

Milo doesn’t have a clue about culture, politics, and the people who actually live in the United States.. “Milo, a gay Jewish man who dates black men, has embraced, some say hijacked, an ideology whose adherents would kill him on the spot if they got the chance to do it anonymously, a fact he dismisses with the wave of a limp wrist. Call it gay privilege. He’d never admit he’s taking advantage of it.

Nevertheless, that’s what he’s doing. Milo the truth-teller, the half-Jewish anti-Semite, the half-Catholic alter boy sucking Father Mike’s dick—an anonymous priest he claims he willingly had sex with at the age of 14—is only in it for the lols — the laugh-out-louds — as the kids he so creepily covets say these days.

Other than that, Milo has literally nothing to offer as far as solutions to our present dilemma are concerned in Dangerous. It’s news to this dangerous faggot, who has apparently never dated a woman, that birth control pills have side effects and that abortion is a hard decision for any woman to make. Fat and ugly people deserve to be ridiculed because, well, they’re not beautiful like him.”

“#gods” by Matthew Gallaway— The Power of Love

Gallaway, Mathew. “#gods”, Fiction Advocate, 2017.

The Power of Love

Amos Lassen

As I sit down to write this review, I am reminded that being a reviewer is a lot more work than reading and writing about what I read. A good part of my time is involved in searching for new titles and authors as well as maintaining contact with those I have previously reviewed so as not to miss a new title. Actually reading and writing are the easy parts because I know what a review is to include. The more difficult part is not just in learning about titles but maintaining correspondence with writers and publishers. Every once in a while, I will get a note from a publisher with whom I am not familiar telling me about a new book and that is now I got to “#gods”. A few years ago I reviewed Gallaway’s “The Metropolis Case” and I loved it but since then there was nothing from him and I guess I put him in the back of my mind. Now seven years later he has a new book and although I might have forgotten Gallaway he did not forget me and I received a review copy. Let me say right off that I am in awe of this novel.

Gallaway here writes about the power of love and disregards genre classifications as he does. It is up to each reader to find the genre that suits the book best in his/her/their mind.

It all begins when Gus, a young boy wanders into the woods in Harlem and sees his sister being abducted by creature that glows. Forty years pass and Gus becomes a homicide detective in New York and when he receives a new assignment, he has visions that his sister is alive and he becomes determined to find her. His investigation takes him back in time to an ancient civilization of gods and the people determined to bring them back.

It seems that three office workers have founded a new religion that while quite beautiful is also overwhelming and also, like other religions, defies logic. I can usually assume then when a novel has something to do with religion then it is probably a satire. But “#gods” is more than that. To a degree it is a religious text but it is also a noir story and a sex manifesto. Yet even more important is that the novel looks at the nature of faith in today’s world.

I am honestly having a difficult time reviewing this because I am not sure where to go next. We do not often get gay coming-of-age story alongside a look at faith, a conspiracy theory and a look at the meaning of dreams yet it all comes together to give us quite a reading experience. I do not often find myself stumped like this but then I have never read a book like this. I am also trying to write without spoilers yet at the same time remain coherent.

What I can say with no risk of spoiling a read is that the prose sings and this is positively one of the most beautiful novels linguistically that I have ever read. It does, however, require a bit of concentration but when it was over, I had the feeling that I wanted to read it again. It is certainly an ambitious piece of writing and it certainly seems to me that Matthew Gallaway had to go within himself and write this from the inside out. As in any fine literature, Gallaway is in here somewhere but I do not know him well himself to be able to pick that out. This, of course, does not make the fun any less fun to read. Perhaps what stunned me the most was reading how much everything changes over time and it is with this that the novel shines. As a postscript, I am not so sure that I have really reviewed this book but instead wrote about how it affected me. Stay tuned, I may yet be back with additional thoughts.

 

 

 

“The Illustrated Pirkei Avot” by Jessica Tamar Deutsch— Reclaiming Relevance

Deutsch, Jessica Tamar. “The Illustrated Pirkei Avot”, Print-O-Craft,  2017.

Reclaiming Relevance

Amos Lassen

“Pirkei Avot” or (“Ethics of the Fathers”) is a collection (or compendium) of “apothegms and metaphysical wanderings” that we have studied over and over again and each time find something new or an understanding of something we might have missed. It is actually a constituent piece of the Talmud, the chapter of Avot that has become “a go-to source for wisdom and pedagogic excellence, a staple for ethical discussion from living rooms to college lecture halls”. Because what is written here has been relevant to every age, there is a great amount of commentary that continually grows. Over time, some of the brightest minds in Jewish history have enjoyed and repeated what is said here making this book a handbook for life.

TheIllustrated Pirkei Avot” by Jessica Tamar Deutsch moves between the serious and whimsical equally and she has added art to the sayings this presenting us with a “new paradigm”. By doing so, the book appeals to people of all ages and welcomes new study. Deutsch also occasionally adds a thought that is separate from the art. I do not believe that we have learned what the true intention of the original was meant to be yet I have always assumed that it is a way to understand life and thus live better. It is an elucidation of rabbinic thought and as Deutsch points out, it can also be a “comic a cosmic deconstruction of the countless other commentaries that have come before”.

 

“The Diplomat’s Daughter” by Karin Tanable— Young Love and War

Tanabe, Karin. “The Diplomat’s Daughter: A Novel”, Washington Square Press, 2017.

Young Love and War

Amos Lassen

Karen Tanabe’s “The Diplomat’s Daughter” is the story of three young people divided by the horrors of World War II and their journey back to one another. Emi Kato is the daughter of a Japanese diplomat who is imprisoned in a Texas internment camp. She feels no hope but then meets handsome young Christian Lange, whose German-born parents were wrongfully arrested for un-American activities. Together, they live as prisoners with thousands of other German and Japanese families and discover that love is possible in even the bleakest circumstances. Then when Emi and her mother are sent back to Japan, Christian joins the United States Army hoping to be sent to the Pacific front—and, eventually hopes for a reunion with Emi. He has no idea that Emi’s first love, Leo Hartmann, the son of wealthy of Austrian parents and a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, may still be in the picture.

Because of the bombings in Tokyo, Emi’s parents send her to a remote resort town in the mountains, where she is cut off from her family and struggles with depression and hunger and where she repeatedly risks her life to help keep her community safe. She wonders what has happened to the two men she loves and if they are still alive.

Christian has his struggles as well. He not only has to adapt to life as a soldier but his unit pushes its way from the South Pacific to Okinawa, where one of the bloodiest battles of World War II seems to be waiting them. At the same time, Leo fights to survive the horrible conditions of the Jewish ghetto in Japanese-occupied Shanghai and a surprise confrontation with a Nazi officer threatens his life. Both men have Emi on their minds.

The novel begins in January 1943, and spans two continents. The Hartmann family faced the rise of anti-Semitism in Vienna and were forced to leave their comfortable life. Eventually, through the help of Nono Kato, Emi’s father, they find refuge in the Jewish ghetto of Shanghai. Although a small Jewish community existed in Shanghai prior to the War, the Jews who arrived after 1937 soon became restricted to the International Settlement, known as the Hongkew Ghetto.

Emi and her family, through a complicated twist of events, are taken to an internment camp in Texas, established to house Japanese and other individuals suspected of espionage. This is where Emi meets and falls in love with Christian whose family was sent to the internment camp after being accused of supporting the Nazi Party. As World War II continues, Emi is desperate for news from Leo and Christian. Her own family struggles to survive hunger and the bombings in war-torn Japan. What we really see here are the physical and emotional deprivations suffered by the characters, innocent teenagers who have been robbed of their childhoods. We read of life in the Jewish ghetto of Shanghai and in a internment camp in Texas, away from the battlefields but still very much impacted by war.

Writer Tanabe introduces us to “representations of the decaying human condition: Anti-Semitic Austria, American internment camps, squalid Shanghai ghettos, austerity and starvation in war-time Japan, and the blood stained South Pacific front lines”. You might ask yourself why you would want to read something that is so depressing. My answer to this is that we need to read books like this to truly appreciate how we live today. It also helps that this is beautifully written. We read about atrocities of the war that are lesser known, one of which is the Shanghai Ghetto. Even more important, we read of the devastation that war can cause on a personal level.

 

“INSEPARABLES”— Enjoying Life

“Inseparables”

Enjoying Life

Amos Lassen

Felipe (Oscar Martinez) a wealthy businessman who is quadriplegic, due to an accident. He is looking for a therapeutic assistant and even though there are several highly qualified applicants, he decides that Tito (Rodrigo de la Serna)) should have the job. The film is based on the real story of a quadriplegic and his personal assistant. Tito has neither the qualifications nor the specifications to take care of Felipe and friends of Felipe are quick to point this out to him. Felipe answers that Tito comes to him with no pity and even with all of the difficulties of the job, Tito responds to his mission and is able to get Felipe to smile again. Soon Tito helps Felipe to find meaning again in life and to enjoy each days, , something Felipe had forgotten. Tito shows no political correctness for his boss’ many problems and treats him as a perfectly healthy person who does not try to do anything to enjoy life. It is obvious that Tito did not understand what this job would entail and the beauty of the film is the way he treats Felipe as his equal.

Felipe is surprised at the way he and Tito get along. The two men take drives, have long walks and go to concerts and exhibitions. It is as of Tito does not see Felipe’s disability and refuses to be bound by it. In effect Tito helps Felipe to find meaning in a life that, by his condition, had caused him to stop having.

This is the story of an unexpected, deep and sensitive friendship that is quite beautiful and fun to watch.

“VESPER”— Secrets

“VESPER”

Secrets

Amos Lassen

Marge Ofenbey (Agnes Godey) has shut herself in an attempt to escape her husband, Walter. She asks her nephew Christian for help but he discovers the secrets that Marge and Walter hid away. This is a very dark film that moves slowly in its narrative. The audience is sucked into a mystery that keeps us guessing until the very end. The characters do not reveal much yet our interest is held by what we suspect is coming.

In the background we hear dark music that helps to build a very dark scene and all we really have to go on are the stares that the characters share. We wonder why Marge seems so bothered and if her husband is indeed manipulative and aggressive. Director Kevyan Sheikhalishahi takes us into his narrative and we cannot help but notice that something is missing. We sense that Marge is hiding something but we have no idea what.

I had a hard time with this short film because it rattled me without letting me know why and/or about what. This is not a negative comment by any means. If a film can rattle a viewer that means there is something there. A film that makes us think is a sign of a good piece of work. Everything is solemn even when nothing happens. I feel that I was only allowed to be drawn into a certain point and then left there making me feel isolated from the film yet still thinking about it.