Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I finally finished my medical clearance stuff yesterday after rising early and going to Foggy Bottom for the walk-in chest x-ray. The nurse practitioner gave me a sheet listing radiology labs two Fridays ago when I endured the second day of my "two day" ordeal. I picked from this list based on Metro access. From initial paperwork to lunchtime, the whole process of getting x-rayed took twenty minutes. I'd scheduled five hours, owing to precedent. I killed time wandering the District before taking the Metro at Chinatown, heading to Silver Spring again. Last night's movie: Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku; literally, Heaven and Hell, 1963),* a pulp procedural elevated to naturalist art through allegory and incidental photography: here reality falls into lockstep with poetry. Only a master could make a movie look this easy. In the first of several ever-less-delineated acts, Kingo Gondo (ToshirĂ´ Mifune) sits in his hilltop mansion plotting the takeover of the shoe company he runs. The phone rings. Your son has been kidnapped, says a voice--he'll have to pay a king's ransom to save the boy. He's already borrowed enough money, but if he can't purchase a controlling share in earmarked stocks he'll be ruined: house taken, credit destroyed. No problem--until Kingo discovers the ruthless kidnapper has mistakenly stolen the Chauffeur's son instead. Will he offer the ransom he knows will bankrupt him? This is only the moral issue of the film's first third, it then neatly segues into a police attempt to foil the kidnapping and the resulting manhunt. They search high and low, in this case, literally: while Kingo's newly mortgaged life over Yokohama quickly dissolves, the narrative action descends by turns onto the summer warp of the shanty class, who suffer spitefully in his house's shadow. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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