March 8, 2013 |
The wind blows cold and hard in the East German backwater, where the title character of Barbara , a Berlin doctor in exile, finds herself. Watched over by the secret police, by nosy neighbors, by the staff at the bare-bones hospital she has been reassigned to, Barbara (an amazingly composed Nina Hoss) smokes her cigarettes and sees her patients and bicycles back and forth from her drab apartment to work. And quietly, she plots her escape. Christian Petzold's masterfully hushed, suspenseful thriller percolates with dread.
October 15, 2012
DEAR ABBY: I work in a professional office where nearly all my co-workers are married and live rather uneventful lifestyles. I was divorced a few years ago and have not remarried. I have dated a lot of women, and it has become an issue with my co-workers. They insist on hearing about the dates I go on and ask for the details of what took place, and I usually oblige them. Lately, there has been more and more gossip about my so-called "wild lifestyle," and I have become the talk of the office.
January 19, 2012 |
Margaret Thatcher was the most remarkable female political figure of the 20th century. The longest-serving prime minister in a century, the Iron Lady - as the Soviets named her for her opposition to the Iron Curtain - Thatcher left an indelible mark on British and world politics. A new film about Thatcher, however, is unfortunately typical of modern filmmaking. Despite having a great true story to tell, its writer and director preferred instead to contrive a fanciful tale that is politically and culturally correct.
March 13, 2005 |
Malcolm Bricklin, who introduced America to the Subaru and the Yugo, with different results, has a new project: importing cars from China. If all goes as planned, the first Chinese cars ever exported to the United States would arrive in 2007, brought here by Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles L.L.C., of New York, and manufactured by Chery Automobile Co., of Wuhu, China. Bricklin, who was born in Philadelphia and prides himself on thinking big, expects to sell 250,000 vehicles the first year.
March 4, 1996 |
The shadow of the Cold War - the defining geopolitical event of the last half of the 20th century that divided the world into "East" and "West" - vanished with the fall of communism in the Soviet Union in 1991. When the Cold War started among erstwhile allies in the fight against fascism is still debated. But America's first realization that a dark cloud was settling over the West's relations with the Soviet Union took place a half-century ago tomorrow when Britain's wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, evoked another famous image to characterize the political shifts going on. In a speech at Fulton, Mo., he spoke of an "Iron Curtain" descending in Eastern Europe, bifurcating the continent among those free and those not free.
October 13, 1995 |
Traditionally in movies, lovers separated by the tide of great events do their tear-filled parting while a war is going on. The farewell in Margarethe von Trotta's The Promise takes place while a wall is going up. As the defining and infamous symbol of the hatreds of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall has been slow to attract the interest of filmmakers since it finally came tumbling down in 1989. The Promise is too ambitious in its scope to fully live up to its promise, but von Trotta has made a fascinating and provocative portrait of an arbitrarily divided city.
July 19, 1994 |
The last time I saw Berlin, less than a year ago, it was pleasantly boring. The wall and the tension were down, the feeling that perhaps tomorrow we die was gone, and the "capital" of a unified Germany was coming back down to earth after more than 40 years as a "flashpoint" or "tinderbox," the place where World War III would begin. So President Clinton was in the wrong place at the wrong time last week to get what he wanted (and needs): a flashy rhetorical foreign-policy triumph that might have reminded Americans of the dangerous excitement when President Kennedy looked over the wall between West Berlin and East Berlin in 1963, or even the lesser moment in 1987 when President Reagan shouted that Soviet Premier Gorbachev should tear down the wall.
July 10, 1993 |
The lack of human rights is the greatest problem in the world today and any efforts to promote justice and equality must be encouraged. These men (Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk who received the Philadelphia Liberty Medals July 4) and those who work with them are trying against the greatest odds to advance human freedoms and liberty in an environment where many have said it is impossible to do so. They are faced with the awesome challenge of changing South Africa. These men, and those who work with them, must create a new country.
May 14, 1992 |
Mikhail Gorbachev's speech at Fulton, Mo., was a fascinating exercise in punctuation - a sort of ritual end of the Cold War. And on one score the former president of the former Soviet Union is absolutely right. Its end is a "victory" for no one and for everyone. In other respects, Gorby's speech suggests that the Russians, and not they alone, are still struggling to get their history straight. He was speaking at Westminster College, where Sir Winston Churchill in March 1946 observed, to the dismay of many a pacifist heart, that an "Iron Curtain" had descended across Europe, isolating the "ancient capitals of Central and Eastern Europe" from the benefits of recovery and freedom.
May 8, 1992
In Missouri's heartland, from the podium where Winston Churchill gave his galvanizing "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946, Mikhail Gorbachev reminded America this week that history hasn't ended with the Cold War's demise. Indeed, he said, new tensions are rising, fed by an untenable disparity between rich and poor nations: Conflict looms now not between East and West, but North and South. It is a speech that George Bush should have given. It is the challenge confronting the United Nations' Earth Summit conference in Rio, the challege of the 1990s.