July 13, 1986
Most Americans probably share at least some of the motivation that so intensely animates Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d's Commission on Pornography. Who could deny, after all, that the sleaze quotient in American society has soared since the 1960s? It was predictable, perhaps inevitable, that in an era of reaction to the cultural swings of the post-war era, an official commission would arise to crusade against pornography. Some of the commission's essential points are valid: The most extreme pornography is beneath contempt.
April 9, 2012 |
The 19-page letter from the U.S. Department of Education to colleges and universities across the nation last April made already-busy Philadelphia lawyer Gina Maisto Smith even busier. The letter emphasized that colleges had to respond to any complaint of sexual misconduct, even if the victim didn't want to press charges or otherwise pursue it. Some colleges hadn't been investigating such complaints even though a 2001 Education Department document recommended it, said Smith, a former sex-crimes prosecutor who now specializes in law involving sexual misconduct on college campuses and other institutions.
August 13, 1999 |
"Everything kills," someone says at the outset of Cabaret Balkan. And everything - everything - is falling apart. A bracingly black-humored view of life in present-day Belgrade, steeped in anarchy, fear and hate, Goran Paskaljevic's film follows various citizens of the Yugoslav capital through one night marked by violence and despair. Based on a play called The Powder Keg and taking its peregrinating cues from La Ronde, the film travels the city, with Paskaljevic's camera stopping in the grim garage apartment of a family of Bosnian refugees; a bar where a cop and cabbie confront each other's loathing over rounds of cheap booze; a boxing gym where two old friends swap punches and confessions; and a warehouse stockpiled with black-market goods, operated by a coke-snorting, gun-wielding sicko.
November 9, 1987 |
The three big lies of modern life: "The check is in the mail. " "I did leave a message. Your machine must be on the fritz. " "There won't be another sequel to Death Wish. " Death Wish 4 - The Crackdown is an exploitation flick not even a vigilante could love. Like its hero, Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), the series has developed an arthritic gait. The burden of carrying the moral weight of Los Angeles must waste the muscles. One would think, after Death Wish 1, 2 and 3, that there would be no scum left in the Western Hemisphere.
December 5, 2012 |
SOME PEOPLE DREAD turning 40 if they've got nothing but wrinkles to show for it. The same might be said for advocacy operations facing that milestone anniversary. Longevity is great, but it's even better if the organization has managed to transform the cause that stirred it to life in the first place. So it is with Women Organized Against Rape on the eve of its 40th birthday. Its advocacy has so changed the way victims of sexual violence are treated by law enforcement, the courts and the medical establishment, it's a shock to realize what life was like for victims before WOAR roared into existence in 1973.
September 28, 2007
Directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner, with Kevin Kline, Paulina Gaitan, Cesar Ramos and Alicja Bachleda-Curus. 1 hour, 59 mins. R (violence, sexual violence, profanity, drugs, adult themes). Distributed by Roadside Attractions. Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse. Other times, however, Trade comes off like TV-movie sensationalism, sidetracked by distracting backstories and hard-to-swallow plot twists. Although Kevin Kline, playing a cop on a personal quest for a missing girl, gets top billing, the strongest acting here comes from a pair of teens: Paulina Gaitan, as Adriana, a Mexico City kid kidnapped by Russian sex-traders as she's riding the new bike she received for her 13th birthday, and Cesar Ramos, as Jorge, her older brother, a street hustler who follows his sister's abductors across the border and all the way to a house in New Jersey.
July 22, 1999 |
Mysterious numbers scrawled in pig's blood appear on the streets of Oslo. A medical student is violently raped. Corpses of missing people turn up, bloody and defiled. Sounds like a case for police detective Hanne Wilhelmsen (Kjerstil Elvik). In the sharp, suspenseful Blessed Are Those Who Thirst - adapted from one of a series of popular crime books penned by Norway's former minister of justice, Anne Holt - Wilhelmsen is a tough, wily cop. She smokes, she rides a chopper, she has a lesbian lover - and she has a serious need to solve this dark, creepy case.
September 29, 2008 |
This month marks the fifth anniversary of an important advance in our criminal justice system - the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Before its passage, conventional wisdom held that rape was inherent to prison life, something that "bad people" do. Many prison officials insisted that there was nothing that they could do about it. Others wrongly contended that these abuses were aberrations, a pop-culture construct that was not worthy of serious attention....
September 15, 2006 |
Critics of American movie ratings long have puzzled over the system that gives an R (under age 17 not admitted without parent or guardian) to a movie in which a woman is carved up by a chain saw and an NC-17 to one that shows a woman being sexually pleasured. From such ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America, one might conclude that sexual violence against women is OK for American teenagers to see, but that they must be 18 to see consensual sex. What message does this send to the kids the system presumably means to protect?
January 10, 2013
THE VICIOUS attacks on two women in India and Pakistan are grim reminders that violence against women is still common currency in much of the world. In Delhi, the barbaric rape committed by six men on a bus against a 23-year-old woman was so brutal that she was nearly eviscerated and later died of internal injuries. In Pakistan, a 15-year-old schoolgirl who advocated for the education of women was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban. She survived and is facing a long, anguished recovery.