2012年11月30日

ハラハラドキドキをごめん ヒッチコック映画の印象的な場面ベスト10


Nail-Biting Allowed: Alfred Hitchcock’s 10 Most Memorable Scenes
( TIME )

Pretty much any movie buff worth his or her popcorn can point to a
slew of directors rightly celebrated not only for their enduring
films, but for the artistry and attention they lavish on specific,
utterly indelible scenes. Kubrick comes to mind, as does Malick.
Spielberg, of course. Kurosawa, Fellini, Scorsese. But no director in
the history of the medium can lay claim to helming as many signature
movie moments as Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock. In fact, devoted
moviegoers can reel off a litany of immortal scenes from any one of
Hitch’s greatest films -- Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho and so
many others -- that live on, vividly, in the memory years after we
first encountered them.

Here, as a new biopic based on Hitchcock comes to the screen -- with
Anthony Hopkins filling the rotund role -- we’ve resisted the urge
to salute, say, the 25 or 50 greatest scenes in his career and
instead have selected the 10 most memorable moments from 10 of the
Master of Suspense’s most admired films. Let the nail-biting begin.

Judy Becomes Madeleine in Vertigo

None of Hitchcock’s movies are as viscerally unsettling as Vertigo,
and no scene in that greatest of all his films is more deeply, eerily
moving than the “green neon” one that unfolds in a cheap San
Francisco hotel. When the obsessed and heartsick Scottie (James
Stewart) sees Judy (Kim Novak) emerge, ghostlike, from another room
-- lit by an awful, green neon light outside the window and dressed
and coiffed exactly like another woman, Madeleine, with whom Scottie
fell in love -- the palpable jolt of passion that passes between the
two is unlike anything else that Hitchcock ever filmed. The raw
sexual hunger in Scottie’s eyes when he sees Judy/Madeleine standing
before him, in the flesh, is … well, it’s vertiginous.

The Shower Scene in Psycho

Watch it as many times as you like. Study it. Analyze it. Dissect it.
However many ways one approaches this scene -- arguably the single
most famous in cinema history -- something about it defies
explanation. Something about it, more than 50 years after it was
shot, invests this awful scenario with a power out of all proportion
to its constituent parts. Any discussion, meanwhile, has to start
with the myriad elements that Hitchcock employed in order to depict
what is, in the end, a drawn-out act of savagery -- the murder of
Marion Crane (Janet Leigh). Consider the suddenness of the attack;
composer Bernard Herrmann’s violins and cellos screeching along with
Marion’s shrieks of shock and fear; the seemingly manic -- but, in
fact, meticulously plotted -- editing; Marion’s literally naked, and
thus profoundly unnerving, vulnerability. Everything in this scene,
which took seven days and more than 70 individual shots to complete,
has been added to the mix with a single purpose in mind: to terrify.
And it does. If one scene can be said to have changed the movies
forever, the shower scene in Psycho is it.

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2012年11月27日

そしてオックスフォード辞典で「今年の言葉」に選ばれたのは・・・


And Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year Is …
( TIME )

A telling part of our modern recapping tradition is choosing “words
of the year.” In 1789, lexicographers probably would have gone with
guillotine. In 1912, iceberg surely would have been a contender. And
for 2012, Oxford Dictionaries settled on GIF.

That’s GIF the verb, derived from GIF the file extension. These
days, people often GIF snippets of movies or speeches to create funny
little moving pictures on Tumblrs like this one. “The GIF, a
compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple,
looping animations, turned 25 this year,” notes Oxford University
Press’ Katherine Martin, “but like so many other relics of the 80s,
it has never been trendier.” (You know, like Betty White.)

Last year, Oxford Dictionaries chose squeezed middle, a reference to
people between the super-rich and super-poor who are supposed to be
particularly vulnerable to financial shifts. It was, as one observer
put it, a “sober list for sober times.” The phrase told us that the
economy, and the struggles it caused, were the number-one story in
2011, at least so far as one band of wordsmiths was concerned.

So what does GIF tell us about 2012? Given that dictionary additions
and buzzword lists have been dominated by technology-related terms in
recent years, it may just be a sign that things are getting back to
normal. Of course, the runners-up bring a certain amount of sobriety
to the field. But the selection still seems to herald a post-
recession era -- a world where instead of counting pennies, we’re
free to goof off on Reddit all day.

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2012年11月23日

イスラエルのガザ強襲 攻撃はどのように外科的なのか?


The Israeli Assault on Gaza: How Surgical Are the Strikes?
( TIME )

On the day they buried Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas commander blown apart
in what Israel calls a “targeted killing,” a man named Jihad
Misharawi cradled the corpse of his 11-month-old son, killed when an
apparently errant Israeli shell pierced the roof of their Gaza home.
The father’s grief was captured in a compelling Associated Press
photograph that Misharawi might have appreciated in his professional
capacity: he works for the BBC as a photo editor, the job that
involves deciding what images to send out to the world when the story
becomes the death of civilians, as it is becoming in Gaza.

Until Sunday, the number of Palestinian bystanders killed in the
Israeli assault on the crowded, poverty-stricken stretch of sand may
have been as low as 16, barely half the number of fatalities among
militants across the first four days. That proportion, if it had
stood, would have been exceptional for any war -- some researchers
say civilians historically account for 80% of war deaths -- but
especially for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) doing battle in the
Gaza Strip. The last time the IDF went into Gaza, four years ago,
1,400 Palestinians were killed, at least half of them civilians.
Israel emerged from its victory facing a torrent of international
approbation and a U.N. inquiry alleging war crimes.

The Jewish state was not keen to repeat the experience. The rhetoric
coming out of Israel can be incendiary: Monday’s Jerusalem Post
contained an op-ed by Gilad Sharon, the youngest son of former Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon, arguing, “We need to flatten entire
neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t
stop with Hiroshima -- the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast
enough, so they hit Nagasaki too.” Earlier, Interior Minister Eli
Yishai declared that the goal of the current operation is to “send
Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” But Israel’s most senior officials
appear keen to maintain the approval of Western governments, both by
emphasizing that Gaza militants provoked the assault by firing
hundreds of missiles toward Israeli communities and by arguing their
answering offensive -- more than 1,350 air, tank and warship strikes
so far -- is both fierce and restrained. The public relations section
of the IDF is proactive on the question of minimizing civilian
deaths, posting videos from earlier operations showing the trouble
Israeli pilots take to avoid injuring bystanders while pursuing
military targets. Several show gunsight footage of pilots diverting
their bombs -- after release, in flight -- when the car they are
aiming at enters a garage, or pulls up beside a cluster of
pedestrians. The missiles explode a safe distance away.

“We are learning, and we are improving from last time,” a senior
Israeli officer told TIME late last week. “But eventually we will
make a mistake, and there’ll be an accident. There’ll be a picture
of children who have been hit, and it will be devastating for us.”

Any contrast with Cast Lead is intentional. That operation began with
a massive attack on a police graduation, cutting down dozens of
cadets standing in formation. From the start, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu framed Defensive Pillar as a series of “surgical
strikes,” and five days later, the relatively refined approach may
be having an effect. Though Israel has called up 40,000 reserves in
preparation for a possible ground assault, attention shifted over the
weekend to the terms of a possible cease-fire, mediated by Egypt,
that would avoid a ground war neither side seems to want. Officials
say Israel’s primary demand is a total cessation of rocket fire into
its territory (900 of which have been fired since Wednesday,
resulting in three Israeli deaths). For Hamas, the primary demand is
for a promise that Israel will stop killing its senior officials and
commanders.

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2012年11月20日

これが中国を治めることになる男たちだ


Meet the Men Who Will Rule China
( TIME )

In The Wizard of Oz, the ruler behind the curtain in the Emerald City
turns out to be not an imposing mystical force but a mere mortal --
and a rather unprepossessing one at that. On Nov. 15 in the heart of
Beijing, just a short walk from the Forbidden City, a line of seven
men -- all with neatly coiffed, dyed black hair -- emerged from
behind a giant screen adorned with red-crowned cranes. Thus at
shortly before noon was the world introduced to a powerful clique,
headed by Xi Jinping, that will rule China. The new Politburo
Standing Committee, as the clutch of seven is called, was unveiled at
the Communist-era Great Hall of the People, nearly an hour later than
was initially expected. First to stride the crimson-carpeted stage
was Xi, the new General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and
longtime presumed heir of outgoing leader Hu Jintao. But even if Xi
walked out first, he is only the first among equals in a country that
has traded the personality cult of the Chairman Mao days for a
collective-leadership style. In China, there is not just one wizard,
but seven.

The new men in charge are, in the order they walked onto the stage,
Xi, followed by Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu
Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. Technically speaking, the
selection of the Standing Committee was conducted by a Communist
Party Central Committee with 205 members, itself chosen by the 2,000
or so delegates to the 18th Party Congress (representing 82.6 million
Chinese Communist Party members) that wrapped up its week-long summit
on Nov. 14. In reality, the Standing Committee’s composition was
more likely the result of intense back room negotiations between
forces loyal to Hu and his predecessor Jiang Zemin, among myriad
other factions that belie the unified reputation of the party that
has ruled China for 63 years.

Where will the seven men -- who strode carefully to seven spots pre-
marked with black tape on the stage -- take the People’s Republic?
Frankly, we don’t really know. These men have risen to the top in
part because of their ability to hide their personal quirks under a
cloak of Communist secrecy. But there are a few things we can divine
from the septet. First, the new Standing Committee is jammed with
princelings, the offspring of Communist Party elders who grew up
accustomed to the privileges of power, despite some tumultuous years
during the Cultural Revolution when the tide turned against these
coddled scions. Being a member of the crimson aristocracy doesn’t
dictate a Standing Committee member’s politics. Zhang Dejiang, who
walked third in line, is a North Korea-trained economist, while Wang
Qishan, No. 6, is considered more of a market-oriented reformer.
Still, one thing unites most of these princelings: they are acolytes
of former party chief Jiang, who at 86 years old still retains
surprising influence in party politics.

Xi’s ascension marked a break with a decade of leadership by the
ultimate colorless Communist cadre. When Hu Jintao took power a
decade ago, some hoped that he might usher in political reforms to
match China’s economic opening. Those hopes were dashed; over the
past 10 years, Hu felt more like a Party hologram than a flesh-and-
blood leader. Only twice in his tenure did he give substantive live
speeches to the Chinese people. By contrast, in his first remarks as
General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party on Thursday, the
broad-shouldered 59-year-old Xi cracked a spontaneous joke --
apologizing for keeping the assembled press waiting, a comment that
was not part of his official remarks -- and spoke naturally. His
delivery contrasted with the slow and emphatic whine of ideologically
tinged speech that mars so many Chinese leaders’ speaking styles,
most notably Hu’s.

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2012年11月17日

バラク・オバマを支持する根拠


The Case for Barack Obama
( TIME )

Waiting in line for two-and-a-half hours is rarely an exciting
experience. But when my son and I voted early -- he for the first
time -- at a community center in Rockville, Md., both of us were
inspired by the hundreds of other people intent on exercising
democracy’s most basic right.

The sweep of the Obama coalition represented in that snaking line led
my son and me to conclude something else: The President Obama of 2012
may no longer stir the jubilation called forth by the Barack Obama of
2008. But the hope and resolve he spoke of then have not vanished.

Most relevant to this year’s choice is the fact that the economy is
in far better shape than it would have been if we had followed the
counsel of Obama’s foes. They would have allowed the auto industry
to collapse. They would have ignored history’s lesson that
government must step in to stimulate economic activity when private
demand plummets. We know from the experience of Europe that austerity
leads to stagnation. Obama made the better choice.

Obama’s decision to ignore cautious political advisers and see
through the health care reform fight came at great political cost.
Even some of his allies think the electoral price was too high. But
this is a measure of Obama’s fortitude. By bringing the promise of
health insurance to tens of millions of our citizens, Obama ended a
national scandal. No other wealthy nation allows so many to live
without basic coverage for illness or to rely on emergency rooms as a
last resort. They either arrive there long after the opportunity to
get well has passed, or they survive only to face years, sometimes a
lifetime, of debt. The Affordable Care Act is an achievement worthy
of our great reforming Presidents.

All are part of the case for Obama. But the best reason for his
re-election goes back to what motivated so many middle-of-the-road
voters four years ago. Americans who want to replace polarization
with balance, extremism with moderation, obstruction with problem
solving and blind partisanship with compromise need Obama to win
again. An Obama defeat would empower those whose go-for-broke
approach to politics is largely responsible for the distemper of our
public life and the dysfunction in Washington.

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