Daily Archives: September 28, 2020

Chahine’s Saladin (303/415)

Youssef Chahine’s 1963 film Saladin the Victorious was shot in Ultrascope for a beautiful widescreen aspect ratio, and the film’s color is equally striking. The first battle sequence makes effective use of both of these elements in unusual ways.

The psychopathic Renaud commands his troops to attack a group of pilgrims as they pray. In the absence of sophisticated fx Chahine uses a fast-paced montage replete with swish pans and rack-focus shots to capture the violence of Crusaders descending on unarmed civilians. In an era before the advent of more sophisticated versions of theatrical blood the wounded bleed a startling, vivid red. Here’s an image I pulled from another blog to give you a sense of the scale and color. Though it’s dominated by cooler blues note the red bits.

Marrow Commentary (225)

Chesnutt explicitly addresses contemporary social issues in his dramatization of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898. The meetings of the cabal— Carteret, Belmont, and McBane— offer a window into the White supremacist political imagination. In chapter III, “The Editor at Work,” we witness a discussion about the situation in Wellington, according to these men, and their proposals for action. Carteret is working on an editorial arguing that African Americans are incapable of full engagement in civic life. Note the reasons he lists, ranging from a lack of formal education to “natural” inferiority. He is particularly concerned with the consequences of miscegenation or what at the time was referred to as “racial amalgamation”: interracial romance and social mixing. 

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