Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lives of Others gets a 10!

Sunday, 4/15 ... Even tho I realize that my filmic tastes are not exactly mainstream and most probably not in synch with most of yours ... I do want to pass along a powerful filmic experience I had this afternoon at my local Laemmle:

Title: "The Lives of Others" ... a German flick (subtitled), written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ... and released via Sony Pictures Classic.

It isn't often nowadays, that a new motion picture has a shattering effect on me ... but this one sure did.

The story takes place in pre-reunification (Communist) East Germany ... with endings in the post-reunification period ... and it deals with the stirrings of unrest in Red Germany ... and the Stasi days .... the main characters: a playwrite .... his stage actress girlfriend ... and several high Stasi operators, including one who's beginning to waver.

The film has been a huge success in Europe ... has won a number of major awards. I should also note, that you find the sociopolitical content running against your grain. (But, then, this note/review is being written by a 78-year-old German-born/raised Jew, whose life was saved by the fact that among my Leipzig/city health official dad's secret dermatological/venereal disease patients, were a number of pre-WW2 high-level city/police officials who had failed to take precautions against contraction of syph and the clap ...)

As some of you know, I've always had deept emotional and intellectual dichotomies, when it came to my relationships with Germany ... and this film sort of underlines those personal divisions and attitudes. They can't be erased, because of the deaths and the ultimate personal effects they had on my parents and me. There's something special - perhaps you say "weird" - in the makeup of our rapidly dying genereation. Just this week, I saw a TV documentary report, that included new facts and figures on the current growth of anti-Semitism in Germany (and elsewhere in Euope) ... so I guess we're going full circle.

Anyway ... you could do worse than going out of your way to see this German film - "The Lives of Others".

gary s franklin

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Radio Days

Thought I'd pass along to my few intimates, a piece I wrote ... and which was reproduced today (Saturday, 4/8) on Don Barrett's widely read LARadio website (

Time to rethink the all-news business

Isn't it time to rethink the whole damn radio news business ?

1. Major outlets have to decide who/what their audience is. I think it's a waste of time, money and valuable broadcast air, to appeal to the undereducated know-nothings. Let them watch those stupid, no-talent "talent" shows on tv. They're certainly not going to listen to all-news radio. Instead, appeal to those (and they're not just the over-40's !) who want to know what's going on in Washington and the world, as well as important local news.

I bit of sophisticated humor, now and then, won't hurt.

Traffic news is important, especially between 7am and 9am, and between 4pm and 6pm and it shouldn't be rushed to the point of unintelligibility, as it is now.

Film and tv reviews are important to these listeners - do 'em short and sweet, but frequently (twice an hour). Find new, interesting and sophisticated talent for this.

I also think that the classical music stations should be presenting more short/tight world news summaries and important traffic, like major accident-caused freeway stoppages. SHORT - no more than 20 or 30 seconds.

2. The TV people should start thinking about giving up the decades-old concept of early-evening news broadcasts - that age-old standard 4pm-7pm thing. One - maybe just one - of the net tv stations should consider a half-hour news program for either 8pm or 9pm, and do away with the early evening thing (and again ... no traffic accidents, unless they're truly newsworthy ... like, for example, Thurday's deaths of the well-known tv producer and his son, hit head-on by an alleged drunk).

In summary: Rethink the whole radio business - including the stations - especially along the west coast - that aim themselves strictly at at the Spanish-speakers.

Cheers, from a broadcast veteran - Gary Franklin