There have been many powerful personalities in the popular music in the last 50 years, but nobody has made a ranking of the greatest stars as of yet. Maybe that’s a good thing, as it would be difficult to agree on opinions. Was Elvis Presley the better artist, or was he outdistanced by The Beatles? Freddie Mercury, rock giant, tragic figure of the stage, would also have many advocates. A man of great many talents and with even greater problems. The film biography of Freddie Mercury and the Queen presents the life of a great star of the 1970s in a condensed form. To this day we remember his stage image, and are able to recognize his voice, without a miss, even when only half listening. Freddie’s range spanned 3.5 octaves. A great majority of singers have 2.5 octaves. His singing endeared him to millions of people on all continents. He will arouse joy and strong emotions for many years to come. Freddie is no longer with us, and hasn’t been for almost three decades. “Bohemian Rapsody” reminds us just how much we miss him.
It is a rare occurrence that after a robbery a bank manager describes the perpetrator to the police in the following terms: “such a gentleman, with good manners, well-dressed”. A bank clerk adds: “an extremely polite, elderly gentleman.” After all, when the criminal is portrayed by Robert Redford, people have to speak highly of him. “The Old Man and the Gun” is a charming comedy in the spirit of the ‘70s. The 82-year-old Robert Redford, whose professional and physical shape is enviable, thanks to the mastery of director David Lowery, was remarkable in the role of the robber. Forrest Tucker lived outside the law, but everyone liked him. He was eventually sentenced to many years in prison, where he gave an extended interview. Tucker was an excellent psychologist, but used cutting edge technology for security. He had a police scanner in his hearing aid to know everything. He could have escaped before he was captured by the police. This movie is worth watching as Redford has announced it will be his last.
A very young man is mixing and seasoning something in the kitchen, all in great concentration. Then, we see him doing the shopping, picking some leaves in the meadow, choosing fish at a market at dawn. A seemingly unsuitable subject for a movie became a hit. Today, Flynn McGarry is 20 years old and is a successful chef. He started ten years ago. And cooking is currently a very popular topic. The drama ensuing in the kitchen is the subject of TV shows, great chefs have become celebrities. The wealthy part of the world, which has never known hunger, is now transforming cooking into an artistic work that requires a great talent. Millions of people want to watch and become emotional over the dramas related to this specific type of creativity. That is why the movie “Chef Flynn” is so popular. It portrays the efforts to achieve perfection and fame. Besides, it is a delight to see the images on the screen. Many viewers will surely rush to a restaurant right after the screening. Bon appetit!
Former diplomats had to be exceptionally talented writers. Their reports were the main source of knowledge about the world for the heads of countries and government. Hugh Gibson lived in Poland in the years 1919-1924 as the first U.S. ambassador in Poland. The book that has just come out presents fragments of letters of the Ambassador to his mother. Written every day, they are a pulsating tragedy, describing the history of the resurgent Poland. It is fascinating to follow Poland and the joy among Poles in these first days of freedom. It was a really hard time, but joy covered everything.
Gibson talked to Piłsudski, Paderewski, aristocrats, and also to ordinary people. Striking is the respect he had for Poland and Poles. We were probably lucky it was he who was in Warsaw during that critical time that decided the future.
Hugh Gibson “An American in Warsaw”, published by Znak.
The volume “Movie Stories” precisely landed in the market. While we are discussing the centenary of Poland regaining independence, the center piece in the book is a text on the very matter entitled “Blind man’s buff” (Ciuciubabka) by Michał Komar and Edward Żebrowski. They are great authors, who can expose the tragedy of comical situations and reduce tragic events to merely an anecdote. Characters in “Blind man’s buff” are transparently veiled figures of the late ‘80s. They skirmished with the weakening authorities, who were nevertheless still holding on to their positions. The life in these years is described in a light-hearted way. While great, historically important matters were at stake, people sometimes argued about the little things. The text also outlines, in an interesting way, the psychology on both sides. Oppositionists were making history, their opponents were just leaving its pages. Those were difficult times, but they shouldn’t be forgotten.Żebrowski, “Opowieści filmowe” (Movie Stories), published by Czuły Barbarzyńca Press.
Joseph Rotblat not only was a remarkable physicist, but was also a keen observer and had a temperament of a chronicler. He started his career in science in pre-war Poland, then, he travelled through Great Britain to Los Alamos, CA, where he joined a team constructing a nuclear bomb. There, he quickly gained authority. He talked as equals with the world’s renowned physicists he had only read about in Warsaw. “To have lunch with six Nobel prize winners, with whom one could talk and exchange views, was a miracle,” write Rotblat. The more successful he was, the more he doubted in his work. He realized that bomb A would not only allow Allies to win the war, but also open a dangerous, unpredictable future. Therefore, he discontinued his work right after the end of the war and fought for the abolition of nuclear weapons for the rest of his life. Professor Joseph Rotblat contributed to the war victory – and to the peace that the world managed not to lose.Marek Górlikowski, „Noblista z Nowolipek”, (Nobel Prize Winner from Nowolipki), published by Znak.