Happening to view within the same 24 hours both KUHLE WAMPE: Or Who Owns the World? (the 1931 film directed by Slatan Dudow and co-written by Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Ottwald) and SPINNING INTO BUTTER (theatre director Mark Brokow's film of Rebecca Gilman's popular turn-of-this-past-century play ), TrustMovies was struck with how few really didactic films we get to see of late. "Teaching" has gone out of style, I guess, but watching both these movies made me wish we saw a little more of it. Neither is great, though Dudow/Brecht beats Brokow/Gilman by a mile. Yet both films fascinate in how they tackle social problems while demonstrating the didactic -- then and now.
|Spinning into Butter offers a terrific beginning, as we (and someone dressed in a dark red jacket) view an ancient cartoon of an "Americanized" Little Black Sambo on TV. From this we venture into a prestigious and expensive college campus somewhere in the northeast US and from there to the middle of a racist incident that blossoms into a full-fledged news story that threatens students, black and white, teachers and the continued existence of the school itself.|
|Lead Sarah Jessica Parker is not up to her usual snuff (perhaps her character exists as too much the obvious teacher, which she is, though she doesn't have to "teach" us quite so blatantly), but Miranda Richardson (shown above), Mykelti Williamson and Paul James (shown right) are just fine, even if their roles are all a little too "generic" for comfort.|
Spinning Into Butter, though made in 2007, finally appeared on DVD last week, after a very limited theatrical release this past March.