“It’s unbelievable.” The first words spoken in Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story sum up the horror about to unfold. Directed by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim and released in 2006, the film tells a story that is alarming to this day. In 1977, 13-year-old Megumi was walking home from school in Nigata, Japan, and disappeared. Her mother, Megumi’s younger brother Tetsuya says, “Even though I was just a kid, I knew something big was happening.” Sakie, recalls worrying but not quite absorbing the profound loss before her. The camera hovers over the sidewalk where Megumi walked, looks up at tree branches that likely cast shadows over her. The sun sinks into a distant horizon, and a percussive soundtrack pulses, pushing forward, ever faster. The sea laps the shore, ominously.
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Three years ago, Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He was 17 years old.
The man who shot him complained that Jordan and his friends played their music too loudly. When he pulled out his weapon to shoot at the boys’ car, the killer claimed self-defense, saying he saw a shotgun. No weapons were found in the car.
SPONSOR: Five of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known stories are brought to life in Extraordinary Tales. Inspired by sources as diverse as classic black-and-white monster films and the pulpy feel of EC Comics, this animated anthology is narrated by genre legends Sir Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi. Now available on iTunes. Playing in select theaters.
Best of Enemies is a fascinating film about brilliant people behaving stupidly. It would be reassuring in a way to think that in the distant past, there was a time when American intellectuals could duke it out on the public stage before a mass audience held rapt by the sight and sound of ideas being wrestled into coherent form. We know such things don’t happen anymore. How many Americans can even name two intellectuals to have such a debate?
The appeal of “crowdfunded” art, facilitated by websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is easy to comprehend. Crowdfunding allows artists to free themselves from the strictures that come from corporate and studio funding; if they can pitch their vision for their artwork to enough people willing to chip in, they can have total artistic control over the end product. That claim was made by director Zach Braff when he set up a Kickstarter campaign for his most recent film, Wish I Was Here. The crowdfunding model, so this pitch goes, democratizes the creation of art, allowing consumers of art to have a monetary stake in the creation of the art they want.