A scandal is a fine time to recommend a flick

The other day I recommended two films related to the Polanski affair (which I’ve written about far too much for something I claim to care so little about), but today it occurred to me that there’s one film that captures much of what this predicament is all about, and it’s neither a documentary nor a film directed by Polanski himself: Fritz Lang’s Fury (1936).

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In many ways, Fury is Lang’s most affecting work, as well as a remarkable inversion of the film that most consider to be Lang’s magnum opus, M. I’m not really sure what it is about the Polanski affair that causes me to think of Fury, though it must have something to do with the subjects interrogated by Lang, Spencer Tracy and Sylvia Sidney:  justice, guilt, revenge, mob mentality, etc. It treats all of these subjects critically yet sensitively, which is more than I can say for most of the people participating in the discourses surrounding Polanski’s predicament.

I don’t recommend Fury to imply that Polanski is innocent of anything, nor that he should somehow try to seek revenge for the injustices perpetrated against him by the American legal system; I’m only trying to link a state of affairs in the cinematic world with a state of affairs in the non-cinematic world—after all, Fury dramatizes the unique way in which cinema can shed light on dark situations beyond the movie theater.

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