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Tessa Quayle is English (Wiesz is Jewish)

No, schmuck, Rachel Wiesz is English. She is also Jewish, but the implication that she's a Jew playing an Englishwoman is crap.

Posted by Judah | June 12, 2007 1:37 PM

the implication is that jewish women have dominant filmic codes, and wiesz's film career is one made up of those dominant codes.

Posted by charles mudede | June 12, 2007 1:47 PM

He would have been just as jealous of a white doctor in the same situation. The point was that they had a close working relationship that lead to a close friendship that, to the outside eye, appeared to be more of a romantic relationship. He just happens to be black.

Being who he was, Ralph's charactor would have been jealous of anyone that close to his wife because he didn't feel he could be.

Posted by monkey | June 12, 2007 1:50 PM

hmm... are you saying that the white doctor would not have been jealous if his white wife was spending as much time with some other young handsome white doctor?

Posted by infrequent | June 12, 2007 1:51 PM

This is a case of charles taking the fact that a black doctor in "shock of bavaria" AFRICA, is viewed jealously by the husband.

but what husband wouldnt be jealous of a man his wife spends very much time with?

this is another retarded attempt by charles to make a point about race issues where there are none in the source material.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 12, 2007 2:00 PM

This is a case of charles taking the fact that a black doctor in "shock of bavaria" AFRICA, is viewed jealously by the husband.

but what husband wouldnt be jealous of a man his wife spends very much time with?

this is another retarded attempt by charles to make a point about race issues where there are none in the source material. in fact the most ridiculous part is the whole: (The film fails to see this). THATS BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST MAKING SHIT UP!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 12, 2007 2:06 PM

would you have written the same commentary if the black doctor had been played by a white man? of course not, but then you would slightly spin the critique that the film makers cast all the good roles to whites even though the film was set in Africa.

Perhaps the husband was just jealous because was spending tons of time with another man, regardless of if the man was black, white, jewish, english, jewish and english, a doctor or a well hung porn star.

it should be noted i haven't seen the movie, so my understanding goes only so far as Charles has stated the "facts".

Posted by ddv | June 12, 2007 2:07 PM

Charles, you need a t-shirt that says, "I'm not full of shit. I'm just smarter than you."

As far as I know, the only part of Wiesz's body of work (with which I'm reasonably familiar) that has anything to do with her being Jewish is Enemy at the Gates. Other than that, she's an English actor who plays English and American women and who goes in for stronger parts. The strong parts thing is her particular inclincation, but it's fuck-all to do with her being Jewish. It's not like the audience is sitting there going, "Hm, she's Jewish and will therefore be kicking ass in this movie." I imagine that if you were to poll audiences and ask them for 20 words they associate with Rachel Wiesz, "Jewish" probably wouldn't show up on more than one list in a hundred.

But nevermind. You were complaining about prejudicial portrayals of African men. Which is racism. Versus your prejudices towards Jewish women, which are semiotics. Because you're so smart.

It's been while since I read it, but my memory of the book is that Justin never seriously believed that his wife was having an affair with Joshua-- the affair only ever existed in the minds of Justin's unprincipled superiors --and that the character twist in the book is that Justin turns out to be every bit as fierce and principled as his wife at the end. I thought the film followed basically the same structure, but I may have been projecting my memory of the book onto it.

It really is too bad about the Black man though. If only he'd been played by a Jewish woman, he might've been portrayed as more dominant.

Posted by Judah | June 12, 2007 2:21 PM

natalie merchant's breasts are much larger than rachel weisz'. but rachel weisz' breasts are nonetheless spectacular.

i believe this is the underlying point of the post.

and that white men are intimidated by black men because their penises are smaller when flaccid.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 12, 2007 2:27 PM

monkey and bellevue ave:

I think the black doctor was a specific decision on the director's part. Throughout the movie up to the point when we learn the affair is not real, the director feeds cues to the audience to make us feel that the affair could be the only possibility. I think in a way, the director is also trying to use the racial dynamic of the relationship to provoke the audience as much as the character played by Ralph Fiennes. How could the dynamic between a white woman and a black, african doctor not be intentional in a movie that purports to be *about* race?

And, why is it wrong for Charles to point out a potential racial issue in a movie in which racial issues are THE CENTRAL THEME? The director could have chosen a white character to be the focus of the affair if he wanted to avoid race as an issue but his decision was to put it there.

I agree with Charles that this was in the movie to make a point. I disagree with Charles that the movie does not try to address this issue. I would have to see it again to be more specific... but I was just bothered by the forum's knee jerk reaction to a *perceived* knee jerk reaction. haha.

Posted by John At Work | June 12, 2007 2:38 PM

In an earlier piece for the Stranger, Charles pointed out a recurring theme which makes it difficult for me to view the recent spate of big studio African centered cinematic offerings seriously: that Africans exist in western movies for the sole purpose of being recipients of white benevolence. It is an exercise in self congratulatory masturbation that I as an African find insulting and shallow. Like the heartless Russians who are routinely defeated by American heroes, the helpless African has become the white liberal's cinematic caricature de jour. Reminds me of that poem by Rudyard Kipling, “Take up the white man’s burden…”

Posted by deeply depressed | June 12, 2007 2:42 PM

John, you know charles does this ALL THE TIIIIIIIME!

if this had been a "wow, charles had some keen insight into this" rather than "charles is again digging around to find something that aligns with his ideas" I would be behind it.

When it's charles' modus to point out possible racial subtext in a place where there was already tons of it, you have to just wonder why?

He just reminds me of that stoner who points out weed subtext in everything.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 12, 2007 2:48 PM

Man, you ever smell a honky when they get wet? Phheuw!

Posted by ofay killa | June 12, 2007 3:06 PM

I actually have no strong opinion about Charles’ thesis re: Africa and Africans. I was mostly reacting to his racial stereotyping of Jews and his weak-ass attempt to hide it behind semiotics.

Beyond that I have mixed feelings about his point about Africa and Africans being shown as the recipients of White benevolence. At this point in history, Africa has been fucked over enough by European colonialism that they may well need European and American help to establish sustainable economies (insert obvious sidenote about the predations of the World Bank here). I mean, even in The Constant Gardener, the core plot is about the English protagonist fighting a European multi-national drug company; so yes he’s trying to save Africans, but he’s trying to save them from “himself”. I think the reason this is a popular theme is because it’s a common reality: colonized people have a really hard time organizing against colonizers unless there’s a movement within the colonizing power to grant the colonies self-government. Dramatically, that’s also a more compelling theme: colonized people fighting for freedom are basically acting out of self-interest, while colonizers who struggle for the rights of the colonized are acting out of a much more mediagenic altruism. Since most of the consumers of most of these movies are White, they're likely to react more strongly to a narrative that encourages and approves of White altruism.

Posted by Judah | June 12, 2007 3:09 PM

If you're a Marxist, you can only think teleologically. Everything must be understood in the context of your predetermined socioeconomic framework. You can only think in terms of your social theory. That's why theoreticians are so limited. They're incapable of considering alternative possibilities.

"In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they're not"
-Yogi Berra

Posted by Smade | June 12, 2007 3:11 PM

My impression of the film was that Fiennes' character was more jealous of the wife's work than the doctor. His refusal to take part in working with her or even participating in simple, painless acts of benevolence -- offerring the woman and child a ride home from the hospital -- was the main point of contention in their marriage.

The rest of the film was about his struggle to overcome his apathetic pansy-assed personality in order to bring his wife's killers to justice. It wasn't about his loss of identity after losing his fear of black male sexuality.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 12, 2007 3:18 PM

john at work -- you make some very interesting points, communicating them better than charles did, if that is what charles actually meant. the closing statement, "He is only alive when he is imagining the worst: his white wife with the bewitching black doctor," is not something i agree with or felt the director/writer was attempting to communicate.

why can't there be a movie about race that also contains jealously unrelated to race? i found it refreshing that the movie didn't bring racism into the relationship... but whatever.

and while judah makes some great points, deeply depressed brings to light a idea i seem to recal charles championing: the racism inherent in the recent spade of movies set in africa. what does it say the majority of these films feature white characters? that's a question i can get behind.

Posted by infrequent | June 12, 2007 3:18 PM

it says that a white audience would most likely not watch a movie without white actors set in africa. just like they don't actually care about africa in real life unless there are white people involved.

and that there really isnt any way to portray africans in a way that africans like charles would deem good?

and this is somehow shocking and racist?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 12, 2007 3:24 PM

Every time Charles posts that picture, I find myself consistently not fazed.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 12, 2007 3:43 PM

I'll admit it's been a while since I saw the movie and I've never read the book but I didn't get the race issue from Ralph. That's just the way I saw it.

Posted by monkey | June 12, 2007 3:52 PM

I'm not going to involve myself in the stuff being discussed. I just wanted to say that I think this is one of the best movies I've seen. Unfortunately most movies fall out of my brain shortly after viewing them (the bonus is that I can watch them more than once...) but this one stuck. If you haven't seen it, and have the patience to read through these comments, go rent it tonight!

Posted by damd | June 12, 2007 4:28 PM

I just watched the movie a couple days ago. The husband thought his wife was sleeping with everyone...African and Caucasian alike.

Posted by lh | June 12, 2007 6:12 PM

Are African men are necessary to the white man's identity? Not really. Of course, white men see themselves as a midpoint in-between the Asian man and the Black man in terms of vitality, and especially sexual vitality. But the true extreme on the Black end isn't the Black man himself, but rather the Italian man. Italia might not be as wild and savage as Africa, it is inhabited by True Vice of men who wilingly channel all their energy to seduction and sex. The African man is still innocent of its relative unchastity because he simply hasn't learned the virtue of restraining himself yet, but the Italian is not redeemable because he has chosen vice over virtue. Moreover, although immoral women may choose the African for the vigor of their nature, even moral women can be seduced by the Italian's lies and treachery on such sacred things as True Love.
The African still does not define the white man.
On another note, I think the French man would come close to the Italian in the US, and probably the French Canadian as well.

Posted by Mokawi | June 12, 2007 11:46 PM

I love how Charles stops replying to everybody the second he gets put in his place. He just kind of falls off the face of the planet, that is until he produces another retarded post.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 13, 2007 9:48 AM

"Tessa Quayle is English (Wiesz is Jewish)"

"Denzel Washington's character is American (Washington is black)"
"Mohammad Ali isn't American, he's a Muslim"

Mudade's comment is as ignorant as the bottom two. We could just imagine the fallout if someone (especially someone of European decent) made a similariy ignorant comment about Muslims/Arabs/Africans (and yes I realize the first is a religion and the later two ethnicities). Mudade reminds me of the saying that when you point your finger at someone 3 of your fingers point back to yourself: he tries to illuminate the masses about racism and ignorance (esp towards people of his own ethnicity), yet he can't help but expose his own.

Posted by jane doe | June 13, 2007 10:51 AM

A garden of elephant ears.

A lake of light.

A furrowed sky.

Warm air, tinged with the coolness of a passing shower.

A swath of short green swords with serrated edges.

Posted by Poetry | June 20, 2007 4:50 PM

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