Archive for August, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

The Nobel Prize-winning author whose “damning accounts of the horrors of Soviet labor camps earned him international fame and prompted Soviet authorities to send him into exile abroad” has died of heart failure at 89 (read more at the Moscow Times): Tributes to Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago and The First Circle, among others, continue to pour in from around the world: In the Guardian, he was praised by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and former Russian president Vladimir Putin; the New York Times hailed him as a “literary giant” and the Washington Post wrote that “his text was the nightmare of Marxism-Leninism, and he exposed its flaws in ways from which it never recovered”; and the BBC compiled more tributes, including comments by French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Most importantly, the BBC has posted Solzhenitsyn in his own words. More from STOP SMILING soon.

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Elliott Gould Brings it Back Home

This weekend marks the beginning of a 10-film retrospective at the BAMcinematek for Elliott Gould in the actor’s hometown of Brooklyn: Now Gould, one of the central players in STOP SMILING’s recent 14-page cover story tribute to the quintessential gambling film California Split, has been the toast of the New York arts pages. In the New York Times, Dennis Lim celebrates Gould’s body of work, and offers insights from the Bensonhurst native’s days as “Mr. Streisand” to his “existential walkabout” after working with Ingmar Bergman (related: click here to read about Bergman’s impact on Sweden’s divorce rate); and in the New York Sun, Bruce Bennet writes that Gould “did indeed personify the Nixon-era antihero in all its three-dimensionally neurotic glory” and that, despite living in Los Angeles, he remains “a son of Brooklyn.” “‘I was brought up in Brooklyn, yeah,'” [Gould] confirmed before ticking off his childhood address on Olympic Parkway (pre-ZIP-code single-digit postal code and all) as if reciting it to a police officer.”

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