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 Post subject: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:01 pm 
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Missing

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Missing is political filmmaker extraordinaire Costa-Gavras's compelling, controversial dramatization of the search for American journalist Charles Horman, who mysteriously disappeared during the 1973 coup in Chile. Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek give magnetic, emotionally commanding performances as Horman’s father and wife, who are led by U.S. embassy and consulate officials through a series of bureaucratic dead-ends before eventually uncovering the terrifying facts about Charles’s fate and disillusioning truths about their government. Written and directed with clarity and conscience, the Academy Award–winning Missing is a testament to Costa-Gavras's daring.

Special Features

• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• Video interviews with Costa-Gavras, Joyce Horman (wife of Charles Horman), producers Edward and Mildred Lewis and Sean Daniel, and Thomas Hauser, author of Missing, the film’s source
• Interviews from the 1982 Cannes Film Festival with Costa-Gavras, Jack Lemmon, Ed Horman (father of Charles), and Joyce Horman
• New video essay with Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File, examining declassified documents concerning the 1973 military coup in Chile and the case of Charles Horman
• Video highlights from the 2002 Charles Horman Truth Project event honoring the twentieth anniversary of Missing, with actors Sissy Spacek, John Shea, and Melanie Mayron
• Theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Wood, an interview with Costa-Gavras, the U.S. State Department’s official response to Missing, and an open letter from Horman family friend Terry Simon

Criterionforum.org user rating averages



Last edited by cdnchris on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:06 pm 
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This announcement was a pleasant surprise for me, though I see it was listed as a third-tier possibility so I guess it wasn't completely out of the blue. Rack up another Best Picture nominee for a future newsletter trivia question!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:58 pm 
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I remember seeing this for the first time at the Cannes Festival in 1982, in the days when film companies would leave tickets lying around hotel lobbies and show their films in local cinemas instead of at the Festival Hall. On the downside, I also saw Inchon and The Class of 1984. :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Great news indeed! This is one of my favorite films of the 80's and I have been very vocal and critical on Universal's lack of respect for this film. The Universal DVD release is as barebones as you can get and it doesn't even have chapters. It is actually a glorified VHS release. Lets hope that this open the gate for other Costas-Gravas films, such as Z, which recently went out-of-print.

What surprises me is that this isn't being release on Blu-Ray.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:56 pm 
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The special features look to be outstanding. Kornbluh is the natural choice for the video essay, although Steve Stern and Ariel Dorfman would have also been excellent interview subjects. It's great to Criterion venturing into the related history rather than confining the special features to things about the film itself, the filmmaker, and the work being adapted. I often wish they would do more of this, especially with films like this that are based on actual events.

I agree with dx23 that this was one of the decade's best films, and I'm happy to double dip on this one.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:17 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:22 pm
oh excellent, I actually just watched this yesterday(!) and was appalled by the quality of the Universal DVD (it actually does have chapters but does not have a menu screen nor subtitles for dialogue that is about 1/4 Spanish (burnt-in subs appear occasionally and my Spanish is decent enough for a good deal of it but still, I had the a/c running!)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:36 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Rack up another Best Picture nominee for a future newsletter trivia question!

Not to mention a Palme D'Or winner.

This has one of Jack Lemmon's most devastating scenes - Major Spoiler
[Reveal] Spoiler:
"Buried in a wall?...."


Last edited by lacritfan on Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:15 am 
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dx23 wrote:
Lets hope that this open the gate for other Costas-Gravas films, such as Z, which recently went out-of-print.

Let's hope that version of Z stays out of print. Criterion and Costa-Gavras should go well together, so hopefully this is just the first.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:52 am 
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I'll be hoping for an early Costa-Gavras eclipse, whilst his early films aren't supposed to be as good as the later Z or State of Siege they do sound very interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:12 am 
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Beev


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:14 pm 
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Missing


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:08 am 
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Well done.
This part of the review, about the "Pursuing Truth" feature, interested me in particular:
Quote:
...primarily a talking-head piece with Peter Kornbluh talking about how he and his organization were able to convince the Clinton administration to declassify a lot of the documents... There's some interesting stuff here but I think I may have been hoping for more information about the coup, Pinochet, and even more on the U.S. government's involvement other than the fact that simply, yeah, they were involved.

I'll wait to see it for myself to judge, but I expect that there is so much background to cover that it would have been impossible to fit it into anything short enough for the average viewer to want to sit through. Twenty minutes should be enough to present a reasonable summary about the coup and U.S involvement, but I would also want to put in a word about the importance of discussing the actual declassification. It is often difficult to get documents declassified even decades after the fact, and this process has become much more difficult since the beginning of the Bush Administration almost eight years ago.
Quote:
There's nothing concrete presented about Horman's death, though I wasn't expecting a "smoking gun," but the documents do allude to the fact that there was suspicion that U.S. intelligence down in Chile did play a part, either directly or indirectly, in Horman's death.

There is still nothing like a concrete account the role of U.S. intelligence here, let alone a smoking gun. The evidence remains pretty circumstantial: a former Chilean intelligence officer who was present at Horman's interrogation testified that there was someone present who "looked like an American," and the plaintiffs in the Horman case speculated that this individual would have been from the CIA, but there is nothing really to corroborate this testimony at present. The CIA's own briefings denied any direct role in his death, for whatever that's worth. The really damning evidence in the declassified State Dept. and CIA records relates to the investigation (or lack thereof) rather than the death itself: it shows a total unwillingness to investigate the killing of a U.S. citizen abroad even though they had very promising leads for specific details of what happened and whom was responsible. I hope this sheds a little more light on what's known and what isn't. I look forward to checking this out myself when it's released.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:19 pm 
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Interesting that although Universal released this and Hanna K. back-to-back, they stood behind Missing while letting Hanna K. die a quick death...I haven't seen the latter (and I doubt I'll ever be able to [at least via official release beyond VHS]: it seems like a title suitably marginalized enough that Criterion won't license it nor will Universal release it itself on DVD) and I don't want to stir the pot vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine, but I think that it's unfortunate that a movie taking a critical perspective on US involvement in the Chilean coup can get a major release from a Hollywood studio while a movie that engages with the Palestinian position in their conflicts with Israel gets dumped...Although maybe it's the more miraculous thing that Missing got any kind of support at all, given the number of worthy films mishandled by Universal, especially during the 1980s.

In any case, I look forward to more Costa-Gavras from Criterion, with The Confession at least now confirmed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:06 pm 

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Cronenfly wrote:
Interesting that although Universal released this and Hanna K. back-to-back, they stood behind Missing while letting Hanna K. die a quick death...I haven't seen the latter (and I doubt I'll ever be able to [at least via official release beyond VHS]: it seems like a title suitably marginalized enough that Criterion won't license it nor will Universal release it itself on DVD) and I don't want to stir the pot vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine, but I think that it's unfortunate that a movie taking a critical perspective on US involvement in the Chilean coup can get a major release from a Hollywood studio while a movie that engages with the Palestinian position in their conflicts with Israel gets dumped...Although maybe it's the more miraculous thing that Missing got any kind of support at all, given the number of worthy films mishandled by Universal, especially during the 1980s.

In any case, I look forward to more Costa-Gavras from Criterion, with The Confession at least now confirmed.

Section Speciale and Clair De Femme by Costa Gravas are both listed as being Janus films on IMDB. Not that it means anything.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:09 pm 
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Ugh what a horrible little film. It's clunky, poorly acted, and stereotypes everything it touches. It shows nothing concrete about the coup and smacks of gringo voyerism. It's like a slasher film for liberal undergrads with a Che hard-on, handing out equal doses of pleasure and fear willy nilly.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:07 pm 
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It's not really about the coup; it's about what happened immediately after. Too much happened to show, and depicting the events of, say, the constitutional crisis or Allende's death -- as interesting as I think these are -- would have taken the focus off the experience of the Hormans and the specific issue of the disappearances.

What did you feel was stereotyped? I know, "everything," but would you care to elaborate?


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:51 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
It's not really about the coup; it's about what happened immediately after. Too much happened to show, and depicting the events of, say, the constitutional crisis or Allende's death -- as interesting as I think these are -- would have taken the focus off the experience of the Hormans and the specific issue of the disappearances.


I guess I found the story of the Hormans worthy of a sidebar at most. But when I say nothing concrete about the coup or its aftermath is revealed, I mean the film spends two hours mystifying the coup. The viewer knows nothing more going out about the coup, the reasoning of the government, the reasoning the the Pinochet faction, the reasoning of the US Government, etc. than he did coming in. Machine gun fire is erupting through the entire film, but the film doe not want to explain why this person is shooting that person, because that would start demystifying the setting. And you can't do that in a slasher film. The entire world-shaking event of the Chilean coup is merely a backdrop to serve the psychological thrills of a Hollywood thriller.

Gregory wrote:
What did you feel was stereotyped? I know, "everything," but would you care to elaborate?


Not a single Chilean character in the film has a story to tell. Not one. They're either waving their guns threateningly at white people or laying dead in the street. They hardly even talk. (on a related note- the spanish that wasn't translated was a whole lot more interesting than the spanish that was- very bizarre choices of what to subttle and what not to)

The gringo couple is embarrassingly pure. So pure that even the mention of sexual deviancy brings gasps of astonishment to their lips. Of course, the evil secret US government agent wants to fuck the wife. That's what makes him evil- his sexual deviancy.

Speaking of evil US government officials, the ambassador's grand confession at the end that the US was doing all this so that US firms could continue business in Chile showed me how Costa-Gravas misunderstood the whole situation: Chile (and El Salvador and Nicaragua) was all about ideology and Cold War cocksterism, not money.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:37 pm 
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Your first and second paragraphs are completely valid criticisms, which I largely agree with. Like it or not, the Hormans are overwhelmingly the topic of the film, though I concur that more of the surrounding issues could have been worked in to the film's benefit. The main thing I'd argue is that nearly every historical film has omissions in terms of events, context, and the subjects who are allowed to appear as significant actors -- often huge omissions. Matewan is another '80s film that I feel suffers from major omissions, but the fact that it got made in Reaganite America is notable. And Missing was a Hollywood film! You're right to point out these flaws, but one has to consider what the vast majority of the viewing audience would have even a remote interest in sitting through. I'm not arguing for dumbing down, of course. I don't know what the answer is on how to make better political films within the major studios.

As for your final point, I believe that the Cold War ideology served as a pretext for policies that had everything to do with business. Why else would the U.S. consistently label "Communist" so many individuals and groups in other countries who in fact had basically nothing to do with Communism throughout most of the century (Guatemala, Brazil etc.)? Anti-communist sentiment was what allowed much of Congress to go along with what the State Department was doing. Within U.S. policy, the spread of "Communism" was code for much broader patterns of nationalist sentiments and nationalization of industries that direct threatened U.S. business in the postwar era. Anyway, even if one happens to disagree with this, it's still a valid point of view and doesn't really constitute a flaw in the film, at least as far as I can see.
By the way, what do you mean by "cocksterism"? This is a sincere question. Google takes me to Urban Dictionary, which tells me a cockster is a young man who tries to fuck elderly women.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:50 pm 
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The statement is nonsensical. Ideologically, the term cold war refers to the struggle between Soviet communism and western capitalism. Which, of course, has everything to do with money.

Your claim that the United State's operations in Central and South America during the '70s and '80s were not about money is particularly untenable, and flatly refuted by the internal record. At no point was any Latin American state believed to be a serious military threat. Rather, the terror was justified by the need to put these states along the correct path of economic development.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:28 am 
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Gregory wrote:
By the way, what do you mean by "cocksterism"? This is a sincere question. Google takes me to Urban Dictionary, which tells me a cockster is a young man who tries to fuck elderly women.


Maybe I used the wrong term. What is it called when you wave your cock around in the men's locker room to show yours is bigger?


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:31 am 
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Perhaps we might settle on 'bravado'.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:58 am 
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Binker wrote:
The statement is nonsensical. Ideologically, the term cold war refers to the struggle between Soviet communism and western capitalism. Which, of course, has everything to do with money.


No it doesn't. Lubbock, Texas has more US business interests in its borders than El Salvador ever did. Is that why we built the World's 2nd largest embassy in El Salvador? Of course not.

Binker wrote:
Your claim that the United State's operations in Central and South America during the '70s and '80s were not about money is particularly untenable, and flatly refuted by the internal record.


What is this internal record, and can I subscribe to its newsletter?

Binker wrote:
At no point was any Latin American state believed to be a serious military threat. Rather, the terror was justified by the need to put these states along the correct path of economic development.


Of course the US used economics as its justification. They also used God. But atheism doesn't carry much sway in Latin America. How else could they justify their actions to their populace? We would like to think that US involvement was a matter of economic necessity, but in fact, it was government people protecting their territory.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:53 am 
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My previous post was sort of skipped over, so I'll pardon myself for jumping in here, and I plan to make this one my last for now, partly because we're too off-topic and I don't people generally can be convinced about fundamental political matters based on internet forum discussions.
GringoTex wrote:
Lubbock, Texas has more US business interests in its borders than El Salvador ever did. Is that why we built the World's 2nd largest embassy in El Salvador? Of course not.

I don't quite understand what you're saying here, but it's worth pointing out that U.S. Embassies have long written voluminous reports related to economic trends, conditions for foreign investment, etc.
GringoTex wrote:
What is this internal record, and can I subscribe to its newsletter?

Your local research library might have some of the relevant subscriptions such as the Declassified Documents Reference System, Digital National Security Archive, and LexisNexis Congressional.
There is also a set of volumes titled Foreign Relations of the United States that most university libraries will have, but they only contain a smattering of the internal record. National Security Council records and Department of State Office for Intra-American Affairs documents are only available through the early '60s last time I checked. This is just for starters.
Regardless of how you're sincere your question about what the internal record is, I wanted to point out that it is possible to read it, and the results can be interesting. What I've found is that when people in the State Department are talking candidly (quite different from speechmaking) they're not talking at all about capitalism, Leninist ideology, or how to preserve a democratic way of life. They're talking about things like their fear of increasing nationalization of industry and what that would mean for U.S. business interests. There's a long history of U.S. interventions in Latin America that were explicitly intended to protect U.S. investments, and this goes back long before the Cold War, and this kind of thing didn't end with the Cold War, either. The Communist pretext stretched beyond all bounds of credibility even during the Cold War, as I alluded to earlier.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:43 am 
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Quote:
No it doesn't. Lubbock, Texas has more US business interests in its borders than El Salvador ever did. Is that why we built the World's 2nd largest embassy in El Salvador? Of course not.


I can't figure out if you're arguing that the cold war had nothing to do with money or that the US does not have significant business interests in Latin America. Neither position is one I'm particularly interested in refuting.

Quote:
Of course the US used economics as its justification. They also used God. But atheism doesn't carry much sway in Latin America. How else could they justify their actions to their populace? We would like to think that US involvement was a matter of economic necessity, but in fact, it was government people protecting their territory.


Again, I'm having trouble following your argument. Perhaps "justified" was the wrong word to use. Preventing "radical nationalism", protecting US interests, and promoting top-down economic development are some of the justifications you will find within internal documents of the US govt. for intervention in Latin America. The justifications presented to US citizens (when the actions weren't covert) were decidedly different, and almost uniformly security-based. "The Soviet wolf is at the door", etc.

Let me also be clear that just because I recognize the reasons behind US adventurism in Latin America to be primarily economic does not mean I believe it was a matter of economic necessity.

I'm with Gregory, this is all pretty tangential to the film, so I'll let you have the last word.

Regarding internet forum political discussions in general, I'm also pretty hesitant, not because I feel like no one will ever be convinced (I find this is true in even the most academic of political discourse), but because I know I possess neither the desire nor the energy to have them in an intelligent way. You were right to call out my invocation of the "internal record." It's lazy argumentation, but frankly I'm not much up for reviewing State Department docs to make a point on the internet.


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 Post subject: Re: 449 Missing
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:28 pm 

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Has anyone noticed a glitch around 1 hour and 53 minutes. Jack Lemon is on the phone and the picture seems to jump. It doesn't look like a DVD problem, but more of an edit. Has anyone noticed this or has any insight. Thanks.


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