Wes Anderson’s newest film turns out to be a tribute to a trio of Jewish emigre artists. A.J. Goldmann charts their influence on Anderson’s ‘Budapest Hotel.’
Understanding how a nation can embrace anti-Semitic tyranny is a complex problem. “Letters to Hitler”, out in May from Polity Books, helps explain the matter. Historian Henrik Eberle, co-author of “The Hitler Book,” has selected from thousands of letters written by Germans of all ages from 1925 to 1945 from a collection found in Moscow’s KGB Special Archive, where they were transported after the war.
Comedy, explained Aristotle, has a vague history, because at first no one took it seriously. We cannot know for certain if Aristotle was deadpanning, but his observation would amuse Saul Austerlitz. According to Austerlitz, American film comedy has not been taken seriously, either. In fact, the author quips, it is American film’s “bastard stepchild.” With his latest book “Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy,” Austerlitz gives us a broad survey of the genre, hoping to spark debate.
The Hungarian poet Béla Balázs (1884–1949), born Herbert Bauer to a German Jewish family in Szeged, is best remembered for his libretto to Béla Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle and the scenario for Bartók’s ballet The Wooden Prince. Yet he was also a pioneering film theorist, as a compelling new publication from Berghahn Books, “Béla Balázs: Early Film Theory: ‘Visible Man’ and ‘The Spirit of Film’” reminds us.