G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”
Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~
Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”
Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”
John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."
Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”
विलास सारंग: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Monday, August 30, 2010
I have enormous respect for Jayant Narlikar (जयंत नारळीकर).
I have most of his Marathi books (a few of them little boring). I read whatever I come across written by him.
He has been a great science popularizer in Marathi and has led a campaign against superstitions and astrology. He has proven himself to be an institution builder and is famous as much for his integrity and honesty as his science.
He is humble and reportedly lives a simple life.
He has appeared on this blog a few times earlier.
Narlikar has started writing for The Asian Age. His first article there appeared on April 28 2010 on the subject of The Large Hadron Collider(LHC).
Narlikar is irritated by the media hype created by LHC and wonders if stands for 'large hype creator'.
He is right. Even Marathi news channels go into tizzy talking about LHC.
Will people in media ever behave differently because of Narlikar's essays?
I have been reading 'Sceptical Essays' by Bertrand Russell. John Gray has written a preface to it.
Gray says of Russell: "...As reformed he believed reason could save the world. As a sceptical follower of Hume he knew reason could never be more than the slave of the passions. Sceptical Essays was written as a defence of rational doubt. Today we read it as a confession of faith, the testament of a crusading rationalist who doubted the power of reason."
(As I said earlier, Vinda's 'Ashtadarshane' (अष्टदर्शने),2003 remains moth-eaten without David Hume.)
Electronic media is a business where passions masquerade as facts. Reason can never trump passions there.
The next question is: Will readers of Narlikar behave differently?
Narlikar has often expressed his unhappiness (disgust?) over continued popularity of pseudoscience of astrology. (At Miraj, where our next door neighbour was an astrologer, I witnessed how even very poor people went to him to seek divine intervention for very complex problems in their lives.)
John Gray says:"...As a sceptical philosopher, Russell knew that science could not make humanity more rational, for science is itself the product of irrational beliefs..."
In Russell's own words:"...The great scandals in the philosophy of science ever since the time of Hume have been causality and induction. We all believe in both, but Hume made it appear that our belief is a blind faith for which no rational ground can be assigned..."
Do those who believe in astrology innately know this?
Not everyone believes in Joseph Conrad's (or G A Kulkarni's जी. ए. कुलकर्णी) sceptical fatalism.
And even if they do, some of them probably still try astrology - like prayer or voodoo- as a last ditch effort to control their fate.
People have always danced to the tune of miracle, mystery and authority. Religion provides them.
And so do many others like LHC.
Artist: Stan Hunt, The New Yorker, July 28 1986
Friday, August 27, 2010
Caption reads in English- Aurangzeb: "This is brilliant, Samarth! I understand, for all your life, you spied for me and were on our payroll; but until the end even I never got to know about both! Secrecy has to be maintained like this!! Bravo..."
Artist: Vasant Sarwate (1969) sourced from his book "The Best of Sarwate" editor: Avadhoot Paralkar, Lokvangmay Gruh 2008
वसंत सरवटे (1969) "सरवोत्तम सरवटे" संपादक: अवधूत परळकर, लोकवाङ्मय गृह 2008
I have extended Sarwate's caption as follows:
Aurangzeb continues:"...In fact, I have also learnt that a few years back you went into a dream of a guy called James Laine, in order to motivate him to write a book on Shiva...Alas I wish I knew how easy it was to fight Marathis off each other. No need of money or maidens. Why did I die a sad man on Deccan soil for them? Just a book or a statue would have done the job...By the way, you are lucky, Laine hasn't thanked you for the motivation."
Please note that Samarth Ramdas (1608-1681) and Aurangzeb (1618-1707) probably never met. At least, I have not read about such an event. However, there were efforts made in the last century to malign Samarth Ramdas. Vasant Sarwate is looking at such attempts comically.
Samarth Ramdas continues to be a hugely popular figure among masses of Maharashtra. He also is one of the greatest writers in Marathi.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
"If this trend continues, nations all over the world will soon be producing generations of useful, docile, technically trained machines, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticise tradition, and understand the significance of another person's sufferings and achievements."
ASHLEE VANCE: "Microsoft’s engineers and executives spent two years creating a new line of smartphones with playful names that sounded like creatures straight out of “The Cat in the Hat” — Kin One and Kin Two. Stylish designs, an emphasis on flashy social-networking features and an all-out marketing blitz were meant to prove that Microsoft could build the right product at the right time for the finickiest customers — gossiping youngsters with gadget skills.
But last week, less than two months after the Kins arrived in stores, Microsoft said it would kill the products." (NYT, July 4 2010)
The Founder-Chairman of Infosys Technologies, Mr. Narayana Murthy is very fond of Microsoft and Bill Gates. On TV, some day in 2010, he looked very proud when he said that his son worked as a fellow at Microsoft.
The history of the PC shows that very few innovations originated within Microsoft. All the company has done is roll them into its operating systems and drive their popularity - often leading the companies that did invent them to their demise.
How is India as a country doing in innovation?
"For a nation that prides itself on jugaad, the North Indianism for spunky innovativeness and lateral thinking, it can’t be comforting to find it has slipped in the global innovation index. How far India has gone down in the Insead-CII innovation index is difficult to say since this year’s rank of 56 out of 130 countries compares with last year’s 43rd position out of 107 countries — China is also down six places, though at 43rd, it is ranked above India..." (March 5 2010)
How is India's IT industry doing in innovation?
Sunil Mani writes:
"India is variously described as a knowledge-based economy in the making, thanks essentially due to her high economic growth and the role played by knowledge-intensive sectors such as information technology in spurring and maintaining this growth performance. This paper looks at the empirical evidence on whether this is indeed the case since the reform process began in 1991. A variety of conventional indicators are analysed and their movements over the last two decades or so are charted to draw some firm conclusions. The results show that instances of innovation are restricted to a few areas such as the pharmaceutical industry. Further, increasingly most of the innovations in industry are contributed by foreign firms operating in the country...
...In short, it may not be incorrect to draw the conclusion that India’s pharmaceutical and IT industries are becoming innovative, although domestic enterprises are more active innovators only in the former while it is the MNCs that are active in the latter..."
(EPW, Nov 14-20 2009)
Domestic IT enterprises are NOT ACTIVE INNOVATORS but pharmaceutical enterprises ARE ACTIVE INNOVATORS. No wonder they like Microsoft.
DICK BRASS who once was a vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004 wrote:
"...Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive. At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence. It’s not an accident that almost all the executives in charge of Microsoft’s music, e-books, phone, online, search and tablet efforts over the past decade have left.
As a result, while the company has had a truly amazing past and an enviably prosperous present, unless it regains its creative spark, it’s an open question whether it has much of a future."
(NYT, February 4, 2010)
When some day in near future, as Mr. Murthy's flight is ready to land as depicted in the picture below, will he notice absence of Microsoft around him?
Artist: Ward Sutton, The New Yorker, April 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Read the news-item in Marathi here.
Marathi indeed has grown up. Just 18 more lacs and we shall have 8-digit figure.
Poor Marathi writers. Read a related post here.
To me, this Pune resembles, more and more, Ghashiram Kotwal's Pune by every passing day.
Artist: Robert Kraus, The New Yorker, December 29 1962
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I have often wondered how similar, many prosperous Indian middle-class and right-wing Americans are: Obsessed with Islam and mosque. Babri or WTC. One demolished, one yet to be erected.
I was privileged to attend Narhar Kurundkar's (नरहर कुरुंदकर) many public lectures in Miraj during yearly Vasant Vyakhyan Mala (वसंत व्याख्यान माला) in later half of 1970's. [Our teacher Vasantrao Agashe (वसंतराव आगाशे) worked tirelessly for the event every year.]
Once Kurundkar told his majority Brahmin audience that he was now going to praise Mahatma Gandhi knowing fully well that his audience disliked, if not hated, Gandhi! (Kurundkar was a staunch Gandhian but he was happy that Pakistan was created.)
As I have noted earlier, in Brahmin Marathi middle-class homes, seldom a family gathering perhaps passes without tongue-lashing at either Muslims or North Indians or affirmative-action or all of them.
If a Pew poll were to be taken about J L Nehru among Brahmin Maharashtrians in late 1940's, 18% would surely have said Nehru, and even M K Gandhi, were Muslims!
While reviewing "Voyager" By Stephen J. Pyne, Prof GLENN HARLAN REYNOLDS notes with disappointment:
"...It remains to be seen whether today's intellectual legacy will be as impressive. The signs of late have not been encouraging. Witness the recent statement by President Obama's appointee to head NASA, Charles Bolden, who said that his "perhaps foremost" mission is to "engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."..." (WSJ, July 19 2010)
I wonder why Mr. Reynolds doesn't find this encouraging. Sure, many Muslims already know this. But isn't a bit special for them to hear it from the chief of NASA?
If such a statement were to be made by NASA chief about medieval India's contribution to science and technology, he would become a household name. After all isn't NASA more popular and respected- who can forget hoopla over Indian-American Kalpana Chawla's travel in space shuttle Columbia- here than it is in US?
I think Charles Bolden's statement is one of the most matured statements I have read made by a Westerner in high position in recent times. It will surely help US build bridges to Islamic cultures.
As for achievements of Muslims in science, math and engineering, read S. Frederick Starr.
"...In AD 998, two young men living nearly 200 miles apart, in present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, entered into a correspondence. With verbal jousting that would not sound out of place in a 21st-century laboratory, they debated 18 questions, several of which resonate strongly even today.
Are there other solar systems out among the stars, they asked, or are we alone in the universe? In Europe, this question was to remain open for another 500 years, but to these two men it seemed clear that we are not alone.
They also asked if the earth had been created whole and complete, or if it had evolved over time.
Time, they agreed, is a continuum with no beginning or end. In other words, they rejected creationism and anticipated evolutionary geology and even Darwinism by nearly a millennium. This was all as heretical to the Muslim faith they professed as it was to medieval Christianity.
Few exchanges in the history of science have so boldly leapt into the future as this one, which occurred a thousand years ago in a region now regarded as a backwater. We know of it because a few copies of it survived in manuscript and were published almost a millennium later. Twenty-six-year-old Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni, or al-Biruni (973–1048), hailed from near the Aral Sea and went on to distinguish himself in geography, mathematics, trigonometry, comparative religion, astronomy, physics, geology, psychology, mineralogy, and pharmacology. His counterpart, Abu Ali Sina, or Ibn Sina (ca. 980–1037), was from the stately city of Bukhara, the great seat of learning in what is now Uzbekistan. He made his mark in medicine, philosophy, physics, chemistry, astronomy, theology, clinical pharmacology, physiology, ethics, and even music. When eventually Ibn Sina’s great Canon of Medicine was translated into Latin, it triggered the start of modern medicine in the West. Together, the two are regarded as among the greatest scientific minds between antiquity and the Renaissance..."
Remember Omar Khayyam (1048—1131) was a poet, rebel and astronomer!
It was he who developed a calendar which had an error of one day in 3,770 years (superior to the Gregorian calendar with an error of one day in 3,330 years). It was based on his amazingly accurate determination of the length of the year as 365.242199 days. The length of the year is currently 365.242190 days... (from Justin Marozzi's review 'Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer /His own man' by Hazhir Teimourian for The Spectator, 21st November 2007).
Was he also a tent maker?
Artist: Ed Fisher, The New Yorker, 26 March 1990
My caption: Your calendar is a miracle Mr. Khayyam- but actually I asked you to drop by so we could discuss my daughter's horoscope. They say Mars there may cast an evil eye on her marital life.
p.s This post was published on August 22 2010. And I came across following cartoon on August 24 2010. We waste reams of paper only to discover a Luckovich! Isn't he a modern master? Look at the eyes of the Indian and American frogs in a well...err pot. They reflect their attitudes.
Artist: Mike Luckovich
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Now, I neither feel like ignoring them nor accepting them.
His facebook page now has become a kind of his samadhi (समाधी) / memorial. People paying their last respects, leaving flowers, singing a song, missing him...
JENNA WORTHAM writes about the kind of awkward issues Facebook is facing when a member dies: "As Facebook Users Die, Ghosts Reach Out" (NYT, July 18 2010).
I only wish Chitre's ghost did not reach out here in Pune anytime soon because there are some people in his native Maharashtra, in his Tukaram's Maharashtra, who want him to be arrested! (Read a related post here.)
Look at following picture: There a jailer is ordering the ghost of a former inmate to leave because he had already paid his debt to the society by serving his jail term.
And here we want to arrest a world-class artist, after his death, an artist who paid far more than his due debt- if there is such a thing- to the Indian society during his lifetime.
Artist: Dana Fradon, The New Yorker, April 6 1963
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I owe a debt to Nalanda for two reasons.
First for providing a beautiful locale for a wonderful song from Vijay Anand directed Johny Mera Naam (1970)- "O Mera Raja" and then for being a great seat of learning in the past...In that order!
This is on the lines of what P L Deshpande (पु ल देशपांडे ) said about Maharashtra's debt to three Chhatre's (छत्रे)- Snack manufacturer (चिवडेवाले ), circus propeitor (सर्कसवाले ) and mathematician (गणिती). The debt should be considered in descending order!
[p.s There is a moving wordportrait of the 'last' Chhatre - mathematician one- Kerunana Chhatre in Y D Phadke's (य. दि. फडके) 'Agarkar' (आगरकर )]
Has an Indian woman ever looked more beautiful than Hema Malini in that movie? But don't ignore Nalanda in the background.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
[p.s. In the finale of this contest, televised on August 15 2010, which I watched for first 10 minutes, there were tasteless jokes about Birbal and Jodha Bai. I feel terribly ashamed of this.]
Since Prithviraj Kapoor's theatrical performance as Akbar in Mughal-e-Azam (1960), he has been up for some fun for last fifty years.
Akbar does not mind. Neither has it seemed Akbar's supporters.
Shahu IV (1874-1922), aka Rajarshi Shahu, used to rever both Akbar and Shivaji. Even Shivaji has praised Akbar in glowing terms to his great-grandson Aurangzeb in a famous letter.
Will Shivaji's followers tolerate even a slight fun of him?
Isn't Akbar as much ours as Shivaji?
Sunday, August 08, 2010
“When it’s all added up, papa, it will be: he wrote a few good stories, had a novel and fresh approach to reality and he destroyed five persons – Hadley, Pauline, Marty [Gellhorn], Patrick, and possibly myself. Which do you think is the most important, your self-centred shit, the stories or the people?”
"In a sense William Shakespeare's greatest achievement in life wasn't writing Hamlet or the sonnets but just surviving his first year."
"What is more courageous, militancy or a middle-class life? Fleeing for freedom or remaining loyal to a family?"
I really like writings of Natyachhatakar Diwakar (नाट्यछटाकार दिवाकर) who was inspired by Robert Browning's dramatic monologues.
I have liked him since I was in primary school. Later, I discovered that I was in excellent company. Vijay Tendulkar (विजय तेंडुलकर), Sadanand Rege (सदानंद रेगे), Durga Bhagwat (दुर्गा भागवत), Madhav Julian (माधव जूलियन) too were his big fans.
(Similar to his poems on likes of Keshavsut केशवसुत, D G Godse द ग गोडसे and a few others, Rege has written a very moving poem on Diwakar.)
In March 2010, at a book exhibition held during "akhil bharatiya marathi sahitya sammelan" (अखिल भारतीय मराठी साहित्य संमेलन), I acquired 'Samagra Diwakar' (समग्र दिवाकर) edited by Sarojini Vaidya (सरोजिनी वैद्य), 1996.
Reading it I learnt Diwakar lost his three out of four kids and wife during his rather short life: 1889-1931. (His only surviving daughter died within eight months of his death at the age of sixteen!)
Diwakar's only son, Ramchandra, lost his mother at the age of just three and he himself died at the age of eight. It means Diwakar was his only parent for almost five years.
And this is what Diwakar wrote in his diary when Ramchandra died:
"...son Ramu since birth was sickly and weak. But his luck was wretched! Only his mother, until her death, might have embraced him and cuddled him. But I - his father- don't remember if, in his entire life of eight years, I ever embraced him. Let alone kissing with affection etc..."
(an entry in Diwakar's diary dated Feb 27 1922; page no 413-414 ibid)
("...चिरंजीव रामू हा जन्मापासूनचा रोगी व अशक्त. पण बिचार्याचे दैव मोठे खडतर. आई मरेपर्यंत तिने काय त्याला जवळ घेतला असेल किंवा कुरवाळले असेल इतकेच. पण मला - त्याच्या बापाला- काही आठवत नाही की त्याच्या आठ वर्षाँच्या आयुष्यात, एकदा तरी मी त्याला जवळ घेतला आहे असे! मग प्रेमाने मुके वगैरे घेण्याच्या गोष्टी तर दूरच!...")
Will I - 'lucky bastard' who constantly got his mother's deep affection until he turned 46- ever begin to understand the pain of that sickly kid Ramu who lost his mother at the age of three and was ignored by his learned and 'ultra sensitive' father for the rest of his life?
Ramu's (and his sisters' and mother's) tragedy, in my eyes, dwarfs his father's entire literature.
Romantic Robert Browning won't do to help describe it. Shakespeare or, even better, Sophocles has to be summoned because it is he who supposed to have said "that to never have been born may be the greatest boon of all."
Ramu, very likely, would agree.
Would Diwakar have been a lesser man if he remained 'ordinary' by dedicating his limited resources towards cuddling kids, appreciating his wife's cooking, being grateful to his larger family's support in looking after him and his kids after his wife's death instead of pursuing higher arts?
Didn't he like kids? If he didn't, why did he produce them? (His wife died in child birth.)
If Ram Ganesh Gadkari (राम गणेश गडकरी)- who was Diwakar's friend- were to write a tragedy based on Diwakar's life, where the protagonist is addicted to books and intellectual pursuits instead of liquor, it would have been more tear-jerking than his celebrated play 'Ekach Pyala' (एकच प्याला) that describes how addiction to booze eventually destroys a happy family.
What are the forces that drive artists like Diwakar?
Was Diwakar following the tradition of 'romantics' from England?
Ben Downing argues reviewing a recent biography of Byron, Shelley and their circle (YOUNG ROMANTICS / The Tangled Lives of English Poetry’s Greatest Generation By Daisy Hay) that the women and children in their lives too suffered mightily.
"...But if you do read “Young Romantics,” be prepared to come away outraged and depressed. The real calamities here aren’t so much the early deaths of Shelley and Byron as those of their dependents.
Shelley’s abandoned first wife committed suicide, and all but one of the four children he had with his second wife, Mary, died young. Claire Clairmont, meanwhile, had the daughter she’d conceived with Byron imperiously stripped from her by the poet, who, quickly tiring of the girl, stuffed her in a convent, where she too soon died. There was also a baby of mysterious parentage, registered as Elena Shelley, who survived only 18 months. In short, the two poets left the Italian peninsula, along with a few spots in England, strewn with dead relations. While they cannot entirely be blamed, it’s hard not to conclude that their callousness, selfishness, impulsiveness and bullying demand for “free love” were ruinous to those around them (though in truth only Shelley idealized his lusts, the cynical Byron merely pouncing where he could).
This is hardly a fresh observation, of course, but it is powerfully reinforced by “Young Romantics,” which brings home to a rare degree just how destructive were the poets’ experiments in unfettered living. Even Leigh Hunt, a far more consistently kind and decent chap than Byron or Shelley, made his wife miserable by maintaining an uncomfortably close relationship with her sister and blithely failing to provide for his large brood.
Not that Hay harps on any of this. To her great credit, she never lapses into censoriousness, approaching all her characters, men and women alike, with just the right blend of detachment and sympathy. Yet by concentrating so steadily on their relationships, she inevitably draws attention to the imbalances and (as Clairmont insisted) cruelties within them. Her book winds up being as much a study of domestic arrogance as an exploration of friendship..."
(The New York Times, Sunday Book Review, July 1 2010)
Diwakar is not alone.
If I consider the 'romantics' writing in Marathi in first half of 20th century, the picture on their domestic front is not pretty.
So the dilemma I face is this: Do I still like as well as respect Diwakar?
Ms, Hokinson (1893–1949), who tragically died in a plane accident, is one of the great cartoonists I have come across.
She is one of a kind. I find no words to describe my pleasure when I see some of her pictures. Following is one such.
Is she quizzing us or amusing? Our technology may have gone far beyond the longplay records that are there in the picture but will we ever overgrow the feelings expressed there?
Artist: Helen E. Hokinson, The New Yorker, January 17 1948
Thursday, August 05, 2010
“Both the Mafia and America have roots in Europe……Basically, both the Mafia and America feel they are benevolent organisations. Both the Mafia and America have their hands stained with blood from what is necessary to do to protect their power and interests. Both are totally capitalistic phenomena and basically have a profit motive.”
It was widely reported in Indian newspapers on July 31 2010 that "Chelsea Clinton's future father-in-law is a convicted fraudster".
Why should it matter?
This is what Sarah Churchwell said about President J F Kennedy's- whose portrait in 1970's hung even in 'lowly' corner restaurant called Bharat Bhuvan (भारत भुवन) in Miraj- father:
"...In his monetary dealings, Joe Kennedy was a democrat: he would screw almost anyone. Otherwise, his politics were closer to fascism: his advice to the overwhelmingly Jewish heads of film studios during the second world war was to appease Hitler by ceasing to make "anti-Nazi pictures". What Kennedy learned best from Hollywood, however, was the importance of branding and myth-making: he was an early manipulator of the cult of personality. His talent for pious façades camouflaging covert manipulation only came to fruition with his sons' political careers, as he instructed them: "It's not what you are, but what people think you are that is important.".."
Is that the second reason- because first is obvious- following picture reminded me of Sonny Corleone (James Caan) from Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather"?
Artist: Mike Luckovich
Monday, August 02, 2010
I haven't seen anything by him yet for which I feel bad. But what the hell...I haven't still read even one line from Eknath's (एकनाथ) "Bhagwat" (भागवत) . So much to do, so little time...
Do I understand anything called theatre? I think not.
But I like compositions- "The spatial property resulting from the arrangement of parts in relation to each other and to the whole."
I felt moved by following composition from Kendre's play.
from Bhasa’s 'Madhyamavyayoga' (मध्यमव्यायोग) in Hindi, Kendre's first interpretation of a Sanskrit work
courtesy: The Asian Age July 23 2010
It's a great pity that I have neither read or seen a single full length play of great Bhasa who earlier appears on this blog here and there.
Kendre's 'Madhyam Vyayog' brought to my mind when I was last moved by a similar theatrical composition.
When I first saw it, I couldn't take my eyes off the following picture. Even today it shakes me. What are they going to do next?
This is from FRIEDRICH SCHILLER's German epic “Don Carlos” directed by Michael Grandage.
The Economist (Feb 17th 2005) did one of the most impressive art reviews I have read.
"Whatever you do, don't miss “Don Carlos”...“Don Carlos” was written two years before the French revolution, and the good men belong to that time. Carlos, the king's son, and his friend the Marquis of Posa favour humanity, liberty and freedom of speech. Posa almost persuades Phillip of the case for freedom. But, true to history, when the curtain falls, the good men have lost. The dramatic climax is the entrance of the real villain—the imposing, sinister figure of the Inquisitor, clothed in a cardinal's scarlet. When he instructs the king in his duty to God and the Roman Catholic church, Phillip does his bidding—but Schiller has made the case against tyranny. Mr Grandage declares that the message rings no less true, and is no less relevant, on Shaftesbury Avenue in 2005..."