La Meglio gioventù
starring Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Adriana Asti, Sonia Bergamasco
screenplay by Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli
directed by Marco Tullio Giordana
starring Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Börje Ahlstedt, Julia Dufvenius
written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
by Walter Chaw Television is the great bogey of the modern era. Newton Minnow's vast wasteland. Marshall McLuhan's "massage." The corruptor of youth and the opiate of the people. The glass teat. Although it's been excoriated as the prime example of what happens to art when commerce intrudes upon it, when the moneymen at the gates break through to undermine the best intentions of television artists yearning to break free, I think it's more complicated than that. I think that television, like any other popular medium, is a cathode stethoscope held against the chest of the spirit of the world--a conduit to both what's good and what's venal in any culture. There are as many, maybe more, classics being produced for television now as there were during its Golden Age (and the good old days weren't always good, besides), it's just that we have more chaff to sift through before we get to the wheat nowadays--but more wheat, too. Say this for TV: it seems more capable of recognizing a hunger for quality than film does. Credit the smaller budgets and quicker turnarounds--something that's put cinema in the catch-up position in the early years of the new millennium.