East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


That time Gandhi wrote to Hitler

I got this photo through the Ancient Explorers group1. In July 1939, Gandhi wrote a letter to Adolf Hitler. Basically, telling him not to be a dick – but in a classier way.


These few lines, that show the courtesy and tact of a sensible man trying to tackle a very poisonous snake, got me thinking. Continue reading


The Shanghai Gesture


Our story has nothing to do with the present.

There is this card, at the very beginning of Joseph von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture – a simple card, that shifts the action of this unusual pulpish noir shot in 1941 from the real world to a parallel dimension.
The card was placed there upon request by the censors – that were afraid the movie could have some bad effects on the morale of the men fighting in the Pacific.
It was 1941.

That card is one – but only one – of the many elements that make it one of the films I like to re-watch.
It’s stylish, cruel, as dark and as they come, and wildly exotic.

Continue reading