SCREEN TnThe Question Always With UsnThe Year of Living Dangerously;nWritten by David Williamson, PeternWeir, and C.J. Koch (from the novelnby C. J. Koch); Directed by PeternWeir; MGM/UA Entertainment Co.nWhat Is to be Done.” was publishednby Leo Tolstoy in 1884. The question isnrepeated by a dwarf; the fictional timenand place are 1965 in Jakarta, Indonesia.nThe dwarf and the question made manifestnwere captured by Australian directornPeter Weir in 1982. Weir’s film ThenYear of Living Dangerously appears innmany American theaters in 1983. Whatnis to be done? Nearly 100 years afternTolstoy’s formulation through the NewnTestament, 20 years after the repetitionnby the dwarf, the question remains to benanswered. Peter Weir doesn’t provide ansolution, but he portrays the questionnmore effectively than Richard Attenboroughndoes in Gandhi, which essentiallyndeals with the same concern. Thenimplied object of the question is, ofncourse, “for the poor.” Living Dangerouslynoperates on a number of levels.nOn one, the question of the poor isntreated on a broad social scale. However,nWeir doesn’t succumb to the panoramic;nhe makes the question concrete by individualizingnit: he shows the death of ansingle infant whose mother, like hernpeers on the edge of destitution, treatsncontaminated water as potable. Onensolution that is commonly oflfered up innthe Third World—^as shown in the filmn—^for dirty water and little rice is communistnrevolution. Guns are shipped in;nrevolutionaries rise against Sukarno; thenrevolt MLs. It isn’t an answer; if it hadnsucceeded it would have been, at best, antemporary palliative. In Weir’s view, thenpeople involved weren’t driven bynideology but by hunger pains. Weir—nthink of his GallipoU—^isn’t particularlynenamored of Western colonialists,neither. The Westerners shown in Z/wn^nDangerously are journalists and diplomats.nWith one exception, the jour­nnalists are “ugly” Westerners who arenconcerned with filing a good story, eatingnand drinking well, and rutting. Thenkey man at the British embassy is shownnas imperialists often are: treating thenlocal people like animals and blowingnon a bagpipe while feeding his overfednparty guests oysters. While these charactersnmay simply be considered to bencaricatures, it must be kept in mind thatna caricature must be based on identifiablencharacteristics. Such people, it’s impliednin the film, cannot or will not providenan answer.nAnother level concerns individualsnand love or its lack. The dwarf loves thenmother and the child, yet it—^and supplementalnrice and money—does notnTwo Cheers for MediocritynHigh Road to China; Written bynSandra Weintraub Roland and S. LeenPostin; Directed by Brian G. Button;nWarner Bros.nOne of the problems—perhaps thenproblem—^in contemporary moviemakingnis that B-movies have almostnentirely disappeared. B-movies were, ofncourse, made to be cofeatures. Today,nit’s a rare (or porno) movie house thatnnnsave the infiint Sparrovre still M. A Britishnwoman, a positive character, loves thendwarf, but she cannot save him: his lovenfor the dead child makes him, stupidly,nembrace death. An Australian journalist,nthe exception among the boors, seeminglynloves his work above all else. Hencares, but still the story is the main objective.nThe dwarf, like a character fromnDurrell’s Quartet, attempts to manipulatenthe Australian, to force him to loventhe woman. Such hubris—even if wellnintentioned—^has just one punishmentnin the history of drama. Eventually thenman does get his priorities in order; henand the woman leave the country. Thenpeople are still hungry. An implicationnthat can be drawn from Living Dangerouslynis that there is no easy answer tonWhat is to be done? Widi little or nongenuine concern, the communists providenguns and the Westerners providenmomey. In the short term there may benpositive results, but in the long run thenanswer is still elusive. Bureaucraticnmachinations are not enougb An answer,none found in both Western and Easternnreligious traditions, is to love thy neighbor.nIt isn’t easy to do, and material—^asnopposed to spiritual—^feUures do occur.nBut ultimately, perhaps, it is the only solution.nStill, the magnitude of the questionnis such that none today will evernknow the answer. (SM) Dnshows more than one feature. Part of thencause is economic: the dramatic increasenin the cost of making pictures. Sincenmany producers have to put big bucksninto a movie, they figure that the resultnshould be a big movie, even if the entirenconcept is microscopic. Thus, almostnevery movie emerges with bleating fenfere.nThe cacophony is exceeded onlynby the banality of the productions. Onnthe other side there are the low-low-n5i^45nJune 1983n