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The Way Back

Scott Johnson at Powerline brings to our attention the movie "The Way Back", based on the book The Long Walk:   "The film has many flaws -- it's too long, it's not big on character development, it tacks on an absurd ending, the characters' accents are distracting -- but it is worth seeing."  Not many films about the Gulag coming out of Hollywood, of course.
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While I've not seen the 1970 film adaptation, the seminal work on Russian gulags for me continues to be Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The accounts of the zeks' work in the siberian winter actually made me cold as I read.

I saw that movie when it came out and it is worth watching. Tom Courtney is wonderful as Ivan. He looked terrible; his British teeth helped. Maybe you can find it and watch it with the central heating turned low for effect.

Solzhenitsyn's book is on my course reading list. My students must choose a book and write about it intelligently. (I know, the last bit is a lot to ask.) One very callow, very young, male student had not yet chosen a book with a week left before the paper was due. "What can I read that is short?" I suggested Denisovich. He came back on Monday complaining that he not been able to put it down. "At first I thought it was going to be boring. But then it wasn't and when my friends called me to go out, I didn't go. I didn't want to." He didn't know books could be that good. It changed how he saw everything. Would he ever go back to normal? I hoped not, but didn't say so.

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