Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Things That Exist/Things That Don't

A coworker very kindly alerted me yesterday to the existence of a Bollywood reimagining of Breaking Away called Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. The fact that I haven't known about this film until just now seems slightly incredible to me, and I very nearly refused to give the DVD back to him after he showed it to me. I am obviously the first in line to borrow it after he's watched it himself.

My recreational reading habits are extremely erratic for a variety of reasons, and, true to form, I've been slowly picking my way through the mammoth, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Robert Oppenheimer basically for this entire calendar year. But, I got a good chunk of reading done this weekend, and I have to say, the fact that no one has made a big, sexy biopic about Jean Tatlock yet seems wrong, wrong, wrong. (I would accept a Decemberists song as a viable alternative.) She was a former lover of Oppenheimer's, by all accounts both extremely brilliant and extremely troubled. She was also extremely committed to Communist ideals, and at the time it was believed that she may have been passing scientific secrets to the Russians--so much so that there's speculation as to whether her suicide in early 1944 was actually an assassination. She was also probably a closeted lesbian, who, as a student of Freudian psychology in the '30s and '40s would have been indoctrinated with the belief that homosexuality should be "cured," a pressure that surely only contributed to her already notoriously dark mood swings. She and Oppenheimer remained extremely close after he married his wife Kitty, but the demands--intellectually, energetically, and in matters of national security--of his work on the bomb eventually caused him to have to cut ties with her completely. As the authors of American Prometheus write: "From this perspective, he had acted reasonably. But in Jean's eyes, it may have seemed as if ambition had trumped love. In this sense, Jean Tatlock might be considered the first casualty of Oppenheimer's directorship of Los Alamos." A passionately interesting woman.


SiD said...

My wedding is this weekend. it's in a movie theatre. We're each showing a trailer before the ceremony. I'm showing Breaking Away. I LOVE LOVE that movie. Knowing where each scene was shot helps I guess. But <3.

BTW saw (500) Days... and I disagree with you. :)

allison said...

OMG, you're having your wedding in a movie theater? That is GENIUS! I hope the day is special and amazing. I'll look forward to seeing pictures if you decide to post some.

Ha, yeah, opinions on (500) Days of Summer seem to be widely varied, usually breaking down along gender lines. Guys have seemed to enjoy it; the ladies, not as much.