“Can’t repeat the past? […] Why of course you can [, old sport]!”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
Review by Ken Burke
In that the content of the 2 films under consideration this week could lead to an easy use of interchangeability with their titles, it seemed like a good time to revert to my lately-rarely-used-structure of blending comments into 1 overall review, as these stories of artists in drastically-different-disciplines and their testy-but-productive-relationships with their mentors display a lot of similarities once you get past the obvious variations in what was sought by these different men.
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews. Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up. Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (Matthew Brown)
A somewhat fictionalized account of early 20th-century Indian math savant Srinivasa Ramanujan, a man with little formal education (except in math, but even there not of the higher theoretical concepts) whose insights earn a trip to Cambridge, England to work with professor G.H. Hardy, although his absence from home causes distress for his wife and mother.
Genius (Michael Grandage)
In the 1930s, we follow the process of Thomas Wolfe becoming a successful novelist as his poetic, autobiographically-inspired, raw manuscripts are given support but extensive changes from well-respected editor Max Perkins, with each man filling a missing part of the other’s world despite the strain their constant time together puts on the women in their lives.
What Happens: Taking the events of these 2 filmic-narratives chronologically, we begin with The Man Who Knew Infinity (mostly a quiet, contemplative discourse) in 1914 Madras, India where our protagonist, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), is desperately seeking employment so that he can bring his wife, Janaki (Devika Bhise), and mother (Arundhati Nag) to live with him in the city (technically, this film briefly begins in 1920 at the halls of Trinity College, Cambridge, England where respected Mathematics Professor G.H. Hardy [Jeremy Irons] hopes to tell the proper story of Ramanujan so that everything else we see here is a very long flashback). Lacking a college degree, our young man is turned down everywhere until he’s given a chance as an accountant by Sir Francis Spring (Stephen Fry) after Ramanujan convinces him that he’s “good with numbers.” He’s so good that his off-hours work on various complex theorems (which fill 2 thick notebooks) leads his boss to encourage him to contact experts for help in getting his ideas better known, including a lengthy letter to Hardy with intriguing-enough-examples of his work that he’s invited to Cambridge (bringing a sad-but-accepting-response from his wife, devastation from his mother), despite initial skepticism from Hardy’s colleague John Edensor Littlewood (Toby Jones) and haughty reactions from other faculty (who call the newcomer “Gunga Din”) as well as groundskeepers (who insist that he stay on sidewalks because treading on the grass is reserved for College Fellows, such as Hardy and his associates). Despite the intriguing content of Ramanujan’s theorems he’s developed no proofs to back them up so that his goal of coming to England to get published is constantly thwarted by his mentor who insists that he follow academic protocol even as this homegrown savant insists that his insights are channeling God, that he just knows his ideas are correct (atheist Hardy remains unconvinced by this argument).
Snotty English dismissal of the obviously-different, vegetarian Asian grows into outright racism when WW I begins (despite Ramanujan being from a British colony he’s understood as taking precious resources—especially food—that “should” be resolved for the locals), with his personal life made even more despondent by Mom back home who intercepts every letter he sends to Janaki as well as his wife’s attempted letters to him (the sad mother’s goal is to prevent her daughter-in-law from following her son to England, fearing they’ll never return to India). Eventually, Ramanujan’s brilliant insights are backed up with Hardy's long-demanded-proofs, his mentor not only helps him get published but also defends his discoveries enough to the other faculty (including the pompous, disbelieving Major MacMahon [Kevin McNally] who eventually becomes a convert to the Indian’s brilliance) that the work is accepted to the point of Ramanujan being elected Fellow in both the Royal Society and Trinity College, although his health is deteriorating from what is diagnosed as tuberculosis. He finally gets a letter from Janaki, sent from her brother’s home where she’s moved with the assumption that their marriage is over, which leads him back to India, seeking reconnection with her. Before he arrives, she stumbles onto the hidden box of the intercepted letters so she’s ready to greet him with loving arms; unfortunately, his health collapses to the point of death, leaving those who knew him in England to further benefit in coming years from the many complex writings he left behind. (Along the way of the film's plot we also meet distinguished mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell [Jeremy Northam], an early-Ramanujan-supporter, but our story has little time to get more input from this potentially-fascinating-character.)
Next, in Genius, we go forward to 1929 where another aspiring seeker of acknowledgement for his work, Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), has also come from a (relatively) non-cosmopolitan-home (Ashville, NC; there's no offensive intended, statewide-Tar Heels) to a center of intellectual-achievement (NYC) in desperate hopes of getting his huge novel,
O Lost, published, only to be flatly turned down by everyone he submits the lengthy-manuscript to (if you think my writings are long, by comparison his were monumental), so he brashly goes to the last one, Charles Scribner’s Sons, to get his rejection 1st-hand from noted editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth)—already known as the collaborator of widely-respected authors Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald; to Wolfe’s surprise, Max accepts the book, if it can be cut from 1,000 pages into more coherent form (a publisher’s parallel to Hardy’s demand for unassailable proofs of new-colleague-Ramanujan’s theorems), which it finally is, with a changed title, Look Homeward, Angel (1929), a well-accepted, financially-solid debut—even during the harsh onset of the 1930s' Great Depression—in which the author essentially creates a poetic-fictionalized-autobiography (that, I’ve learned later, so offended his home community that he dared not return there for the next 8 years). Success only further fuels the creative fire of this brash rebel (in literary terms more so than in his nonchalance toward the tenets of his Southern heritage) whose grandiose vision of himself and his literary ability leads to constant clashes with Perkins, especially when his next book, Of Time and the River (1935)—Wolfe asserts it’s about all of America and our societal need for a father—begins as a handwritten manuscript so long (5,000 pages) that it takes several boxes to haul it into Max’s office. So, although Wolfe gained the publication fame much earlier in his short life (more on that soon) than did Ramanujan it didn’t bring him all that much satisfaction, although it did allow him the financial independence to travel to Europe to enjoy a further victory-lap-celebration of his talents.
Yet, even as his battles with Max escalate over needed trimmings of the 2nd novel (at one point Max grumbles: “2 years and the book’s only 100 pages shorter!”) trouble also brews on Wolfe’s homefront as his live-in-relationship with married-but-separated-theatre-designer Aline Bernstein (a great Nicole Kidman) continues to hit rough spots, some caused by her jealousy of the enormous time Tom spends with Max (it didn’t help that the 1st book was dedicated to her but the 2nd was to him). Wolfe’s ego-driven-bravado even turns cruel when he’s at a dinner party with Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and his fragile, near-comatose wife, Zelda (Vanessa Kirby)—
recently released from a mental hospital—berating the famed-novelist for not publishing anything new lately, leading to Tom leaving in a huff, only to be stopped by Max, lambasting the hothead both for assuming that quantity is a sure measure of quality (no comment from me) and for not understanding how difficult it’s become for Scott to find anything to say, comparing Wolfe’s daily output of 5,000 words to Fitzgerald’s difficult production of only 100, yet, Max says, “Maybe one day all of your words will be worth 5 of Scott’s.” (We only briefly see Hemingway [Dominic West], but he’s no fan of Wolfe’s approach either.) Ultimately, everything begins to unravel for Wolfe’s working relationship with Perkins, especially after Bernstein visits his office, brandishes a pistol, telling him she can’t decide which of them to shoot, then comes there another time when Tom hasn’t been at their apartment for awhile asking him to return, but when he declines she attempts suicide with a mouthful of pills which Tom forces her to spit up. As this story winds down for Wolfe, he breaks it off with Max and Aline (then tries to get back with her but she coldly refuses), travels to Hollywood to spout his miseries to Fitzgerald, who's attempting to function as a screenwriter (Tom’s tired of the critics’ assumption that his rambling works have found successful coherence, public acceptance only because of Max’s editing), but Scott tells him to appreciate Max’s talents as well.
In the next scene Tom’s walking on a beach (implying for a moment that he’s contemplating suicide), seemingly triumphantly-satisfied, then collapses. He’s taken to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital (where his father died; compounding the irony of his ongoing-father-issues, partly resolved in his time spent with Max, whose extended-work with the wild Wolfe also gained for him a sort of pseudo-son to complement his 5 daughters), diagnosed with TB (this time it's a rare form, in the brain), overrun with tumors, leading to his death at 37 (in 1938; Ramanujan’s passing from another aspect of this disease came even earlier, at age 32 in 1920) but not before he wrote a final (brief!) letter to Max praising his friendship, mentorship, and help; Perkins takes off his hat (only time in the film I can remember seeing him hatless) to cry, followed by the final fade-out with no graphics to tell us anything more about either of these men. (But, like Ramanujan, Wolfe left a lot to be discovered after his death, with much of his writing published posthumously.) Despite the many parallels between these 2 individual films (with their incidents taken from history), there’s one clear difference in the filmic approaches: In The Man Who Knew Infinity the cinematography shows rich, saturated colors in every environment implying the potential to be found in any setting, from impoverished India to genteel Cambridge, whereas Genius is largely desaturated, almost monochromatic, indicating the empty lives (despite material successes) of Max and Tom, each yearning for something more than they've yet been given (Perkins is insistent on what’s not working in Wolfe’s mammoth novels yet writes nothing of his own; Wolfe is exuberant in the passages that flow endlessly from his mind, yet thinks that his inspirations are not taken seriously in their original form but only when tempered by the conventions [again, akin to math proofs] that society insists must inform great literature), although Max is shown late in his story as finally realizing that he has a family anxiously awaiting his attention (Laura Linney’s largely tolerant but still constantly hurt as his wife, Louise, much like Janaki was in our previous film) whereas lonely Tom never finds that level of personal satisfaction.
So What? For those of you who’ve been even casual readers of my reviews (with France still accounting for some time now for a substantial segment of my audience, so thanks again to my consistent followers there who probably use my posts as something to kill a lot of time while the flooding recedes), it likely seems ironic that I’d be fascinated by a story about an editor, given the wholesale-verbiage-slaughter that I'd assume a traditional newspaper arts editor would impose upon my writing. (Each of the several hundred reviews I’ve posted so far would probably be reduced to: “I came. I saw. Just look at the stars rating because there’s not much else I could say that would be any more worthwhile.”) Likewise, considering that the furthest I ever got with “higher” math was high-school geometry (even the college algebra I took at the University of Texas in 1968 wouldn’t have been transferrable to Mills College, where I taught for 26 years, because it didn’t represent a lofty-enough-exercise of this complex discipline according to my Mathematics and Computer Science colleagues on our General Education Committee), it’s probably equally-surprising that I’m so intrigued by a film about math discoveries shown in formulas that for all practical purposes for me could just as easily be shown as cuneiform accounts of Mesopotamian mythology given my inability to make any sense of what’s being represented by these abstract symbols. Yet, I did find great value in these fictionalized
biographies, although those of you with better knowledge of these men’s historic lives may not be as impressed by what you’ll see in these films. Regarding Wolfe and Perkins, you can get a lot of detail on gaps between history—as recounted in A. Scott Berg’s source-written-biography, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (1978)—and its filmic adaptation by reading this article in a recent edition of The New Yorker, where Richard Brody claims there are much-more-compelling-episodes in Berg’s book than what we see on screen; as for … Infinity, there’s also a source-biography-book (same title as the film, by Robert Kanigel ) as well as other presentations of Ramanujan (see the 3rd entry farther below in the Related Links to The Man …, where you’ll find a short film about his life) that contradict this film’s impression that he was more of a math-psychic than his actual status as a brilliant numbers theorist who soon exhausted the teaching resources available to him in Madras, along with not having a college degree simply because he gave little attention to subjects other than math rather than not being exposed to higher education. (With further Internet browsings on Hardy and Russell, you’d also find that the former’s the one who moved on to Oxford [in 1919, although our film clearly shows him at Cambridge in 1920] while the latter was dismissed from Trinity College in 1916 for his pacifist actions during WW I, later served some jail time, never went to Oxford as implied in … Infinity, was reinstated at Trinity in 1919, resigned in 1920—all tangential to the film’s plot, except that, as with Brody’s claims about Genius, the brief-but-inaccurate-attention to these details skips over an aspect of potential-dramatic-impact that hardly justifies the Russell-departure-scene at all.)
Judged purely as stories of insightful creators and discoverers (on this topic Hardy argues that math formulas aren’t created but exist in the fabric of the universe, to finally be discovered by those able to find them, as with Ramanujan) battling to refine their own intuitive processes while still benefitting from the guidance/clashes with the older men attempting to give them structure (even as they hope to not obliterating the artful-accomplishments of their younger collaborators), I found both of these fine (a word that still has meaning for me even though my marvelous wife, Nina, casts high-school-derived-aspersions on it) narratives to be well-conceived, well-produced, well-acted (the primary force to articulated on screen in films such as these where the power of written words or formulaic numbers can only provide so much fascination, except for those who come into the theater already immersed in such lofty worlds), and useful to me in understanding at least some of what these insightful men (all of whom can be seen as artists giving shape, coherence, wide-appeal—and validation, in the case of the math theorems—through teaching [Hardy] or editing [Perkins], which can be just as much of an aesthetic accomplishment as generating or conceptualizing the raw material that we observe here from the penetrating but tortured minds of Ramanujan and Wolfe) contributed to their thought-provoking-disciplines. Although I admit that I could likely get a reasonably-full-appreciation of Wolfe’s works simply by reading them—which I haven’t done yet—because I’ve studied enough about literature and read a decent-enough-sampling of some master works to be able to translate his poetic-passages into something that resonates with my life and
previous connections to the various arts; whereas where higher math (and for me, we’re talking about anything from trigonometry [also considered not truly college-level-math by the Mills faculty in charge of such] on up) is concerned, though, I’ll just have to trust that the high praise G.H. Hardy and S. Ramanujan have received from their continue-to-be-impressed-colleagues speaks to their specific accomplishments as I have no clear idea what fields they were renowned in such as mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, continued fractions, or partitions essentially refer to (despite looking up their definitions), so that I’m just curiously-fascinated by this vague universe of complexity, which seems to function best for me as an odd, Hitchcock-like “MacGuffin” (a strong, seemingly-central plot-device that turns out to be not that essential after all as the story works its way to the end) in service to other, more-easily-accessible-narrative-elements (including danger, mystery, or even metaphysical implications) in films such as Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998) than concepts I need to master to understand why these discoveries are so important. Other critics aren’t that impressed with the articulation of the lives of (primarily) these 4 men, though, with comments of the nature that … Infinity sentimentalizes Ramanujan’s accomplishments relative to the dominant culture (Rotten Tomatoes' survey shows only 63% positive reviews, Metacritic’s 56%) while Genius supposedly doesn’t do justice to the abilities of either protagonist (as each functions as antagonist to the other), at worst implying that Wolfe’s fears were valid that Perkins’ editorial-intrusions diminished the greater potential of his original writing—a 2000 publication of the original O Lost attempts to validate this position, though (here the RT score for the film is a mere 48%, MC’s is slightly higher for a change at just 55%).
Final Comments: If you go to movie theaters to learn history I think you’d probably be better off watching documentaries on TV networks like A&E or the History channel, although reading well-researched-books would be your best bet because even those video homes of useful information still find themselves having to negotiate what needed entertainment factors must be incorporated into their content in order to attract valuable viewer ratings; of course, books must also find their respective audiences through marketing but at least they can be printed in likely-selling-quantities for probable amounts of readership so that the investment-profit-ratio can potentially be sustained (for those volumes deemed likely to find even that level of success) so that what’s put forth for public consumption can afford to be properly-vetted when taking on the burden of reporting appropriately-researched-events. Armed with better understanding of what’s promoted in the various “based on fact” (or, more bluntly, “A True Story” which begins our encounter with Genius) cinema screenings, you could be better prepared to analyze not so much how accurate the involved film may be in its finer details (both of the ones being reviewed here have notable failures on that level) but more on how the essence of what the film’s trying to convey manages to survive the need to streamline, condense, showcase for dramatic purposes, along with casting known actors as historical figures in order to increase audience interest even if the real subjects of these stories don’t bear enough physical and/or personality resemblance to what the actor attempts to inhabit.
Of course, such intense background preparation on our part requires a good deal more time-investment for seeing a standard historically/ biographically-based-film than most of us have time to invest (nor are we likely to squeeze in enough free hours to read a lengthy book that the film may be based on—as is the case with both of the ones being reviewed here—although we might be fortunate enough in this information-rich-Internet-age to find an analysis by someone who’s paid to do such research, as with the Brody investigation of Genius cited above), so if we can be content to simply explore the fact-based-film on its own merits as a dramatic exercise (although comedy might also be appropriate, at least as an inclusion, such as we see with the presentation of a master filmmaker-physical actor in Chaplin [Richard Attenborough, 1992]), leaving the facts-quest for other discussions, we might better see how worthwhile a cinematic experience we’ve encountered truly is, even if academic historians are as skeptical about the results they see as were the Cambridge math faculty when S. Ramanujan sent them unsolicited letters requesting their help with his career.
For me, both The Man Who Knew Infinity and Genius do a successful job of showing that their main creative subjects (Ramanujan, Wolfe) fully had something of substantial importance to offer to their respective fields although they needed the collaborative-guidance of more experienced mentors (Hardy, Perkins) to get their breakthrough-insights into the view of an appropriate public, whether it was the potentially-huge-audience ready for brilliant literature or the small-but-significant-scholarly-community that could appreciate theoretical math, then build on it in related scientific fields. I don’t find that I need to really understand what Ramanujan is talking about to comprehend that his visions of how his complex theorems simply must be true because they feel to him to be divinely inspired, given the larger—admittedly limited—context I have (from my own enjoyable-readings in macro-level-physics—especially the gravitational theories of Newton and Einstein—PBS docs about Stephen Hawking’s cosmological concepts, etc.) about black holes (some of which I gained at least some visualization clarity about from watching Interstellar [Christopher Nolan, 2014; review in our November 13, 2014 posting]) which we find from graphics at the end of Genius are becoming more comprehendible to us because of Ramanujan’s formulas. I get it that he made important discoveries of highly-complicated-mathematical-knowledge (which I agree with Hardy—in a sort of Neo-Platonic sense—exist in the tangible universe around us so that scholars like those depicted in … Infinity don’t invent these formulas, rather they make their procedures understood by a wider public) so that we all can benefit from knowledge of these physical operations made manifest in orderly-functionality.
More important to me is how … Infinity reinforced the dual realities that (again, following Hardy) formulas themselves have little value (even if they seem to be intrinsically-accurate, as Ramanujan always insisted they were) unless they can be verified with proofs that easily demonstrate their consistency and reliability (the main thing I learned in that difficult-for-me-college-algebra class, because my always-readily-available-for-help-instructor insisted that we be able to understand why a theorem worked rather than just accepting that it did, no matter how obvious it might seem, even that 0 does not equal 1; yes, we had to solve algebraic problems using these theorems but what counted most was not getting the right answer but demonstrating how we arrived at it), yet even though Ramanujan had to be forced into finding the proofs that supported his ideas he still had valuable revelations despite his lack of prior schooling, Anglo-heritage, or adherence to the scientific method, so that even as a poor, under-educated Indian he still had significant contributions to make to the global human experience, even when his discoveries felt to him like self-contained-divine-revelations (just as I had somewhat similar experiences back in those art-major-college-days when a vision of a painting suddenly just came to me—even in abstract formations—followed by sketching it out, then filling the canvas; this didn’t happen often nor do I think it was some message from God, but these images did come fully-formed into my awareness, so I have some vague sense of what our math genius experienced).
Similarly, with our literary Genius, I feel the vitality of Thomas Wolfe from the 1st time that he barges into Perkins’ office until the sudden end of his life when he manages to summon up enough coherence and strength to write (concisely—I wonder what that must be like?) his farewell message to dear Max, expressing how vital his editor had been for him both as a collaborator and as a valued friend. In that I’ve not read any of Wolfe’s writings yet nor know much about him (except what I’ve read in biographical summaries, where the main deviation that I found from the events depicted in this film is that he clearly had begun work with a new editor, Edward Aswell, at Harper & Brothers before he took ill and that the sickness came on him in Seattle rather than Southern California so I have no idea about any actual meeting between him and F. Scott Fitzgerald after the latter moved west in an attempt to reinvent himself as a scriptwriter when his writer’s-block-problems impeded his attempts to continue as a novelist), so I have to be content with whatever I may learn about him from this film and whether its presentation of a driven, poetry-inspired novelist with a grandiose sense of himself and the human experience is as plausible as the broad Southern accent that constantly defines him as an outsider—especially as perfects his persona of a charming, talented, intrusive asshole—in this world of sophisticated New Yorkers (none of whom seem to have any accents at all, not at all matching my experience of living in the NYC borough of Queens in the early 1970s, a far cry from the 1930s I admit but I highly doubt those speech patterns didn’t emerge until long after Wolfe had become a syllabus-entry in a modern American literature class). Well, whatever else may be true about Wolfe, the Southern brashness and accent rang true with me and my 35 years of living in Texas (plus the 2 in NYC) before heading west myself (not to be a Hollywood scriptwriter, though).
What functions as the central dramatic conflict in Genius’ clash of raw and restraining talents is Max insisting that Tom rid himself of all of his many extraneous descriptions and allusions (Wow! Could that possibly be good advice?), cutting it down to those passages that are the “moments of lightning.” Tom counters with an attitude of “To hell with standard forms” (Hmm. Why does that sound so familiar?), desperate to write as he feels, attempting to channel visions onto the page in a manner similar to how Ramanujan had experienced his many complicated theorems as “from the mouth of God” with no need to defend their veracity. A good example of which sensibility might appeal to you most as a viewer/life-interpreter is a long series of short scenes in Genius where Tom and Max travel throughout NYC with Perkins trying to get Wolfe to see how his extended descriptions of a male character taken aback by the sight of a woman whose eyes were “blue beyond blue” would work better in what one could describe as a Hemingway-esque-approach, with something like: “He saw her. Her eyes were blue …” I see where Max is coming from in trying to help his author focus on the most essential aspect of each paragraph, cutting to the moments of most intense verbal-cerebral-emotional-interaction; still, despite how we’re led to appreciate Max’s position over Tom’s (in Fitzgerald’s praise of the editor, as well as Wolfe’s last letter to his estranged-father-figure—a touching finale for the film but surely apocryphal as the bios I’ve checked on Wolfe say he never regained consciousness while dying in Baltimore), I can’t help but continue to be swayed by what I heard of Tom’s eloquently-wordy-draft of that “blue-eyed-encounter,” as the poetic-elaboration gave me a soaring sense of the expansion of usual novelistic prose, just as the alternating (mostly of the odd-numbered) chapters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath ) turn a journalistic story of tragedy and perseverance into something that transcends to an even higher level (I invite you to go here for examples from this Nobel Prize-level-novel, chapter-by-chapter, if you like).
So, where does this all leave me regarding the choice of my usual Musical Metaphor to speak to what fascinates me about the films in review in this posting? After some consideration I came comfortably to “True” by Spandau Ballet (from the 1983 album, same name as the song) at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=ldXgK71 pgxs because I can see Ramanujan and Wolfe saying, as they committed their art to paper (although apparently a lot of Ramanujan’s began on erasable chalkboards because paper was such a rare commodity in India at the time, offering one explanation as to why he didn’t clutter up his limited notebook space with detailed proofs of his theorems, recording only the resulting formulas), just as Hardy and Perkins felt, in struggling with bringing the best clarity they could find to the works of their collaborative artists, “I know this much is true.” For that matter, I can also envision (in one of my own visionary surprises) all of them harmonizing on, agreeing with these lyrics: “This is the sound of my soul […] I bought a ticket to the world But now I’ve come back again Why do I find it so hard to write the next line Oh, I want the truth to be said,” even if maybe individually they might say “edit the next line” or “prove the next formula,” lyrical meter be damned. (One other brief thing I know to be true about the assumed patriarchy of these times is how Hardy shows no concern [that I recall] about Ramanujan’s female family back in Madras just as Aline Bernstein and Louise Perkins meet at one point, constantly referring to each other as “Mrs. …” rather than ever using their proper names instead of the surnames of their respective husbands.)
On a closing note, “True” was also performed by Spandau Ballet on June 13, 1985 at the London Wembly Stadium site of the massive Live Aid concert intended to raise a lot of money to help the famine-ravaged-countries of Africa (along with a simultaneous concert at Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium, both shown globally via live TV broadcasts), reminding me of the original 1985 We Are the World album recorded for that same healing purpose, so I’ll finish with a reprise of that marvelous multi-artist-collaboration-song that speaks of unity, harmony, and love, dedicated by me in our current context to the people of Orlando, FL (and all other communities that have been victimized by atrocious acts of violent hate) because “There are [far too many] people dying And it’s time to lend a hand to life The greatest gift of all [… in hopes that] we’ll make a better day Just you and me.”
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
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Here’s more information about The Man Who Knew Infinity:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QlQ2ix2FlA (a 19:37 documentary about the actual Srinivasa Ramanujan; not great production values but useful in understanding the man’s life and cultural milieu, helped at times by on-screen-titles to aid at-times-hard-to-understand-narration because of strong Indian accents on spoken English)
Here’s more information about Genius:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1703957/ (sorry, but I can’t seem to find a true official site)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzIimQkl6og (11:48 countdown of this video’s Top 10 fictional movie “geniuses” from Weird Science [John Hughes, 1985] to Pi; if you’d prefer a shorter exploration of this same topic here’s another one [5:18] at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbeElXuXZqU which uses many of the same choices but puts Pi at the back of the line counting down to Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy [Robert Zemeckis; 1985, 1989, 1990])
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By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken
P.S. Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.
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