October 29, 2014
There were many films shown on my flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. I have a hard time sleeping, so instead I treated myself to a film orgy of sorts. The flight had interesting film programming. For instance, they had a tribute to Eddie Constantine, which I think was kind of obscure but really great at the same time. I of course have seen “Alphaville,” but people forget his other films, such as “La môme vert-de-gris” and “Ça va harder.” It is a nine-hour flight, so I could watch those two films, but also they had the oddest programming ever on a plane: a Joseph Goebbels film retrospective. They screened “The Eternal Jew” and “Jud Süß” (“Süss the Jew”) both of course being highly controversial films - and especially showing them in-flight. The other odd film they showed was just footage of Akiko Kojima winning the Miss Universe crown in 1959. That event took place in Long Beach, California. A city that is not far off from my home in Los Angeles.
There was an uproar at the time, because many didn’t believe Kojima had measurements of 37-23-38 inches (94-58-96cm). Some were convinced Kojima had undergone breast surgery, but she strongly denied taking such actions to win the Miss Universe contest. She was also the first woman from Asia to win such a prize in the Miss Universe pageant. The combination of watching the films and not being able to sleep had a profound effect on me. Especially watching such a hateful film like “Süss the Jew.”
La môme vert-de-gris” was the first Eddie Constantine film, that also featured a character that he was famous for, by the name of Lemmy Caution. It is said that his character always approached a beautiful woman with a glass of whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I had thought of myself in that mold, while dreaming away in front of my small screen on someone’s backseat. In the end of the flight, I was for sure taken by Eddie’s approach to the detective life, but felt quite alienated by the Goebbels’ retrospective. Nevertheless I find myself back in Los Angeles, feeling woozy and not sure where my culture is heading towards. Perhaps it marks the end of one era, and the start of another.