FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part  403 JAMES BOND and Laughter Featured artist is Meriem Bennani

Francis Schaeffer talked about popular culture and I have access to hundreds of his talks from the 1960’s and he commented in one of those recordings that Sean Connery had a villa close to where Schaeffer lived in Switzerland. In that same talk  in 1966 Schaeffer went on to discuss an analysis of James Bond that I found interesting.

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No (1962)

Sean Connery James Bond

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

In this series of posts on James Bond it has been pointed out that the comparisons between Bond and King Solomon in ECCLESIASTES as he searches for satisfaction in this life UNDER THE SUN (without God in the picture).

As I pointed earlier how does Bond deal with the pressures of being an international agent? We can see from his films that not only does he turn to drinking heavily and womanizing but he also takes time to laugh at the ironies of life. Therefore, the Bond films are filled with humor and my favorite scene like this is the opening of GOLDFINGER (which is discussed below). Also it is hilarious in the beach scene from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME when this guy looks at his drink when Bond drives ip out of the ocean and two years later in MOONRAKER the same guy sees Bond again in Venice pull off a similar stunt!!

James Bond – Lotus Esprit at the beach

Moonraker (3/10) Movie CLIP – Gondola Chase (1979) HD

10 Funny James Bond Scenes We Love

Last week, a quote from Daniel Craig hit the movie blogosphere about the potential future of the James Bond movies. “Hopefully we’ll reclaim some of the old irony and make sure it doesn’t become pastiche,” he told Vulture, adding that he wishes he could ham it up more but he’s just not good at it. That doesn’t sound like he’s against uttering one-liners, which can be delivered with a straight face, dry as a martini, but rather he seems to want some humor without self-parody or nostalgic trappings of recalling past installments. That makes sense, as his 007 run is a kind of fresh start, minus some nods to the older films as with the Aston Martin appearance in Skyfall.

Whatever Craig is hinting at with his remark, we thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the funnier moments in the first 50 years of Bond movies. And we’ve excluded those scenes making us laugh with just with puns and double entendre and other witty dialogue. We’ve also left out the alligator farm escape from Live and Let Die – my personal favorite – because it was one of the clips we spotlighted in another edition of Scenes We Love last fall. Some of these were definitely scripted or directed for comedy while some others are unintentionally humorous. After checking out our selection of scenes, let us know your favorite funny James Bond moment below.

Gondola hovercraft reactions in Moonraker

This time the funny animal reactions are planned. In the goofiest crowd-reacts-to-action scene outside of Superman II, here we have Moore’s Bond racing through Venice in his gondola that’s also a speedboat and hovercraft. Once the latter kicks in and he’s riding on land we see a number of reactions from men and children and dogs and a pigeon, which does a double take. Beer is spilled, and so is a henchman.

Opening scene in Goldfinger

In the first shot of the third movie with Connery’s Bond, we see a water fowl of some kind approaching land. But it’s not really a bird, it’s a faux fowl atop 007’s head. It’s a bit our own Inkoo Kang loves, all the way to when Bond removes his wetsuit to reveal a perfectly pressed white tuxedo (which has been copied in so many films). The scene also ends with one of the character’s best/cheesiest one-liners after electrocuting a bad guy in a tub.

Kanaga explodes in Live and Let Die

Possibly the most infamously awful and silly deaths in all of cinema, Mr. Big/Kanaga is climactly blown to bits by a trick up Moore’s Bond’s sleeve. Not only is the scenario ridiculous but the inflated villain looks nothing like actor Yaphet Kotto. As for how the whole thing works, I think we’ll need Kevin Carr to do one of his Movie Truths columns on this scene. Or is that totally unnecessary?

Defeating Nick Nack with a suitcase in The Man With the Golden Gun

Another humorous henchmen was Nick Nack, played by diminutive actor Herve Villechaize. I don’t want to imply that he was mainly funny for being a dwarf, though his size is played for comedy at times, including in the final battle of this film. He’s snuck aboard Moore as Bond’s boat and surprises the spy as he’s trying to make love. Furniture is broken, bottles are thrown and then 007 gets the brilliant idea of using a suitcase as first a shield and then a sort of cage, enclosing Nick Nack and throwing him overboard.

007 Meets Q in Skyfall

It’s not as if the Craig as Bond movies are entirely serious. In fact, Skyfall has a good amount of well-executed dry humor. Take this scene, for instance, in which there’s a lot of subtle comedy going on beneath the surface of Bond and Q’s dialogue about art and modern intelligence. Or maybe it’s just particularly funny to those of us who do often work in our pajamas?

I am writing you a series of blog posts on ECCLESIASTES and on Solomon’s efforts to find a meaning and purpose to life and comparing it to the life of James Bond!!!  In the Book of Ecclesiastes what are all of the 6 “L” words that Solomon looked into? He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter,ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). Probing the area of LAUGHTER was one of Solomon’s first places to start. In Ecclesiastes 2:2 he starts this quest but he concludes it is not productive to be laughing the whole time and not considering the serious issues of life. “I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2:2).   Then Solomon  asserted the nihilistic statement in Ecclesiastes 2:17: “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Keith Krell in his article, 3. Trivial Pursuits (Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26), notes:

What would it take to make you happy? What if you had the wealth of Bill Gates or Donald Trump? Would this make you happy? What if you had the success of Oprah or Martha Stewart? Do you think you could be happy? What if you had the brains of Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking? Do you think you could be happy? Let me guess. Your answer is, “I don’t know, but I’d sure like to give it a try.”

A few people have been able to possess wealth, success, and intelligence just as I described. Solomon, the third king of Israel, was one of them. In some ways he had everything. He had a thousand wives and concubines, enormous wealth, international respect, and unparalleled wisdom. What he didn’t always have, however, was a reason for living. He didn’t always have happiness. He fits the pattern of the highly gifted, extremely ambitious person who climbs the ladder of success—only to contemplate jumping off once he’s reached the top.39

In the first eleven verses of Ecclesiastes chapter one, Solomon examined three broad categories in his search for the key to life: human history, physical nature, and human nature. Now in 1:12-2:26, he narrows his search to his own personal experience.40 In a sense he takes us on his own spiritual sojourn as he searches for satisfaction in life. In the memoirs that follow Solomon informs us that he sought satisfaction in four broad categories, but wound up empty-handed.

  • Humor (2:2). Solomon writes, “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.’ And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’”57 Solomon mocks “laughter” as “madness.” I’m not surprised he labeled it “madness.” Do you really think the leading comedians of our day are sincerely satisfied with life? Has humor given them an inside track on human happiness? Hardly.58It is easy to seek to lose ourselves in comedy and entertainment whether it is in a theater, in front of our TV, or on-line. Although it can seem like a great escape, it leaves us empty in the end.

_____Francis Schaeffer quoted Woody Allen in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? (co-authored by Dr. C. Everett Koop):One of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.
Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”
Many would like to dismiss this sort of statement as coming from one who is merely a pessimist by temperament, one who sees life without the benefit of a sense of humorWoody Allen does not allow us that luxury. He speaks as a human being who has simply looked life in the face and has the courage to say what he sees. If there is no personal God, nothing beyond what our eyes can see and our hands can touch, then Woody Allen is right: life is both meaningless and terrifying.__Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Francis Schaeffer in 1966 had a discussion on James Bond.

The most famous of this kind of thing today in cinema is James Bond. Fortunately we have an expert

Question and answer with John le Carre author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

INTERVIEWER: But your style goes deeper than this. You have developed what I suppose we can best describe as the anti-hero, haven’t you?
I don’t quite believe in the notion of the anti-hero…Since then something else has emerged , something very interesting . That is the James Bond kind of hero . I call this the consumergoods hero. This is the man who surrounds himself with all the things which are technique—with charms of super cars, super and expendable girls, with cigarette lighters that go off with a bang, with everything which in artistic terms replaces love or emotion.

(Schaeffer states ”Let me read it again.”) with everything which in artistic terms replaces love or emotion. (Schaeffer “There is no place in James Bond for love or emotion. John Le carrie is absolutely right in this.)

You could take James Bond on that magic carpet and, given the prerequisites of the affluent society, given above all an identifiable villain of whatever kind—and weak people need enemies—you could dump him in the middle of Moscow and you would get a ready-made Soviet agent. I find him in this sense extremely cosmopolitan. He is an Etonian and so on, but in fact he seems to me to correspond more to the kind of international manager type—the young rich fellow of thirty-eight or thirty-nine who has discovered that promiscuity is one of the privileges of wealth; who has developed a pretty hard-nosed cynicism towards any sense of moral obligation.

Meriem Bennani: In Between Languages | Art21 “New York Close Up”

Featured artist is Meriem Bennani

Meriem Bennani was born in 1988, in Rabat, Morocco. She lives and works in New York. Bennani’s work, which she regularly publishes on social-media outlets such as Instagram and Snapchat, applies unexpected humor and an absurdist sensibility to typically sensitive or taboo subjects, such as the wearing of the hijab by Muslim women.

Her videos sometimes expand into multimedia projects, such as Fardaous Funjab, a fictional reality-television show about a hijab designer, or her installation Gradual Kingdom. The latter addresses her hometown of Rabat and its construction of artificial islands and beach replenishment following climate-warming-induced erosion, which has contributed to the global sand shortage. Bennani’s works function simultaneously within and beyond specific cultural tropes, gently but pointedly asking the viewer to critically examine their own assumptions, especially those around the Muslim world.

Artist’s website
@meriembennani on Instagram

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