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Sunday surprise: De Niro’s recommended reading

[ by Charles Cameron — preferring Jarmusch’s Hagakure in Ghost Dog to Grovic’s Hesse and Sunzi in Bag Man ]

In a film that the critics panned, Netflix offered, and I watched without much comprehension, Robert De Niro, playing the part of Dragna — “a dude who wears plaid jackets, thick glasses, and his grey hair in a swoopy high pompadour” who has assembled a motley team of killers in a seedy Bayou motel — educates John Cusack as his fav killer, Jack, by recommending he read certain books — notably Hermann Hesse‘s Glass Bead Game aka Magister Ludi:

De Niro goes Magister Ludi

De Niro goes Magister Ludi 2

Magister Ludi means Master of the Game.

Dragna apparently believes Hesse’s Game is best played by pitting assassins, here including cops, a “whore” and a dwarf as well as Jack, against one another in that seedy motel.. and is not altogether satisfied with the result, which shoots him shortly after he announces his own mastery of the game.

De Niro goes Magister Ludi 3


Zenpundit regulars who lack my enthusiasm for Hesse’s Game — quite different in style and tone from the one writer-director David Grovic proposes in his film — may at least be gratified to see his other recommendation:

De Niro goes Sunzi


I would have done better to re-watch Jim Jarmusch‘s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai with Forest Whitaker, with its extensive quotations from the Hagakure:

That’s what I’ll watch tonight.

3 Responses to “Sunday surprise: De Niro’s recommended reading”

  1. Grurray Says:

    Excellent surprise, Charles. I have the soundtrack, which contains all the samurai quotes, and I still listen to it often.
    One that stands out:
    “The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.”
    I always thought this one to be particularly applicable to the American Way of War, if not a good description of it.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    I have a Second Sunday Surprise waiting in the wings..

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Here it is, finished & posted: Sunday second surprise: Ferdinando Buscema

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