måndag, april 26, 2010

George W Bush and his memoires

The Publishing House Random House is going to publish the memoires of George W Bush in november this year.
As with all memoires by politicians, one ask oneself what's new under the sun and could this shead some light on who actually ran the White House (Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld?) during Bush time in office?
Most of the times one are let down by the leading men and women when they decide to publish their memoires.
A lot of material is still confidential and the only thing one usually get to know, is what he or she thought about some famous politician or what was said during a dinner and the importance of this particular statement und so weiter.
Probably this book will be filled with material defending George W Bush' war in Iraq and against terrorism and those arguments we've heard before.

It's amazing to think that Winston Churchill was rewarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his memoires and the Swedish Academy who always claims that they are not the least 'political' in their decisions.
The peace prize to Barack Obama before he had even started to work for peace and disarmement.
There are many examples like this.

Will Bush be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature?

(Photo George W. Buch copied from: http://blogs.sundaymercury.net/thegrassyknoll/President-George-W-Bush.jpg)

Luftslottet som sprängdes

Tonight we saw the last part in the Millenium trilogy, in Swedish called Luftslottet som sprängdes, in English; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and in French; La Reine dans le palais des courants d'air.
Dir. Daniel Alfredsson.

Aurore who has read all three books, regarded this third one being the best or least bad.
I would like to agree to that this third part was better than the two first, not least because it was told in a more 'professional', fluid way, this time achieving to create a tense atmosphere.
I don't say this because I participated as a guest at the party at the Millenium editorial office, even if that added a certain 'extra' to the serie, no doubt!

Millenium 3 - Luftslottet som sprängdes

Do you recognize me in the photo below?
This is a photo from the third part in the Millenium Trilogy: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, in french La Reine dans le palais des courants d'air.

It's from a party at the editorial office, looking at a broadcast where they show when Lisbeth Salander is released from custody.

fredag, april 23, 2010

Greek economy

The greek prime minister, George (Georgios) Papandreou, finally asked the European Union and the IMF to help Greece sort out their financial problems.
He asked for 400 billion SEK=41 billion €=55,5 billion US$!

Now the discussion has started whether or not the European states within the Union should help Greece and if, how to do it.JustifierGermany wants garanties for this loan but France seem to be more willing to help without any specific demands concerning this particular 'detail'.

It seems as if the Greek cause is ours! This not least when listening to many economists, who claim that the Greek problems could spread to Europe as a whole and even become a world wide problem.
Well, of course we shouldn't listen to economists and if we do, listen critically.
The question to ask, is if there are cultural causes to the Greek financial problems.
Do the men sit around, drinking and talking to much, work to little?
The women seem to work all the time but they are perhaps not involved in the sectors being the most 'productive' according to traditional economic thinking.
This is the image you sometimes get when looking at reportage, covering the life in Greece.
The same goes for Italy and Spain and and a couple of other countries in the southern parts of Europe.

Of course there are many countries in the world who have had financial problems but there are differences and maybe these differences could be found in the way of living?
As with the French agriculturists. They are the ones within the European Union being granted more of the agricultural subsidies than any other country per capita, yet they are having great problems becoming competitive and profitable.
Noone asks them what they are doing wrong!

Finally, if the European Union shall function as a 'union', we probably have to adopt the Musketeer-slogan: "One for all, all for one"!

This means that we have to 'rescue' Greece and thereby rescue ourselves?!

This last argument is the only one that could convince the other European states to intervene in favour of Greece.

torsdag, april 22, 2010

Ambassadeur touristique de l'Indre

I've finally received the so called Carte de membre du Club des Ambassadeurs, making me Ambassadeur touristique de l'Indre!

This is a result of the education I followed in La Châtre; Visa Accueil Tourisme, giving the participants a deeper knowledge concerning tourism in France from a more general point of view and Le Centre in particular.
This includes information concerning the cultural heritage in all its diversity (castles, churches, monasteries and other interesting sites; music, literature, film etc etc.) and how to improve the welcoming of tourists in this very region.
With this card I'm able to visit a great number of different sites in the center of France and this for free.
Of course it's meant that I shall invite my friends or other people I know coming to visit us in La Châtre and so I will, now being an 'expert' in the field!

(Photo copied from: http://www.indre.fr/culture/le-conseil-general-soutient-la-culture/le-club-des-ambassadeurs)

Ban on veils in Belgium and France?

In Belgium and France the two governments are now finally discussing when and how to implement a total ban on veils totally covering a woman, worn in public.

In France - where I live - this discussion started long ago and I have earlier written about this debate and what I think of it.
Here I would just like to show some pictures (taken from BBC News) displaying different kinds of veils and how they differ from each other.

As I've written before I find this being somewhat of a pseudy-debate.
The number of women in France wearing a burka or the like, is estimated to not more than 2000, if even that amount.
In Belgium we are talking about 200 women!
One can't say that this constitutes a real serious problem, can one?

Of course I understand the discussion of people being able to recognize and identify someone in the street and when meeting a muslim woman in any public environment where it's essential to know who you are talking to etc.
On the other hand this could be solved easily with different kinds of technical equipment, identifying a woman dressed in a veil of any kind.

And again: We don't accept people being masked when coming into a bank or a store, as this is interpreted as a threat.

Others say that this is also to prevent suicide-bombers and different kinds of terrorist attacks using these clothes as a hiding place for explosives.
This is very exagerrated. Of course this could happen but in that case we should ban all kind of clothing as it's fairly easy to hide explosives under 'ordinary' clothes to, taking into consideration that these kind of equipment doesn't have to be bulky, on the contrary very small and sophisticated.

Finally I would like to say - as I wrote before - that if a muslim woman by her own decision and not forced by fundamentalistic men, wants to wear a burka, well aware of that this is nothing essential for the muslim faith and not at all linked to a 'divine decision' but more linked to the fact that men in all religions always have imposed rules more harsch against women than against themselves, not least concerning sexuality, she shouldn't be denied this right.
However if a certain job (in a hospital e.g.) requires other clothings she should abide by this decision or not work within this specific sector at all.

Another question is of course whether or not a majority of muslim women believe that this constitutes an important trait of the muslim faith or if most of them, through social pressure, are forced to wear these clothings.
If they would be forced to wear 'ordinary' clothes, would this prevent them to leave the house and if some of them did, would they be persecuted by muslim fundamentalists?

Below we see different kinds of veils, their names and how much they cover the body and face of the woman.
Judge for yourselves concerning what you could accept and not.

onsdag, april 21, 2010

China after the earthquake

In China it's a National Mourning Day for those people killed in the earthquake in the Qingha-province, near Tibet and with a multitude of Tibetans living and working there.
Recent figures talk about 2064 people being killed but still one haven't found all and this will take some time, if even possible.

This is one of many natural disasters only this year and of course the question that arises is whether it's because of the Global Warming and in that case if man is the main responsible for these catastrophies.
Of course this could be a part of a geological phase, within a couple of months or year changing into more stable conditions.
As I've written elsewhere, whether or not the global warming we now see is caused by humans or not, is a question secondary to the fact that our way of life - not least in the economically developed parts of the world - influence our health and environment in a negative way.

This conclusion - a conclusion I think most reasonable persons would agree to - should be enough for us to change our behaviour and way of life.
Unfortunately man is not only the greatest predator in the history of earth but also the most selfish animal, only able to see to the present and the well being of ourselves here and now, not taking in to account the future risks.
Some would say that this is to generalising and of course it is but we are all egoistic creatures and unfortunately seldom able to look ahead at future risks, at least not for long.
In connection with environmental catastrophies or extraordinary events, we often make proud declarations, promising to take into consideration the climate factors and dealing with them as effectively as we can.
In our daily life we tend to go on living as before.
Even if we sometimes vigorously discuss these questions and also point out the different causes leading up to problems with health and environment, we tend to go back to our destructive living after a while.

In Sweden a survey recently displayed that 97% of the physical researchers were convinced that the global warming first and foremost was caused by human behaviour.
90% of them believed in the scientific results from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

2009 and 2010 has been filled with different natural disasters around the world and I can't say if there have been more than usual because this depends on the perspective wherefore we can't trust scientists or statistics neither. These figures are always biased depending on the persons presenting them and what personal interest he or she has in this question.

China is one of many countries experiencing the benefits of economic growth but will also be affected by the negative aspects of this very same economical development and those negative effects will also affect us in Europe and the rest of the world.

(Photo earth quake China copied from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/photogalleries/china-earthquake-anniversary-ruins/images/primary/090512-01-china-earthquake-town_big.jpg)

lördag, april 17, 2010

In the Electric Mist

...is a film by Bertrand Tavernier.

Tommy Lee Jones is a policeman (Lt. Dave Robicheaux) coming to Louisiana (New Iberia) to investigate a savage murder of a prostitute and he thinks that the local Mob leader - Julie Balboni (John Goodman) - could be guilty of this crime.
Balboni is also the co-producer of a civil-war film and he seems rather unscrupulous as a person, Robicheaux obviously knowing him for a long time. Balboni says somewhere in the film that: "we used to be friends...".
On the same time one of the 'film-stars' participating in this movie, starts to talk about another corpse found nearby, a black man, shot many years ago, a crime Robicheaux actually witnessed.
At the time he was young and afraid of going to the police, reporting this crime.
Robicheaux' work does to some extent disturb some people in the area and he feels he's being fooled and at the same time he becomes more and more interested in the old murder of the black man. Maybe he could link the two murders to each other?

It's a fairly good handicraft but unfortunately the acting and characters are very clichélike.
Intertwined in all this is Robichaux' fictive dreamlike talk with one of the characters of the 'film within the film' - the Civil War-film.
This did'nt add much to the story, it feels superfluous, something you add to make the film more 'artistic' perhaps.
If one want to use this kind of intertwined stories, it has to add something to a film, sentiments, philosophical ideas, a lapse in time or anything else that enriches the story in some way.

By using the big and rather fat John Goodman in the role as the local 'Godfather' Tavernier yield to the very traditional picture of such a person and Jones is the somewhat tired cop, somewhat blasé but at the same time - almost - a heart of gold.
Tavernier also uses Tommy Lee Jones characters voice as a voice over telling stories of the past and the present, linking past and present together.
This technic seems to be influenced by the classic police- or crime stories on film, like Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer when done for the movies or TV.

OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus

by Michel Hazanavicius is a french, humorous version of James Bond 007.

At first I thought - before watching this film - that it would show itself being a somewhat ridiculous version of Bond, with some kind of slapstick humour à la french (oh la la, how dare I say so, living in France) but I was positively surprised.
First of all this is a recent version of older ones made during the 1950's, 60's and 70's and the events in this film is taking place during the late 1960's.
The main character is Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, agent 117, the very best agent in the world, according to his superiors.
He is sent on a mission to Rio de Janeiro to find an old nazi officer who is hiding there.
On this mission he have to work with the Israeli secret service Mossad and a very beautiful and charming Israeli female agent, who he at first take for granted being his secretary.
Superfluous to say it - after quite a while - evolves into a romantic love story between the two even if the female agent at first is totally uninterested in Hubert. This does of course hurt his ego, being fully convinced that he is totally irrestible.
On the other hand Huberts indiscrete comparisons and commentaries about Jews doesn't please the Mossad agents.
In one scene he doesn't want to leave his case containing valuable things to them and when they ask why he explains that it's to precious to leave to anyone else but "this doesn't at all have to do with the idea about Jews and money!" (my relative representation of what was said).

Interfoliated by bossa nova music sung by, among others, Dean Martin, this story blends the classic agent story à la Bond but combined with a humour, not to loud and slapstick-like, no on the contrary, rather charming.

Jean Dujardin and Louise Monot are both very good in their roles as agents and I think that Dujardin once more display his talent as a comedian.

fredag, april 16, 2010

1732 Høtten (Bloody Angels)

In Norwegian this film is called 1732 Høtten but the English title Bloody Angels is not bad at all, considering the content and a certain person involved. (Trailer)

A young girl of 13 with Down's Syndrome is found dead in the little town of Høtten and a couple of months later one of two brothers, being suspected for the murder, is in turn found drowned.
If he or his brother was guilty or not, was never established but a majority of the inhabitants in this little town, believe he was guilty.
A somewhat cynical and weary detective - Nicholas Ramm (Reidar Sørensen) - is called upon from Oslo and he arrives in this sleepy little town using somewhat unconventional methods to deal with this case.
However when trying to get some help from his colleagues and villagers he stumbles into a some opposition.
Some colleagues find him being somewhat bully and 'big', using methodes they find unnecessary sophisticated.
They are used to run their investigations according to a 'reliable' pattern and Ramms methods goes beyond their horizon.
When it comes to the villagers it's the same thing. They are unwilling to help and Ramm wonders why.
Are they scarred and if so, who do they fear? The brother they suspect being one of the guilty ones, the police or anyone else?
People also get more and more hostile versus Ramm and they try to undermine his moral, both mentally and physically, when he try to shed some new light over this event.
In the middle of all this, we found the younger brother of the suspects - Niklas (Gaute Skjegstad) - is constantly being harassed by both the children at school and older youngsters. He's being very bad treated and his mother seems to afraid to do anything about it, having all the villagers looking at them as 'that family'.
The end is dramatic and together with Ramm our suspicions are directed towards several persons in the village but who is the killer of the little girl and who is the killer of one of the brothers?

This is a very well directed film with extremely good acting.
The tension is gradually built up by small means. There are no extreme violence but the underlying hate and threats creates a tense atmosphere, as thick as the clouds from the volcano on Island right now.

This is the first time I've heard about the director Karin Julsrud but I'm very impressed by her work and I would like to see her make more films of her own but she has only made two films and most of her professional work has been connected with the production of different œuvres by others.
I hope she reconsider.
Two of my wifes (and mine) favourite actors participated in this film, namely Bjørn Floberg and Bjørn Sundquist .

(Photo poster at top copied from: http://playground.surpix.com/surpix_film_appendix/Images/461.jpg)

(Photo poster bottom copied from: http://interaktiv.vg.no/filmextra/bilder/plakater/store/174s.jpg)


This volcano eruption on Island in Eyjafjallajökull, is quite amazing and impressing, at least as long as you're far away from the center of the action, so to speak.
One might think that this is something very unusal but according to a french volcanologist, this is not unusual at all.
What he meant by "nothing unusual" wasn't totally clear, as he didn't inform us if this happens several times per year or once every five years.
The fact that we take notice this time is of course because it's close to us in Europe and that it actually affects the air traffic both in Europe, the USA and Asia.
Discussions concerning possible impacts on health were answered with the establishment that it could have an effect on people being asthmatic but only if the smoke would continue 'invading' Europe, containing humidity created by the ice and snow embedded in the smoke.
According to the volcanologist, the eruption might continue a couple of days, weeks or even months (if I rembember correctly) but when the snow melts the humid smoke will be stopped and this might end the problems for the rest of Europe and the world.

The Icelandic population should of course be more worried than we in the other European countries as this affect them heavily.
In some areas people have been advised to stay inside and if they have to go out, they must or should carry gas masks.

torsdag, april 15, 2010


by Adam Shankman (2007).

There exists an older version made in 1988 by John Waters. Aurore has seen it.
Some of the actors in that film was Divine, Deborah Harry (Blondie) and talk show host Ricki Lake.

The main actors in this film is John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Queen Latifa.
This is a musical and last year it was staged in Stockholm (Chinateatern) playing until the 28th of March this year, visited by more than 120 000 persons. In one of the roles one could see Joanna Perera Eriksson, a show artist I've once worked with during a making of commercial in Sweden.
A very popular musical who ran many years on Broadway and in the West End.

The story is located in Baltimore in the early 1960's and it all circles around a very popular TV-show - the Corny Collins Show. One of the stars of the show leaves and Corny (what a name) holds auditions with several young women eager to become the next shining star. Like the 'docusoaps' today.
One of the aspirants is Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), a somewhat overweight teenager, dreaming of becoming a star.
She has a very fine voice but the standard of 'looks' were then as rigid as today and therefore her opponents - and expecially one, namely Amber von Tussle (Brittany Snow) - mock her, in order to make her give up.
Ambers mother Velma (Michelle Pfeiffer) is also a 'pain in the ass'.
Another injustice is that the black adolescents are not allowed to perform more than once a month in this show.
This is however not the 1950's and change is coming.
With the help of her mother Edna (John Travolta), father Wilbur (Christopher Walken) and the black youngsters and one of their mothers, the strong and independent Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifa) they of course succeed in turning things around.

I very much liked this film and not least for the music and the humour.
Seeing John Travolta in the role as Edna was really amusing and today I think that most people know that even Christopher Walken once was a dancer, whereby the casting is quite interesting in this part.
Queen Latifa is of course extremely charming in her role and most sing- and dance numbers are very good and well choreographed.
In the role as Mr Pinky we see Jerry Stiller (the father of Ben Stiller), who in the older version from 1988 did the role of Wilbur Turnblad.


Submission or in Swedish: Underkastelsen is a new film by Stefan Jarl, the Swedish socially engaged director, who - according to Ingmar Bergman - "fights for ideals and convictions".

This film will premiere any day now and it's another example of a film about the environmental and health problems we cause ourselves by using and being exposed to hundreds of thousands of chemicals every day.
Jarl takes as his starting point the development after the Second World War, when the use of chemicals - to some parts as a result of the use of chemicals in war - became extremely common.
Today - and for years - we are surrounded by some 100 000 chemicals going through our bodies and causing health problems of different kinds.
This is well known and has been discussed earlier but maybe the era we now live in will make us more susceptible to this message?
Well for some years now - as during the 1960's and 70's - questions concerning environmental and health issues has been on the agenda constantly, not only through different international research programs and conferences but through films and documentaries made in order to highlight these questions.

Al Gore is one of many influential opinion-makers but this work is carried out everywhere in the world by people far from the spotlights but at least as engaged in this issue as Gore or even more (an unintentional rhyme).
I have myself seen a great number of films concerning environmental issues - An Inconvenient Truth is one, Bullshit another, to mention two very different films - but I can't mention them all here but through this link to grinningplanet you can find some films in different categories.
Another site is this one: Mother Nature Network.

I recommend you to see this film as the œuvres by Jarl often are very engaging and carried by a great pathos.
In this film he also interviews scientists and politicians and he undergoes blood tests to see how many chemicals he is carrying in his body and so does a Swedish actress who is expecting a baby.
What they found? I don't know but it wasn't particularly encouraging, I guess.
I haven't seen this film myself and I don't know when I will be able to see it in France but if it's released in 'a cinema near me', I will of course try to make it there.

The Catholic Church and the pedophiles

During decades and more the Catholic Church have had major problems with priests using their position within the hierarchial organization in order to sexually take advantage of young boys and girls .

The last months this issue has been debated more than ever though the issue in itself has been one - of many - slurs in the history of the Catholic Church.
The difference today is that pope Benedict XVI as the first pope addresses this question in writing as he has done in the letter published a week ago.
Within the Catholic Church the discussion concerning who are most to blame is very topic at the moment.
Some say that the pope and his predecessors are the ones to blame, others that those clergymen and others aware of these abuses are more to blame as the pope can't control every single corner of this vast church.

First of all one have to acknowledge that those being outermost responsible for these atrocities are of course the clergymen involved in these acts.
One can't blame the celibacy as this is something everyone becoming a priest within the Catholic Church is aware of and if this causes problems for anyone, it's better to resign and admit that one can't live and act under those circumstances.
Some would argue that leaving the church on those grounds is'nt to easy as one have committed oneself to this task but this is of course nonsense!
If choosing between resigning and the theoretically imagined disgrace this could lead to, or continue working and living within the church for a whole life knowing that I regularly molest young children and adolescents, most of us - if we are equiped with a hint of a conscience and being somewhat mentally stable - would choose the initial.
This was not the case concerning the clergymen accused for these abuses.

I agree with those saying that the celibacy in itself doesn't create pedophiles or sexually frustrated men but that pedophiles or sexually frustrated men becoming clergymen, does constitute a problem as they are less likely managing to live under the rules and regulations prescribed within the Catholic Church.
Again though: If embarking on a clerical journey like this, one have to take on the responsibility it means and not least within a domain where people - strangely enough - very strongly put their trust in you as a 'representative of Jesus'.

How long might these abuses have been an integral and hidden part in the history of the Christian Church? Probably as long as the hierarchical church structure, monastery and celibacy have existed.
Why haven't a greater number of people - submitted to this treatment - stepped forward earlier during the decades or centuries we are talking about here?
Probably for the same reason - the hierarchical church structure.

If we could go back in history and, invisibly, had the possibility to search every corner of the Christian church geographically and denominationally, we would surely find cases with people trying to shed light over these terrible actions but they were obviously silenced one way or another.
Another explication is that the stories of those children, adolescents or women, subjected to these abuses, probably were treated as lies or some kind of heresies, meaning that they stood no chance at all when accusing a priest or bishop.
Who would believe them in a world even more governed by church leaders than today. Choosing to trust an 'ordinary' person and one ordained by God(?), who did one believe in those days.
The answer is apparent.

This obviously goes for events of this kind even during the 20th century, wich is somewhat surprising as we think of ourselves as 'enlightened' and well informed persons today, compared to the 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th century - and earlier generations of - men and women.
The hierarchial structure is of course not unique for the Catholic Church and the same mechanisms with a top-down runned organization we find within all Christian church structures and denominations, the Swedish Lutheran Church as well as any other.
As having studied theology and once wanting to become a priest within the Swedish Lutheran Church (I have worked as a priest assistant in some parishes in Stockholm during the 1990's), I saw many examples of how hard it can be trying to prove that a high official have done something wrong or used his or her power to silence opponents. I will get back to this later in another blog comment.

As having read about Benedict XVI and having regarded him as a very conservative person, during his time as cardinal, violently fighting the liberal theologians in Latin America among other things, I was surprised to see that he now has taken action and finally bringing up the subject of pedophilia on the agenda.
This could of course be a form of cabotinage, where he pretends taking action but later on letting the issue die.
The future will tell us as always.

A 'problem' with the former pope John Paul II was that he was extremely popular, probably one of the most popular popes in the history of the Catholic Church - mostly among Catholics of course, though he also seemed to have enjoyed appreciation even from non-Catholics.
In the public mind I think he was even regarded being quite 'modern' and maybe even progressive (I know that these expressions have different connotations in different social contexts whereby one should use them with some caution).
However, as pope John Paul II became so popular, travelling the world like a globetrotter (even going to a 'pagan' country as Sweden), this meant that people within the Catholic church became less inclined to criticize him for the things he didn't spend much time dealing with, e.g. pedophilia within the Church!
I must say that I personally - though not Catholic - was very disappointed seing that he always seemed to avoid this very delicate issue.
Was this because he was a cowardly person, because he wanted to shut down serious criticizm against the Catholic Church, because he had to many friends within the clergy who themselves were involved or had pope John Paul himself committed similar assaults?
These questions we might never be able to answer but we - or rather the Catholic Church and all its adherents - have to admit that it's a shame that neither him nor his predecessors did something radical in order to come to grips with this infectious tumour within the Catholic Church.
In all honesty we must also admit that the Bible has been used in many different Christian congregations and denominations, as a mean to dominate women, children and non-Christians whereby these assaults are to be found in any Christian (and of course non-Christian as well) context all over the world.

Finally: When it comes to the question of responsibility for the hiding away of these abuses, this is something all Catholics, laymen or priests, collectively have to share as few Catholics have been unaware of these atrocities.

Hopefully Justice will conquer over Hypocrisy.

(Photo Pope Benedict XVI copied from: http://sjen.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/benny.jpg)
(Photo John Paul II copied from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BQHdZWzgq4U/TcDKF8COaNI/AAAAAAAAAYA/760bWI98Uy8/s1600/JP2c.jpg)

World leaders in Copenhagen

This is a photo taken by the photographer Henrik Montgomery (Scanpix), in connection with a workshop at the climate conference in Copenhagen, COP 15, in december last year (2009).

In this photo you are able to see some of the world leaders - notably European - gathered for a more informal meeting, more relaxed but at the same time somewhat tired, judging from their postures.
It's also an image showing these leaders in a rather fragile and unprotected situation.
If you happen to be in Stockholm you can see his photos at a photo gallery called Galleri Kontrast (see information through the link), beginning at 6.30 pm today.

On the same time they display photos by Pieter ten Hoopen.
Montgomery has won the cathegories The News Photo of the Year and The Photo of the Year 2010.
ten Hoppen won the category The Photographer of the Year 2010.

More about the environment later.

(Photo copied from: http://5956n.typepad.com/.a/6a0105362c625a970b0120a7f751f4970b-800wi)

måndag, april 12, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire/La fille qui rêvait d'un bidon d'essence et d'une allumette

Now we've seen the second part in the trilogy by Stieg Larsson, directed by Daniel Alfredson.

In this second episode we follow the search for a mysterious person - Zala (Georgi Staykov) - and we get to know more about the life of Lisbeth Salander, who she is, who she was and what made her the person she is.
Accused of a tripple murder - two journalists and a lawyer - she hides but on the same time she wants to be acquitted from these suspicions and starts her own odyssey amongst men who purchase women and other criminals in different layers of society.
Her girlfriend becomes the victim of violence - when someone tries to find Lisbeth - but she survives.
This incident makes Lisbeth even more determined to continue searching for the persons guilty of the crimes she is accused having perpetrated.
Mikael Blomkvist continues to look for her but also for those who he thinks might be responsible for the murders. He is one of the only persons believing Lisbeth is innocent.
On the same time the Millenium editorial office continue working through all the tips they've gathered concerning sex trafficking within the police and other groups in society.
The police authorities - and specifically one homofobic policeman - are convinced that Salander is guilty whereby they concentrate on her and those they consider being her friends and 'allies'.

On the whole this part is very predictable as far as the plot is concerned and this I'm able to say without having read the second book (only the first).
Aurore has read all three books and as I have written before, she wasn't at all enthusiastic about them and not about the films either - so far.
Personally I think that the acting is amateurish with some exceptions, e.g. Per Oscarsson in the role as Holger Palmgren, the above mentioned Georgi Staykov as 'Zala' and Michalis Koutsogiannakis as Dragan Armanskij. If this is due to the actors or the director, is hard to determine but some of these actors are regarded as the foremost in Sweden. Not doing better than this is no good publicity for them as a representatives for this specific professional society.

Now the first episode of the third part in this trilogy is being sent Monday the 19th of April and the second episode of the third part on Monday the 26th of April.

I'm sorry to say that I hardly think I/we will revise my/our opinion.

söndag, april 11, 2010

Albert et méchant

We watched this film in french television and the name of the director is Hervé Palud, the film made in 2004.

One of the main characters - Patrick Lechat (Christian Clavier) - is informed about the death of his father, a famous writer, with whom he hasn't had much contact during the years.
The father leaves a rather substantial fortune to the heirs, that is to say Patrick - and his half brother of whom he didn't know.
He decides to visit him in order to come to an agreement, not least as things are going bad at the work and both him and his wife are living over their means.
When meeting Albert Moulinot (Michel Serrault) - his half brother - he finds out that he's an excentric, leaving in a lodge in the forrest and living from trade-offs. He is not interesed in money and consequently not the heritage;
However, in order to straighten things out judicially, Albert have to come with Patrick to Paris to sign all the papers and this is not as easy as Patrick might have thought.
Coming to Paris, Albert stays with his half brother and their family but as he's an excentric and the wife of Patrick an upperclass woman, or at least wanting to live and act as such, this causes great problems - for everyone.

In spite of good actors I can't say that I found this story particularly amusing.
The jokes are foreseeable and it becomes somewhat of a slapstick movie but not as charming as such a film can be.
The actors exaggerate and this can sometimes work out well but in this case it doesn't add anything substantial to the way this story is presented.
The actors were also criticized for being to 'theatrical' in their acting and this might be correct as it truely feels like a theatre comedy, more suitable for the stage.

lördag, april 10, 2010

The Color of Paradise

...or in original: Rang-e khoda (in French: La Couleur du Paradis), a Iranian film directed by Majid Majidi (1999).

I had never seen this film but Aurore had and she also were in possession of the DVD.

The story is located to Tehran and the institute for the blind where the young main character Mohammed, waits for his father, supposed to take him home during the summer vacation.
We see all the other children, with warmth, being brought to their different destinations by their parents but Mohammed is left alone with one of his teachers who tries to comfort him, saying that the father has been delayed.
The fact is that Mohammeds father is ashamed of his son and actually not interested in bringing him home.
While waiting for his father - who finally arrives - Mohammed rescues a bird who has fallen from his nest and almost being eaten by a cat.
This is somewhat the 'trademark' for this boy, his deep interest and engagement in nature and living creatures, thereby trying to learn about life itself and how precious it is and how important loving and caring is.
The same love and affection he seeks from his father, love that the father is unwilling to give.
When arriving in the village all the women and girls are happy to see Mohammed again but his father tries to hide him, not least for his fiancée, with whom he intends to get married.
Mohammeds grandmother doesn't approve of her son neglecting her grandson but she's more worried about Mohammeds father than Mohammed. The latter - though fragile on the surface - is deep inside mentally stronger than his father.
The father takes his son to a blind carpenter, hoping that he will take care of him, making it less complicated to marry his fiancée, not needing to present his son.
Will the father in the end be able to show his son all the love and affection he so desperately long for?

This film is very touching and interesting, displaying a man who is very immature and not at all up to his role as a father. Egoistic, irresponsible, he hurts his son deeply, not least as the latter might be more sensible to emotions than a non blind person, 'reading' his father from the first day at school.
The director has early on in his career had Mohsen Makhmalbaf as an inspiring source and mentor.
I can recommend this film for those of you who like a good scenario, with interesting characters and an interesting story about love, responsibility, the shortness of life and questions concerning "why" and "if".
On the same time it's a film 'nice' enough to suite The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

fredag, april 09, 2010

The Good German

This film we watched on DVD and in the three main roles we could see actors like George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Toby Maguire. Director Steven Soderbergh.
This could have meant that this became an extremely good film - but no.

The story circles around Jake Geismer (Clooney), an American journalist arriving in Germany to cover the Potsdam conference, Lena Brandt (Blanchett) a German prostitute, once the girlfriend of Jake, who is desperate to get out of Berlin and finally corporal Tully (Maguire), Lena's current 'protector'.
A dead mans body washes up in Potsdam and Geismer tries to solve the mystery around this death but neither the Americans nor the Russians are interested in helping him. Their priorities lies more in finding nazis (the Americans) and rocket scientists (the Amerians and the Russians) like Braun.
Finally Lena has her own secret, revealed in the end in a scene reminding me of one of the last scenes in Casablanca, when Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart say goodbye to each other.

Aesthetically Soderbergh works in black and white combined with documentary pictures, trying to create an ambience reminding of a post-war film, made in the 1940's.
This approach works out rather well though we as spectators are not fooled to believe that this is not a modern film and this is surely not the intent.
However when it comes to the narrative, I'm not impressed at all, or I should rather say disappointed.
This story could have become much more thrilling than it actually is.
I don't know why Soderbergh is unable to achieve this because it shouldn't have been to complicated as the story in itself is'nt bad at all. Maybe making a thrilling story was not his goal?
Maybe he just wanted to make a 'good old fashioned' black and white story, less adventurous than one could have anticipated.
If so I would have liked some more interesting depiction of the different characters, deepening the psychological insight in their different psyche but I can't find this either.

I wonder what Hitchcock could have made out of this as there were clear references to war or post war times films made by A.H. - and others.

torsdag, april 08, 2010

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

This film (sent in French television tonight) by Tim Burton circles around the figure Pee-wee Herman, created by Paul Reubens, who also is doing 'his' role as Pee-wee in the film.

I remember the name vaguely but Aurore reminded me about this figure - one of many - created by Reubens, entertaining children but making parents go crazy.
He's a androgyne person with a small tiny voice and a grey suite, reminding me somewhat about Klaus Noomi.

In this film his favourite gadget - a bicycle - disappears and he starts a nationwide search after this treasured object.
There are a lot of slap-stick-like humour and exaggerations supposed to be funny but I can't say that either the humour of Reubens or the mis-en-scène gave me big opportunities to laugh.
The Pee-wee figure is rather tiresome and even if Burton tries to create a burlesque humour - maybe à la Marx Brothers, Tati, Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton - I can't say they succeed.
The most amusing scene is in a film studio where Pee-wee interfer in different film making projects biking around hunted by gards and police.

A lot of references to other movies and Burtons first 'real' movie one could say.

tisdag, april 06, 2010

Resident Evil: Extinction

This film by Russell Mulcahy is a follow up of other Resident Evil films. I'm not even sure I've seen the others but maybe Aurore has.

Anyway, in this film we get to meet the main character Alice (Milla Jovovich) who after the so called Racoon City disaster (a virus set loose) now find herself all alone, travelling through a almost dead world, where human life is more or less eradicated.
Alice is a very special woman, as she once was subjected to an experiment by the 'evil' Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) at the Umbrella Corporation, where she worked herself.
This experiment has given her special powers, physically and mentally and this she uses to - in this case - fight of all the zoombies who are set loose.
In the desert she meets a group of humans who have succeeded to escape and now they all try to cross the USA in order to get to Alaska, the only decontaminated place on earth.
On the same time Dr. Isaacs tries to find her and he does so thanks to a satellite with which he can control her.
He wants her back in order to use her for his own evil plans. His intention is - among other things - to make clones of her but to achieve this he needs her in person.
This time the controlling satellite doesn't work as well as before.
Obviously Alice has learnt how to resist the signals from the satellite.
The journey and fight continues. Will they reach Alaska and what will happen if the clones are let loose?

This is a combination between films displaying what high-tech-inventions/-industries and 'mad' scientists are able to create and devastate and a traditional zoombie-film.
The first category is something we've seen since the dawn of film and the latter became very popular during the 1970's.
I can't say that I found the story particularly original but as an entertaining piece of work with the traditional ingredients mentioned above, displayed with a humour showing self-distance in face of the theme it's not unbearable.

I wounder if Milla Jovovich always will play somewhat 'unusual' women or if she will be given the chance to portray a 'real' woman of flesh and blood?
Maybe this is what she prefers and above all, the category of films where she is able to earn most money?