Monday, 30. April 2018
A whole teenage ago: To M. of the future

(People who maintain personal/opinion blogs like this are probably often lonely. Here is 15-years-old proof by me, of a phase when I began to be unrequitedly infatuated with a beautiful & wordwise woman, me thus given to occasional bouts of wild secret prose, in this case at least once unintentionally funny...)


I've always felt it a cop-out to tell a person I'm interested in and who I at the time hope is interested in me: "I warn you, I can be difficult. There are certain times when I can become very hard, however soft I may appear to you now; e.g. I react badly to exploitation - of the I'll-engage-with-you-as-long-as-you-don't-crit-me kind - or manipulation. On the other hand, I'm not one to bear grudges."

It's as if I'm insuring myself against an uncertain future, if, when things developed and then go sour, I can say, "I told you so at the beginning". Friendship or love needs to have an element of true risk, I think - people need to accept that (as I need to, too).

I'd be a fool not to see that you're unsure about wanting to get closer to me. I don't even know if I want to, or want you to; I have my own prejudices against "popular people".

Anyway, I've written the above fast here. Let's hope we get beyond pre-emptive warnings and snap judgements.

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Sunday, 1. April 2018
Swiss family April-foolish thoughts

Neuchâtel lake, Switzerland, on a clear end-of-winter day While I'm here helping an accident-downed relative out for a few days, in her new beautiful apartment looking toward the Swiss Alps (cf. view from living room on left), I lennon-like imagine...

  • a new near-septagenarian interior minister, who actually does something about refugees arriving from the South-East, e.g. by getting in tandem with the foreign minister to establish processing consulates in African countries to inform intending migrators of their chances, plus by supporting the foreign aid minister in getting more effective economic help to source countries - rather than prattle on opportunistically about what religion belongs to our national culture or not

  • a labour minister, who, perhaps in tandem with the economic & foreign ministries, finally does something about fair trade via labourers of foreign countries, if fair work is truly a concern of his (as he has said in the past)

  • a young & loud health minister, who does more in his tenure than just stop-gap one tenth of needed personnel in care-for-the-aged institutions

  • a prime minister (or "chancellorette") who doesn't try to "pick up" voters who have browned-out toward the populistic hard right, but e.g. makes the path to citizenship for foreign folk in the country clearer & more achievable, at the same time informing the general public that citizen's rights are strongly/visibly protected by a nation that has - for better or worse - managed to overcome (with a lotta help) the inhuman ravages of fascism!
Is the land I dream of with such governing folk Germany? Hoo nose!

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Monday, 5. February 2018
SnubOSCARitis²

A brief worthy mention of two films that the U.S. Academy - the well-known, filmic one - chose to totally ignore this year.

WONDER WOMAN

This may not figure as the best film in a cinematically literate sense. But it was surely one of the most rounded ones in the sense of a special ensemble effort by directrix, acting company & crew, as well as one of the most unanticipated world-wide successes ever. Add to that the probable significance to the feminist cause. (Yes, I know die-hard feminists disliked it, as they have probably always disliked an asymptotically perfectly-appearing superheroine being associated with their cause; but... could #MeToo have happened without this film helping to set the societal tone?)

If I had to reduce the film to two nomination-worthy categories, it would be the directing by - up till she got the go-ahead for this new one - one-hit-wonder Patty Jenkins, whose personal verve & vision of the first female comic superhero permeates this work of fantasy. Plus the manuscript by Mr. Heinberg, which i.a. makes the central figure one who simply doesn't get gender inequality, and, thus freed of all traditional containments, in her words and deeds in the world of men, becomes the ultimate feminist role model. To which, amazingly well-cast Israeli model & up 'n coming & bright-eyed actress Gal Gadot may also have contributed!

IN THE FADE

Diane Kruger (pictured) is cast as a young Hamburg mother in this film by rebel no-holds-barred German director Fatih Akin, but then pops out a hardened & brittle "beyond her years" (and closer to her real-life age) sudden widow, when both her Turkish husband & young son are horribly killed by a cowardly neo-nazi bombing near his office. With a particularly nasty kind of (nail) bomb, similar to the one used in the Boston marathon bombing some months ago.

Akin also wrote the screen play, dividing it into three acts, which all have their own "universes", and come across very different: Where the first one simply begins the sad story of what happened on that original explosive day, the second one transports us into the antiseptic white-marbled hall of a German court, replete with a wise but encumbered-by-basic-law-principled judge, and diverse lawyers testing the weight of proof, that the accused, a young couple, whose female half the widow saw leaving the scene of the crime, are the perpetrators, without a doubt! In the third act, Akin turns the whole thing surprisingly into a kind of revenge Western at the Greek oceanside, without guns, but with more deadly nails...

Subtract the veteran German actress, one of the few who have definitely made it internationally, i.a. as a wise & sad Helen of TROY, and Akin's plot is a pretty flat deadly-action-loving one, with the truly saving grace of putting the German justice system on a glaring pedestal - not having done enough over decades to bring murdering Neo-Nazis to justice, i.e. in the end appearing too soft, once more in this fictional film story.

However, Kruger lifts the film into one's attention in all three acts by the force of her emotionally true acting-out of the woman who slowly learns she has lost everything... but the will to "clean up" hate mongery in the end.

As did Cannes jurors re Kruger herself, the members of the Academy should have nominated this film as Best Foreign Film, but probably were put off by the wild "Western" ending. Perhaps also overseeing the afore-mentioned critique of Germany's handling of neo-nazism - no small matter!

Well, c'est la vie Oscarienne. To be snubbed, or not to be. My two cents' worth: At least one nomination each should have settled on these gems! Shame!

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