Tuesday, January 24, 2017
When a friend told me about this film I confused it with 'The Commune', another Scandinavian filmabout communal living. This one is altogether jollier; there is some funny stuff about the mores and culture of 1970s Scandinavian radicals, but not much of the nuts and bolts of communal living, or about the mechanics of how these people all came to be living together, or what strains it places on the relationships between them.
There's an outsiders' perspective thing going on, because the narrative is about a working-class woman moving to the commune after she runs away from her drunken, abusing husband - so we can see the communards through her eyes, as well as seeing her through theirs. There's also a very straight family next door for a counterpoint. I note in passing that the working class family originally live in what is supposed to be a somewhat soulless flat in a block, of the kind that most working class people in Britain would die for, and that there is no account at all of how the commune has come to be in the rather nice suburban house where it is - is it private rented? Also, there's an old, isolated man that the abusing husband meets as a result of his plumbing job, who talks about the old days when everyone was poor but lived together and were happy. I was surprised to see just how poor 1930s Swedes had been - it sounded like modern poor India.
Watched in the Middle Floor at Springhill, via DVD and projector - with some issues about the frame size.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Excellent critical account about key developments in cities - technology, development, governance - from a great author. There were a few things that rankled a little (I got fed up with the number of people introduced as 'urban theorist' and so on), but this is a really good book. Like all the best, it acts as a gateway to much more, with links and references that are really useful. I particularly like the way it cuts through all the property developer bullshit and tells it like it is for those of us who still retain the loose distinction of citizenship of these cities. I'd have liked even more about the hot money pouring in to London, New York and so on, because that seems to shape my experience of living in my city. But that's not even a quibble. No hesitation in recommending this, and I look forward to reading more by Stephen Graham.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
The scenario and the plot seem a bit garbled - it's got a time-travel component that doesn't seem particularly well thought through, with little interest in paradoxes or forking futures or whatever. There's a sort of underlying nasty Nazis thing too - the monsters are called 'hollow casts', or something like, that there is a suggestion that the grandfather who introduces the boy to all this is actually traumatized by his experiences in wartime Poland (something we are not shown), and we do see the children's home being destroyed by a bomb with a swastika painted on it. Not developed, but rather thrown away - as is the suggestion that this might be all be a hallucination caused by the boy's head-hitting accident early on in the film. Did somebody mean to make more of this and then decide not to bother or to take it out? I see that it's based on a novel that was very successful - is the plot and scenario clearer in that, or less clear in a way that makes it matter less?
It's got an interesting look to it, though considering that it's set in the 1940s it really ought to look less steampunk than it does - Miss Peregrine's dress doesn't look at all Utility, for example, but sort of cod-Victorian. Lots of nice special effects, especially the raising of a sunken ship from the sea bed. It's always nice watching Eva Green, though where did that accent come from and what was it supposed to be?
Watched on a plane to New York - my first long haul flight for several years.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Watched on TV via Netflix, Android phone, and Chromecast.
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
It's rather well done, with some good creepy characters; Geena Davis is particularly good as the Big Producer of The Amazonian Games, a dystopian fantasy franchise that pits leather-clad women against mutant cloned neanderthals on post-apocalyptic earth; sadly, this doesn't actually exist, though it should.
Watched on our TV via legitimate Netflix subscription.
Friday, December 30, 2016
And then it's about the racist reception they get from the town, and how the family eventually wins the populace over - he saves a baby, his daughter turns out to be a brilliant footballer who saves the fortunes of the local team, and so on. And he has to win his wife over to persuade her that they should stay, because she still wants them to move away to somewhere else - maybe the Zairean community in Brussels, where she has family and friends.
It's mostly enjoyable, and was a good family feelgood film for Xmas day, but it was sometimes uncomfortable to watch, because though it's supposed to be an anti-racist film it occasionally resorts to glib stereotypes to illustrate the 'clash of cultures' between the Zaireans and the French.
The epilogue explains that it's a real story, told by the doctor's son who is a Brussels-based rapper.
Watched on our TV via formal Netflix subscription.
I note that the earlier scenes of the resistance on...I forget, there were so many planet names in the first ten minutes...looked a lot like insurgents in Iraq, or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan - so much so that it reminded me of the Russian film 9th Company, which is of course a much better film.
Later the Rebel Alliance looks much more like a conventional army, albeit one with a rather loose and unusual command structure. In fact it looks a lot like the American army, and the fact that it seems to win its ground combat through massive air support must surely be significant - not something that 'rebels' usually can muster. We never see the fighting from the perspective of anyone on the receiving end of this, just the successes of the X-Wing fighters in smashing up Empire armoured forces and ground troops.
Watched at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Watched on TV via Chromecast, from a formal Netflix account.