Dienstag, 31. Mai 2011

A month of movies: May.

In order to deal with what I previous month coined "Leipzig's critical lack of movies presented in original language", I decided to change the rules of the game and start presenting mini-reviews of recent DVD releases as well. This will also allow me to get to some of the... shall we say more popular titles, as witnessed in this installment, in which I say a few words about two movies I've been wanting to see for quite a while and fewer words about two I didn't really feel like watching. You may guess which is which. On to the show:

The short -
Go and see: /
Well worth watching: Passione & Im Himmel, Unter der Erde (In Heaven Underground).
Also deserving a chance: Lebanon (DVD).
Average: Un Homme Qui Crie (A Screaming Man), Utopia Ltd., Buried (DVD).
For lovers of German comedy: Polnische Ostern, Vincent Will Meer (Vincent Wants To Sea).
For the Action Man® in you: Robin Hood (DVD), The A-Team (DVD).
For documentary enthusiasts: Kleinstheim.
Forget about: V Subbotu (Innocent Saturday).

The long -

Dienstag, 24. Mai 2011

We live together in a photograph of time.

Note to self: Kein Antony auf dem Nachhauseweg in der Morgendämmerung.

Samstag, 21. Mai 2011

Buchbesprechung: Bora Ćosić "Im Ministerium für Mamas Angelegenheiten".

„Mamas Angelegenheiten“ machen da weiter, wo Bora Ćosić in seinem auch in Deutschland bekannten Klassiker „Die Rolle meiner Familie in der Weltrevolution“ aufgehört hat: Mit der Erzählung des Alltags einer jugoslawischen Familie in Belgrad vor, während und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Deren Leben zwischen Normalität und dem Wahnsinn dieser Zeit beschreibt Ćosić wieder aus der Sicht des Sprösslings der Sippe, der die Absonderlichkeiten seiner Verwandtschaft so selbstverständlich hinnimmt, dass sich bald auch Leser und Leserin mit deren Absurdität abfinden. Alle kommen sie zu Wort: Die Tanten ungefragt zu wirklich jedem Thema, der Schürzen jagende Onkel am liebsten über Frauen, Opa weiß es in jedem Fall besser und die vergeblich um Fassung und Anstand ringende Mama weist den schon wieder besoffenen Papa zurecht. Zwischendurch erzählen die Nachbarn die neuesten Gerüchte übereinander.

Von allen Seiten kommentiert wird dabei auch die finstere Realität der 40er Jahre, als erst Deutsche den Ton angeben und Menschen jagen und dann unter umgedrehten Vorzeichen die russischen Befreier Kollaborateure und jene, die sie dafür halten – und das sind viele –, hinrichten. Umgekommen wird leicht im umkämpften und neu gegründetem Jugoslawien, und wen es nicht gleich dahinrafft, der/die wird von Hunger und Kälte geplagt. Umstürze werden hingenommen, in der Schule werden neue Parolen gelehrt, Opa bleibt skeptisch und die Tanten erfreuen sich an der wechselnden Mode. Ganz nebenbei werden in „Mamas Angelegenheiten“ so Triviales und Weltgeschichte vermengt. Das alles passiert aber in einem so liebenswert absurden und vor allem absurd liebenswerten Tonfall, dass der Sprung von der Farce ins Groteske vonstattengeht ohne Narben zu hinterlassen. Mama weiß, „das Leben bleibt bitter und unheilbar!“, also: Weitermachen und sich nicht allzu sehr ins gefährliche Geschehen einmischen.


Mittwoch, 18. Mai 2011


Montag, 16. Mai 2011



Freitag, 13. Mai 2011

Eurovision '11.

It's that time of the year again. Cue the best of jingoism, chauvinism, racism and glitter. Someone's country is probably better than somebody else's country and all for the wrong reasons - unless you can make up some new ones, which should include made-in-Moldova-CGI (it's starting!) and plastic surgery. If you ever cared to know about Judith Butler's secret passion for Maltese breasts, do read on. If you ever cared for music, go and watch a recording of Eurovision 2008 or 2009.

Albania: A strawberry ice-cream haircut, America '01 symbology, cloning and an innovative way of zooming into Google Earth. What more could you ask for? Well, plastic surgery actually would do nicely, for starters. Failed to qualify for the final.

Armenia: Boom Boom Chaka Chaka, your love is like a whacka. Well, thanks Emmy, I appreciate the sentiment, but there have been quite enough Eastern European mafia types driving their overpowered sport cars down Unter den Linden while listening to crap techno music before. Failed to qualify for the final.

Austria: Austria is back and may as well go away for a few years again.

Azerbaijan: A duet ballad. If you've forgotten to care, the male singer's face will remind you that Azerbaijan is not exactly a Central European country. The male singer's voice, however, will remind you that you really ought to not keep forgetting to put that nutria trap out at night.

Belarus: Our favourite remaining European dictatorship surprises us with a propaganda anthem originally titled "I love Belarus". I love Belarus cock, feel it in my hand. And I wanna see your bum shake, Aleksandar Lukashenko! Failed to qualify for the final, which back in Minsk qualifies her for the firing squad.

Belgium: Credit where credit is due: At least they're trying to be somewhat different. It still doesn't appeal to me, but I can totally see this ported into South Park. Failed to qualify for the final.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Yodel-ohoho! Yodel-ahaha! Whoo-ooo-oah-ohoho! Inbetween looking like a harmless member of the British House of Lords, ready to join Prince William in a spree of fox hunting, Dino occasionally glares at the camera, showing his true war criminal face.

Bulgaria: Codename: "Haircut". It almost would have been "Make-Up". Awkward pointing at the blue stage an added bonus. Failed to qualify for the final.

Croatia: Bimbo alarm in, you guessed it, Croatia. Celebrate! Every single step you take! Stop the world for a moment! Shine like a comet! Nothing can stop you now! Besides the remainders of anything that might be considered a taste in music, women or anything else for that matter perhaps. Failed to qualify for the final.

Cyprus: Previous years have taught us that the people from Cyprus have a knack for corny music videos that seem to be shot with a phone camera. This one looks like a trailer for a Mediterranean horror-themed soap opera. Failed to qualify for the final.

Denmark: Winner of the Prince-Memorial-Haircut-Award. When you're beginning to realize the fact that the singer's hair is not actually burning but merely being aimed at by a massive lighting system, the band's producers reconsider and aim it right at your retina in an effort to shell-shock you into liking this crap.

Estonia: Rihanna has finally gone completely insane and bleached both her face and her music.

Finland: Growing hemp is serious business. As is global warming and all that jazz, but hey, it makes for nice ballads and da, da, da, (Three Gorges) dams.

France: Soundtrack to the latest historical movie with an alternate timeline, Christian conspiracy theories and Russell Crowe in the lead? Initial calculations indicate a strong "Yes".

Georgia: Amy Imbruglia on a drug trip that causes her to violently flail her arms. And the rapping guy from Linkin Park. Both missing out on the fact that Earth's rotation could be interpreted as a symbol of time passing, things changing, trends fading.

Germany: Sending previous year's winners doesn't have much of a history of success in Eurovision, but it might actually work out for Germany's entry due to the title winning the straight guys vote. Everyone else will have fallen asleep by the end of the song though.

Greece: Dark, brotha. If you hadn't hired Ricky Martin to do the chorus, that is. Studded bracelet and basecap vs. erratic hand movements and a haircut so gelled up it develops its own conscience and positively refuses to follow on grounds of labour legislation.

Hungary: The United States of Cast Stone and Feeling Hand, clad in leather. Also: A haircut that scares the beeheevus out of me, smudged eyeshadow and disco balls.

Iceland: Having to rip off Germany's pop corpse Sascha is a sad, sad affair. Go back to ten years ago.

Ireland: Finally, regular fags. Attempting to carry on the fine tradition of copying Eleanor Jackson's latest haircut the twins fail spectacularly and end up looking like condoms. I have less nice things to say about their music.

Israel: Ding Dong Same Old Song. Dana International is back, and one can only hope she'll lose her physical balance again. Her vocal balance is fragile as it is. Failed to qualify for the final.

Italy: Honestly, this is okay. You'll be fine. Just stop smiling like that, please.

Latvia: Winner of the annual RHYMECORE-Award. "Kill me with killa kiss, kill me with tempting lips. Stare at me with candy eyes, love me luscious thighs, angel in disguise." Somewhere in the last third of the song, a hipster dwarf unexpectedly attempts to rap while the singer with an emo-haircut expectedly breaks out in "Ohooohhhs" and "Noooohhnoooonooos". Failed to qualify for the final.

Lithuania: A traditional Eurovision entry, to put those to sleep who just have been violently awoken by all the 90's Eurovision entries. Does resemble a hog more often than looking like a Ad&D troll villain.

Macedonia: More hair that will not budge, more guitars that serve as props only and more of the same. The Former Yugoslavian Republic continues to fail to inspire. Failed to qualify for the final.

Malta: Care for Judith Butler and breasts a lot? Maybe I promised too much. Instead we have Warhol, breakdancing, Lichtenstein, a drag queen and "Don't try to judge me, you don't know how I feel" lyrics. They're not even ashamed. Failed to qualify for the final.

Moldova: Franz Ferdinand have relocated to Chişinău. Ben is not fazed.

Netherlands: A dwarf with a guitar, greasy hair, Bono sunglasses and the least interesting song imaginable. Way to not surprise me, Dutchies. Failed to qualify for the final.

Norway: Stella, Stellaaaaaaaaaa! Where did you get than tan in Norway? Eurodance meets supposedly African beats. The Football World Cup was last year, doofus. Failed to qualify for the final.

Poland: Zoom, pan, shake hair. Wave hand. Will fail horribly but following the show net a contract with a shampoo manufacturer. Failed to qualify for the final.

Portugal: The Village People have migrated to Portugal. Telling their new home country's history in six costumes, they dress up as a military dictator, a bureaucratic dictator, a hippie and three odd fags. Failed to qualify for the final.

Romania: Air keyboard! Animated picture frames! Drumming in a lift cabin! Air drumming! These Romanians sure are zany guys. The video also features a song that sadly will not stop by itself.

Russia: I CANNOT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PRONOUNCE ENGLISH WORDS. I also look funny seen through a fisheye lens. Lou Pearlman, help me!

San Marino: Excuse me, but you've got something in your hair there. When the singer is wearing her hat and Colonel Gaddafi goggles instead, this seems like the official chemotherapy acceptance song. Failed to qualify for the final.

Serbia: Careful, Serbia, for you're going where countless countries have failed in previous years. At this point not even massive amounts of plastic around the stage and in your singer's face will save you.

Slovakia: Albania's evil nationalistic twin. I get it: Slovakia excels at both sports and catastrophes. Failed to qualify for the final.

Slovenia: Clearly too heterosexual for Eurovision, this song fails even the basic requirements for entertainment. It also evokes a constant feeling of "When have I heard and seen this before?". Slovenia must be one little bored conservative country.


Sweden: I will be a poplar. Wins male gay vote for being fondled by his oversexed background dancers even on stage. Watch 2:24 for spesszhul effacts and the Star Trek Original Series red alert klaxon.

Switzerland: Dreamy look? Check. Extended cheekbones? Check. Flashbacks? Check. Nananananana? Check. This year's summer blockbuster romantic comedy soundtrack that will make you want to abort puppies.

Turkey: Reamonn have invested into a keyboard and this year are living it up for Turkey. Keyboard cat could have done better and hopefully for all of us, will do one day. Failed to qualify for the final.

Ukraine: Plastic plonde puppet parades past people in a circus. Creepy circus character certainly approves with a leer.

United Kingdom: A fella that will start a fight with the bouncer at the club tonight, a high-pitched yay-sayer who tonight will bring home sushi to his boyfriend, a village idiot that will defend the Palestinians' right to bomb the hell out of Israel tonight at the debate club and a nigger who tonight will spend dreaming about becoming as awesome as Seal. What could possibly go wrong this time, dear Britannia?

Amusing videos: Albania.
Enjoyable songs: /
Endurable songs: Finland, Italy.
Potential winners: Ireland, United Kingdom?

Montag, 9. Mai 2011

Kommst du raus aus dem Alltag?

"Die Welt, die ihm gegeben war, mochte er nicht. Darum verließ er Welt, Menschen und sichtbare Gegenstände und begab sich in die warmen, sonnigen Länder der Antike."

(Andrzej Szczypiorski, in: "Die schöne Frau Seidenman", S. 194)

"A true feeler always brings half the entertainment along with him. His own ideas are only call'd forth by what he reads, and the vibrations within, so entirely correspond with those excited, 'tis like reading himself and not the book."

(Laurence Sterne, in einem Brief)

"No wonder that the Mythology, and Arabian Nights, and Shakespeare, and Scott's novels entertain us,--we are poets and fablers and dramatists and novelists ourselves. We are continually acting a part in a more interesting drama than any written."

(Henry David Thoreau, in: "A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers", S. 75)

"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."

(Logan Pearsall Smith)

Sonntag, 1. Mai 2011

A month of movies: April.

Leipzig is showing a critical lack of movies presented in original language. Why anyone would, why I used to settle for dubbed films is beyond at me this point. It's painful to watch and listen to, prone to awkward translation errors and removes a sizable part from acting performances. I'm not sure why so few movie theaters in Leipzig show original language films, as they're usually just as popular especially at small locations, and I'd imagine there being a big enough foreign crowd as well in this town. Here's what remains:

The short -
Go and see: /
Well worth watching: Winter's Bone & Francesco und der Papst.
Also deserving a chance: Womb & White Box.
For fans of Asian cinema only: Hanyo (The Housemaid).

The long -