rebness: (Casablanca: Renault for Prez)
O hay, gorgeous new layout from that damned lovely [ profile] mothergoddamn. So, anyway. We were talking about our favourite, least favourite scenes in films and why. Bbs, can I share with you? Of course I can. :D


Casablanca, the Marseillaise scene.

Forget Ilsa and Rick (though I love you, bbs); to dismiss this film as nothing but a turgid romance is To Miss the Point.

In this scene, Victor (Ilsa's husband and therefore love rival) is begging Rick to sell much-needed papers for him to flee to America with Ilsa and escape Nazi persecution. Rick, full of jealousy and unable to see why Ilsa loves him, refuses to sell them. And yet, Victor forgets this to once again stand up for what is right. The Nazis are singing Der Wacht am Rhein, an Austrian nationalistic song whilst the refugees of those countries they have persecuted sit around, listless and unmoved.

Lazslo is beside himself with anger; although he should be keeping his head down, he cannot stand to see this. He demands that the band play La Marseillaise and the people, moved, inspired, stand to sing it with him, drowning out the Nazis as they do so; a deadly but brave show of defiance. Contre nous de la tyrannie - against us, tyranny.

It's heartbreaking. At the time of its making, Europe was in turmoil. France had been ravaged with bloodshed and war, refugees fleeing the country. This film was made right in the middle of the war; who knew what would happen? Would the Allies win? Would France ever stand again?
Many of the extras really did have tears gathering in their eyes; they were actual refugees who had fled persecution in Germany and elswhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotion of the scene - perhaps they would never see their homes again. Think about it; it's not just trite propaganda; it's real emotions, the real, raw pain of people facing down a cruel war that we can't even imagine today. It's a curious mix of cinema and true, real history.

Then of course, drunken, lascivious Louis has to come in and shut the place down because he's shocked, SHOCKED that gambling is taking place in the establishment. Brilliant, high drama followed by sharp comedy. Tell me it's not perfect.

Runners up: The kids with the paving slab in Hostel, interview with the boss in Fight Club.
30 Days of Night: We're not scared
So I'm sitting in the cinema with Chris and Kelly, all three of us failing to be scared or even slightly entertained by the vampires in 30 Days of Night.
We have sat through several ridiculous scenes ('It's dark! We can't fly a plane at night!') and The Vampire who Looks Like a Demented Pet Shop Boys Member grabs a hapless victim by his shirt collar.
'Puh-please-oh God help me!' he cries.
A dramatic pause. Pet Shop Boys brings his face closer. Another dramatic pause. He narrows his eyes.
'There is no God!' whispers Kelly.
'!' growls Pet Shop Boy dramatically.
You know things are going wrong when people laugh at a horror film.
Runners-up: The British burn churches, the heathens in The Patriot, any scene in Man on Fire
rebness: (Esmeralda and Djali)
My brother linked me to this today. It caused a deep aching in my soul and makes me want to just sling on a backpack and go off on me travels. World, why are you so beautiful? Look at the Italian Alps. Dear God.

I really, really need a bloody holiday. I'm going to Austria and Greece in September. Hopefully, that will curb the gnawing beast for a while. I'm looking for work in Amsterdam or Germany or anywhere. I want to explore more.

In Yurpean news, some asshat in work keeps stealing food from the fridge and from peoples' desks. As I am The Only Scouser in the office, my colleagues think it's funny to blame me. I don't just mean the UK team, but those French and Germans, as well. It's not funny. >:
rebness: (Libertie)

Alsace and Germany next...
rebness: (Default)

Finally, here is the first batch of my Rome pics. Enjoy! [ profile] airiddh1, hope this is a nice teaser for Rome...

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Rome means dead gay poets, of course. )


Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:20 pm
rebness: (Red!)

I caught Downfall on television last night-- that controversial German film about the last days of Hitler's life, as he spiralled into further delusion whilst the Russians marched on Berlin. It was dark, depressing viewing, as expected, but in humanising Hitler a little (something this film has been criticised for) it actually brought out the sheer horror of this man's regime and twisted viewpoints. It was stringently researched, and scenes and quotes were taken directly from accounts of those with him in those final days, particularly Hitler's secretary, Trudl.

Hitler demonstrated callous disregard for his own people while acting tenderly towards the women in his life. Berlin was torn apart by infighting amongst the troops, some of whom slaughtered shellshocked German people who could no longer struggle on. And yet, despite this, some people still followed him blindly as he passed the death sentence on all those around him, as Frau Goebbels poisoned her own children and took her own life after staying with the dictator. I think it was one of the most effective films I've seen about that terrible period, conveying suffering and the best and worst of human nature succinctly in a film that never patronised nor judged and that was for me more effective in some ways than many other films I've seen about the Second World War.

At the end of the film, the real Trudl (who died in 2002) expressed bitter regret that she was ever foolish and naive enough to take up with such a ruthless regime. She said that she had always told herself that she had been young, she hadn't known about the concentration camps, the widespread slaughter across Europe. And then she said that one day, she came across a plaque dedicated to Sophie Scholl, the young German woman who was executed by the Nazis for drawing attention to the slaughter going on in Germany at the time. Trudl pointed out that Sophie had been born in the same year as her, and was executed in the same year that Trudl began to work for Hitler-- if she had wanted to find out the truth, then she could have. Like a lot of people, she chose to ignore it and the full horror of what had been happening only came out towards the end of Hitler's reign and the dark postwar period. Very sobering.

rebness: (Thursdays)

Making the news in Britain this week is the issue of the High Street Clones. Namely, each city and town in Britain, and even on the Continent, are looking increasingly the same. The high street is dominated by four banks. Go to Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, London, Leeds, Carlisle… you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Every high street will have New Look. Next. Boots the Chemist. Starbucks. McDonalds. H&M. Every high street will have a Link cash machine ripping the customer off with charges to get their own money. Every high street will be done out in that red brick style.

I look at it two ways. There is the fact that these corporate pigs of stores are good for my pocket. I wouldn’t be able to buy a funky top for £4 like I can from H&M. My local newsagents sells spaghetti hoops for nearly a pound when I can get them for pennies from one of the big stores. I can rant and rave all I want, but at the end of the day… these places do help the consumer.

And then there is the self-righteous, angry side of the coin, which I favour. IT’S SO BORING. What is the point of a shopping trip with my friends to another city if I could get the exact same things down the road? How is a person supposed to have any individuality if 30 million people in the UK female population all have the same “choice” in clothing as I do?

I don’t have all that much love for England, so I can just about deal with it. Well, as best can be expected. What I can’t take is that… that Paris, Barcelona, Rome and Cologne are increasingly getting to look like each other.

I loved Barcelona. The city is so vibrant, and alive, and full of Catalan history. Homage to Catalonia came alive amidst the splendour of a city that even the Nazi raids had been unable to destroy. Unfortunately, amongst the funky stores on the Ramblas? Burger King. McDonalds. The usual suspects. Burger King was so vulgar. The workers were dressed up as if they were in a theme park of western “ideals”—beautiful Spanish girls with their hair dyed blonde, spouting Burger King hospitality phrases. McDonalds was…well, McDonalds. Oh, with pictures of Gaudi’s timeless architecture adorned with “I’m loving it.”*

Europe’s sense of history and its sheer breadth of aesthetic difference in such a small area is its strength. If every town and city that has seen so much turmoil, so much celebration, bloodshed and history turns into a sterile world of red-brick paving and clone stores, that identity and the lessons we’ve learned will be lost amid foil-wrapped sandwiches and discount clothing in a way that Hitler and Caligua and Napoleon never quite managed.

*I was recovering from illness and was feeling dizzy so needed a drink. Even a bone-eroding fizzy carbonated drink. McDonald’s was the nearest place. I hate myself.


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August 2013

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