culture

Hyppige elementer blandt bedste danske film

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Bo Green Jensen har skrevet bogen De 25 bedste danske film, hvor man blandt andet finder Vredens Dag, Kundskabens træ, Babettes gæstebud og Den eneste ene. Denne korte liste på 25 film, der blev udgivet i 2002, har jeg lige indtastet i Wikidata via “katalog”-egenskaben. Når det er gjort, kan man benytte Wikidata Query Service til, med en SPARQL-databaseforespørgsel, at finde elementer der går igen blandt filmene. En sådan SPARQL-forespørgsel kunne se sådan ud:

SELECT (COUNT(?item) AS ?count) ?value ?valueLabel WHERE {
  ?item wdt:P972 wd:Q12307844 .
  ?item ?property ?value .
  SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "[AUTO_LANGUAGE],da,en". }
}
GROUP BY ?value ?valueLabel
HAVING (COUNT(?item) > 1)
ORDER BY DESC(?count)

Denne version tæller film og ordner elementerne efter hvor mange film de enkelte elementer indgår i. Informationen i Wikidata er nok ikke helt komplet. Med Magnus Manskes Listeria-værktøj kan man dog få en tabel konstrueret der viser at hver enkelt film er rimeligt godt dækket ind.

SPARQL’en findes her og resultatet ses her.

Det er ikke overraskende at et af de elementer der findes ved alle de 25 film er at de er oplistet i De 25 bedste danske film. Det er lissom en tautologi… Hvis vi går videre ned i hyppighed finder vi at Bodil Kjer og Anne Marie Helger er de højest placerede personer.

Bodil Kjer forbindes nok mest med gråtonede film fra 1940’erne og 1950’erne – i listen finder man hende som skuespiller i Otte akkorder, John og Irene og Mød mig på Cassiopeia – men i sin senere karriere gjorde hun sig også bemærket, dels som skrøbelig frue i Strømer, dels i den første danske Oscarvindende spillefilm. Hun er ikke en overraskelse.

Hvad jeg finder overraskende er at Anne Marie Helger ligger med 5 elementer, og dermed den næsthøjeste person på listen. Hun er skuespiller i Strømer, Johnny Larsen, selvfølgelig Koks i kulissen, og Erik Clausens De frigjorte. Hun figurerer også som manuskriptforfatter på Christian Braad Thomsens film.

En tak længere nede kommer Erik Balling, Ebbe Rode, Ib Schønberg og Anders Refn. Balling er producent på to film på listen og stod for både instruktion og manuskript på Poeten og Lillemor. Anders Refn er filmklipper på to og var tillige i en dobbeltrolle med instruktion og manuskript til Strømer.

Min navnebror Finn Nielsen er med på listen i forbindelse med tre film: Strømer, Johnny Larsen og Babettes gæstebud. Han gjorde forøvrigt også en fin(n) præstation i Kærlighedens smerte, som ikke kom på listen da instruktøren allerede er repræsenteret med Kundskabens træ.

Sverige står som samproduktionsland på fire film. Det er særligt i de senere års film, men den første film er faktisk Sult som jo er fra 1960’erne.

Og så iøvrigt mangler Bodil Kjer at blive talt med en ekstra gang: Som ekstra 26. emne lister Bo Green Jensen Far til fire-serien. I denne serie indgår der en legetøjselefant ved navn Bodil Kjer…

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Journalist af karsken bælg: En bog om Lise Nørgaards journalistik af John Chr Jøgensen

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Godt niveau og levende sprog fra en akademisk herre der har baggrunden i orden som kyndig i kvindelige journalister skrives om nationalklenodiet, Lise i guldsandalerne, og damens mindre fremdragede side fra tiden som mesterlærling frem til stjerneskribentens Pilestrædetid med ekstraordinær ret til ucomputeriseret skrivemaskine. Jørgensen placerer hende som borgerlig individualist med ben i næsen, en ironisk distance og fornyer af journalistgenrer.

På side 38-39 får vi smag på sprogkunsterens evner: Hendes allerførste nu 81 år og et par uger gamle lederartikel fra den 4. januar 1937 i Roskilde Dagblad. Anledning var udenrigspolitiske forviklinger ved et royalt bryllup mellem en hollandsk prinsesse og en tysk prins og her hedder det om naziregeringen at:

“Den har følt, at noget maatte der gøres, og da det ikke var muligt at faa en Finger med i Spillet i selve Holland, vedtoges det at fratage tre tyske Prinsesser af ædleste Blod, der skulde være Brudepiger ved Formælingen af den formastelige Prins og Prinsessen i det Land, hvor en Fodboldkamp med Tyskland kunde foregaa under andet Flag end det med Hagekorset, deres pas. Naa, da Ilterheden havde lagt sig og en Kurér fra den indeklemte Prins havde været hos Hitler, maatte man fra Naziside være blevet klar over, at saadan skulde det alligevel ikke gribes an.” En indskudt dobbelt bisætning med alliterationer og så deres pas og nå!

“En Frygtelig Kvinde” and gender

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En Frygtelig kvinde” is a recently premiered Danish film. On this blog I have previously considered how male and female view a film differently: In the case of the Klown movie, there seems to be a slight tendency for female reviewer to be less enthusiastic.

En Frygtelig kvinde” portrays a man and a woman as they fall in love and move together. Keeping in mind the title, “A terrible woman”, would it mean that male film reviewers grade it higher than female reviewers? Below is a small sample – by no means complete – of published film reviews from assorted venues. Danish grades typically go from 1 to 6.

Grade Gender Venue Reviewer
4 Female/Male Berlingske Sarah-Iben Almbjerg, Kristian Lindberg
4 Male BT Michael Lind
5 Male Ekko. Claus Christensen
4 Male Ekstra Bladet Henrik Queitsch
4 Male Filmland P1 Per Juul Carlsen
5 Male Politiken iflg Kino.dk Kim Skotte
 5 Male Soundvenue Rasmus Friis
 4 Male Moovy Elliot Peter Torres
 5 Female Den korte Avis Lone Nørgaard
 2 Male CinemaZone Daniel Skov Madsen
 1 Male Filmz Morten Vejlgaard Just
 4 Female Jyllands-Posten iflg. Kino.dk Katrine Sommer Boysen
 ? (fairly negative, which perhaps can be translated to “3”)  Female Information  Lone Nikolajsen

There are too few reviews for us to make any firm conclusions. A notable issue is two very negative reviews by two males.

A few samples: While Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis finds it very funny (“skidesjov” og “pissesjov”) the male Filmz reviewer views it as “a misogynist crappy movie” (“en kvindefjendsk lortefilm”).  Two fourth-wave female feminists have opposite views: “a fantastic movie” vs. “really disappointed“.

Even the woman in the movie generates opposite views. The actress, Amanda Collin, are generally praised, but for POV International the character is “faceted” while Louise Kjølsen finds it stereotypical. Lone Nikolajsen characterizes the two main characters as “two well-known sex role clichés”.

According to Ekko, Directory Christian Tafdrup’s previous film sold only 1’603 tickets(!) but was generally praised and received several awards. “En frygtelig kvinde” is produced for just 4 million Danish kroner and the theater was packed when I viewed it.

Review of Val McDermid’s “Forensics: The anatomy of crime”

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Val McDermid, apparently an author of some standing as a writer of untrue crime novels, has written a true crime walkthrough of forensics topics interweaving real-life cases and comments. The fine selection of topics has no overall progressive narrative to such an extend that most of the chapters may have been permuted without loss of coherency. If there is a base for the book it is a fascination and awe for modern forensics. She is a good writer. Perhaps her crime novels has trained her in writing clear prose. She delves not into academic technicalities that could perhaps have been interesting.

She has based her book on other books as well as a good number of interviews with a broad range of forensics experts. A few of these comes from the University of Dundee: Forensics chemist Niamh Nic Daéid and forensics antropologist Sue Black.

I find McDermid view of the fallibility of forensics balanced drawing forth cases where presumed experts lack self-critique. Bernard Spilsbury and a U.S. ballistic expert Thomas Quirk are critized. For Roy Meadow, McDermid presents aspects of the tragic Sally Clark case that I do not recall having read before: The appeal was not prompted by Meadow’s evidence but by Pathologist Alan Williams that had failed to disclose blood test results. I do sometimes find popular science writing lack an appropriate level of critique to the material. McDermid is one of the better writers, but I do find one case where she oversteps the confidence we should have in science. Here is what she writes on page 164: “We already know, for instance about the existence of a ‘warrior gene’ – present mainly in men – which is linked with violent and impulsive behaviour under stress”. When I read “We know” I get mad, and when I read ‘warrior gene’ I get extra mad. Behavioral genetics is a mess full of red herrings. Recent meta-analysis of the warrior gene polymorphism MAOA-uVNTR and antisocial behavior (“Candidate Genes for Aggression and Antisocial Behavior: A Meta-analysis of Association Studies of the 5HTTLPR and MAOA-uVNTR“) reaches a 95% confidence interval on 0.98-1.32, while, interesting a very low p-value (0.00000137). The strangeness of difference between confidence interval and p-value is discussed in the paper and presently walks over my head. What seems reasonable certain is the loads of between-study heterogeneity. Any talk of warrior gene needs to acknowledge the uncertainty.

There are certainly more elements to forensics than McDermid presents. A Danish newspaper has recently run a story about cell phone tower records used in courtroom cases. A person carrying a powered cell phone reveals his/her location, – but only with a certain exactness. Cell phones may not necessarily select the nearest cell tower. From my own experience I know that my cell phone can select cell towers in other countries from where I am located, e.g., my cell phone in Nordsjælland in Denmark can easily select a cell tower in Sweden 15 to 20 kilometers or more away and my cell phone in Romania switched to a Ukrainian cell tower perhaps 20 kilometers or more away. U.S state Oregon has seen the case of Lisa Marie Roberts that on her bad lawyer’s advice pleaded guilty in 2004 because of critical important cell tower evidence. In 2013 she was freed.

I was struck by one of the stories presented that originates from the book of criminal lawyer Alex McBride. A surveillance camera records a case of apparently straightforward violence, but McBride is able to get his client off by threatening to use another part of the camera recording showing a policeman mishandling a person in a case of wrongful arrest. The prosecution dropped the charge for the original case. It does not seem fair to the victim of the original crime that the criminal can go free just because another crime is committed. To me it looks like a kind of corruption and extortion.

(Review also available on LibraryThing)

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

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The Edinburgh Festival amalgates multiple sort-of independent festivals during August month. The original festival is the Edinburgh Festival. And then the Fringe Festival is the fringe event of that festival. A book festival is stoved away in the middle of Edinburgh. And the 152nd International Photographic Exhibition appears in Great King Street. The official book for the Fringe is over 400 pages long.

Going in the dense area of Edinburgh you will invariably get fliers for all sorts of performances: Shakespeare was there at venue 54 but didn’t see him; Crtl-Alt-Sketch was rescheduled to 8:30 PM and contained catty porn; Kurakuraw is the first and best known Taiwan contemporary indigenous dance theatre – and “deeply touching” according to the Scotsman; while Feng Dance Theatre’s Kid Box  is a “fantastic realm of language visual arts drama, installations, singing and dancing” and James Loverige is simply just “funny because it’s true”. Other acts are “impressive and hilarious”, “deliciously farcical” or contain “wonderful, terrific, life-affirming stuff.” The New Celts are also there with The Magic Egg and Lace Up in 36. There is also the show that “transcends the stage”. These were some of the fliers I was handed.

Here are the acts I ran into in 2014:

Made in ILVA – The Contemporary Hermit in the Summerhall venue was a one-man theatre performance from an Italian theatre company called Instabili Vaganti. Indeed he worked for it in this piece that primarily stood out with the physical performance, supported by the monologue in English. The single man used his body in repetitive machine-like movements in a spare scenography. As he was coming to the end his shirt was dripping wet and when he threw it on the floor a “smash” sounded through the room. A promotional video does not quite give justification for the performance.

James III: We didn’t manage to buy tickets to James III playing at the non-fringe part of the festival. But standing at the ticket office we must have looked sufficiently confused and innocent to get handed over two tickets by a couple for free! Thanks, very much” From a Danish point of view this particular piece was of interest as Sofie Gråbøl had a part in the play as the queen. With her monologue in the final scene she provided the theatrical highpoint of the show. Whereas Fringe shows typical last an hour, this non-Fringe piece lasted several hours with a break in the middle. Good but not dangerous.

Shazia Mirza provides deadpan humor based on her British-Pakistani background. We got £10 seats for the show, Bulletproof, playing in The Assembly Rooms in the late afternoon at 17:15. The joke I remember from the show was a remark to the Guardian-like audience. She is apparently on again for the 2015 edition of the Fringe trying out new material.

We lost a show because we did not manage to get there in time. Parking in Edinburgh during festival time is not an easy task.

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall had a show called Success Arms at Underbelly Cowgate that I did not see. But I did see a free afternoon show Alasdair Lists Everything, a whimsical minimalistic endless monologue of pure words. For a whole hour! Interestingly, he manages to associate quite freely, an amazing capability. See an examples here: “Crafting a really nice pancake”, “Coffee table smell”, …

The Warriors: A Love Story was traditional modern dance with multimedia, with a theme around the bombing of Dresden.

Looking for Paul – Wunderbaum provided one-of-a-kind show: Labeled as “performance art, multimedia” it started out with Inez van Dam, apparently a young respectable Rotterdam bookshop owner and not quite comfortable on the stage. She complained about a sculpture put outside her window, the Buttplug Gnome of Paul McCarthy. This part of the show appeared like some kind of slide show, public hearing, theatrical documentary, mockumentary or explanation of the making of a documentary where the actors join in as characters in a theatre company. Wanting to confront Mr McCarthy – or at least they tell us so – they go to Los Angeles taking Inez along, but then the preparation for the play or a play apparently goes wrong. The rest is transgressive theatre – inspired by the perpetrator McCarthy. A playful narrative, to such an extent that I am still not sure about Inez van Dam and what is fiction and fact and what is satire and not. Well done, Holland!

We managed to find some good late night standup in a cellar in Queen Street I believe. One gay did gay humor and one women did jokes about her washing machine. Good ol’ fashion standup.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, somewhat away from center, featured a disappointing exhibition of some forgettable sort.

For a good intro to Edinburgh Fringe from a comedian as a Danish reader you can try Sofie Hagen’s Mærkelige ting: Om at være på Edinburgh Festival. She is doing a show called Bubblewrap in 2015.

Beyoncé on YouTube

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YouTube surely contains a lot of quirky homemade videos, but also highly stylish professionally produced video. Harlem Shake, Star Wars Kid and Numa Numa are examples of the former while most Beyoncé videos are examples of the latter.

New Beyoncé choreograph video lends the aesthetic of the homemade video (or lack of). Interesting mix.

Finns attack Earth in April

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Finns attack Earth in April.

It happens with a €7.5 million budget black-humored scifi movie, Iron Sky, staring Nazis and Sarah Palin and possible Dr. Strangelove set together by Finnish Timo Vuorensola also behind collaborative film-making site Wreckamovie.

According to The Independent 1 million of the budget came from Internet donations.

Although the movie has some known faces, Udo Kier and Bond villain Götz Otto, most seem little known, Stephanie Paul playing a main character not even yet on Wikipedia.

The strangely haunting Under The Iron Sky by “Adamantium Studios Feat. Kaiti Kink” is also worth mentioning. The people behind the song are apparently Tapani Siirtola with Joonas Naskali. Note, on the starwreck forum the director asks about whether they should use the song in the movie.

It is interesting to see the well-hyped partly collaborative approach. Whether the movie is actually good and reaches its high expectation is another story. But collaborative film-making from the Finns is worth following.

Here is the haunting Under The Iron Sky: