corpse companionship

‘Knew him personally at all, did you, sir?’ the Detective Chief Superintendent of Police asked respectfully in a voice kept deliberately low. ‘Or perhaps I shouldn’t enquire.’     The two men had been together for fifteen minutes but this was the Superintendent’s first question. For a while Smiley did not seem to hear it, but his silence was not offensive, he had the gift of quiet. Besides, there is a companionship about two men contemplating a corpse. (Le Carré 1979: chpt. 3) LE CARRÉ, JOHN [aka CORNWELL, DAVID JOHN MOORE]. 1979. Smiley’s people. London: Hodder & Stoughton. … Continue reading

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clockpunk musketeers

The moment he emerged from the water in full 3D glory his equipment at once reminded me of the ↵industrial tribal art, and I already liked the movie. The majority of the critics’ reviews paints a less favorable picture, though. Nevertheless those reviews pour quite some water on my mills.     Alonso Duralde for example ↑wrote for Reuters: “The creators of the umpteenth new adaptation of ‘↑The Three Musketeers‘ [Anderson 2011] decided that the classic novel really needed a giant blimp battle, high-tech booby traps, bird droppings, ‘Matrix’-esque slo-mo fight scenes and scads of computer-generated French soldiers.” [bold emphasis … Continue reading

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who built it?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #2 The screenshot was taken from the opening of a classic horror movie. Throughout the movie vistas of the house are to be seen many times. Interestingly enough the house’s spectacular interior was not used at all—instead a mock Victorian interior was built at a sound stage. The mock-up has nothing to do with the house’s real interior, although a particular design element of the original was interspersed here and there.     Decades later the movie was remade, without the house—the stories of the remake and its sequel play in a fictitious art deco building. … Continue reading

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remember

“Remember, remember … the fifth of November!” Well, well, the fifth of November just broke, and I’m curious what’s going to happen. If ↑Guy Fawkes, respectively ↵Alan Moore‘s “↑V for Vendetta,” and ↑its movie adaptation of the same name, on the symbolic level really is of such importance to the #OWS movement [see ↵occupy guy and ↵guy headroom], then we should expect some occupation today. Above that ↑Anonymous has announced actions against Facebook and against a mexican drug cartell—that is, if Anonymous indeed announced all of that, and not some hoaxsters. Anyway, it’s the fifth, it’s Guy Fawkes’ day. If … Continue reading

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moving image archive

This is a straight attack on your precious time—but the weekend is dawning anyway.     The ↑Moving Image Archive has, among other goodies, a huge ↑collection of feature films, which can be viewed and/or downloaded legally for free—there are gems like ↓Night of the Living Dead. This is possible because e.g. the copyright on a movie has expired. But that does not mean that you’ll only find very old movies there. Legal curiosities force movies into the public domain, too. Like when the copyright notice by some mistake didn’t make it to the movie’s release print.     Of … Continue reading

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billion dollar brain

“↑Billion Dollar Brain” (Russell 1967) is a cold war spy thriller movie based on the ↑novel of the same name by British writer ↑Len Deighton (1966). Said novel is one of a series starring an unnamed secret agent, working for British intelligence, as the central protagonist. During the 1960s three movies were made, based on three novels of the series. In the movies the protagonist has a name, ↑Harry Palmer, and is played by ↑Michael Caine.     Both, the novels and the movies, somewhat counter ↑Ian Fleming‘s urbane character ↑James Bond and his glitzy high society universe. Deighton renders … Continue reading

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ethnographic times

With ↑this year’s EthnoFilmFest in Munich close (16 through 20 November 2011) I remembered some old associations.     The above screenshot is taken from the 46 seconds short film “↑Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory,” the first of a series of ten short films presented at the ↑very first commercial screening of movies—on 28th December 1895 in Paris, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café. The short piece is a documentary film, or an ethnographic film—if you take ethnographic in the strict sense of the term.     41 years later Chaplin brought “Modern Times” (1936) on the silver screen, … Continue reading

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wireless

These days the telephone turns 150 … if, without any reservations whatsoever, you accept ↑Johann Philipp Reis (1834-1874) as its inventor. German media during the last weeks were inclined to accept it that way, naturally. Alas, a short glimpse on the ↑timeline of the telephone teaches us that we can not anymore write histories of technology by constructing absolute origins and godlike inventor personalities. Nevertheless does it seem above dispute that Reis coined the term “telephone.”     Be all that as it may, I take the ample opportunity to have a look on how the future of the telephone … Continue reading

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