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Just A Beautiful Scene

Not sure it'll translate via cut-n-paste, but to try it anyway (sorry you'll have to wait through the 15-sec advertisement first):


The song being, of course, by Montreal's own Leonard Cohen, and Montreal being, well, the premier French city in North America, and the singers all being so young.... it just both warms, and breaks, my heart....

Je suis Parisienne

Contrasting Democracies

Today was a great day in Canada, as Justin Trudeau was sworn in as the new Prime Minister (I think the 23rd, but I'm not positive on that). Here's a photo of him with his newly sworn-in Cabinet (the equivalent of the Secretaries of This/That/The Other in the US federal government):


Contrast this inclusive, sunny and diverse group with the continuing US Republican candidates - hell, I can't make a link to a photo montage of the lot of 'em, but you know what they look like. And sound like. And represent.

So, which looks more positive to you?

Books in October

Starting off the month with new myth-based fare, as the weather starts to turn colder and we even see a bit of snow!

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard I: The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan.Collapse )

At the Reunion Buffet: An Isabel Dalhousie Story, by Alexander McCall Smith.Collapse )

Dead Ends: B.C. Crime Stories, by Paul Willcocks.Collapse )

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith.Collapse )

The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith.Collapse )

Started the month with fantasy, ending it with mystery - and I've got the brand-new, very fat Elizabeth George novel up next, whee!

Win? Win??? WIN?????

Only 15 minutes after the polls in Quebec and Ontario have closed, both CBC and CTV are predicting that the Liberals have won the Federal election here in Canada! Seems awfully soon to me to make such a call - after all, you've got another 4 more Provinces (out of 11) and one Territory (out of two) still to go - but Quebec and Ontario together make up the vast majority of the population of the country, so perhaps it's right.

If it is, then YAY YAY YAY! Go away Evil Harper, welcome young Justin as the new PM of Canada! Whoo Hoo!!!!

(Post subject to change if the prognosticators are totally wrong, in which case I'll be very very sad.)

Later: Looks like the Liberals have not only won, but have a majority! Yay!!!!!!

Books in September

It's been a very hot and sticky September in Montreal so far - way too hot to want to go outside, it's much better to stay in the A/C and read....

Mortal Mischief, by Frank Tallis.Collapse )

Hawk, by Marie Powell.Collapse )

The Novel Habits of Happiness, by Alexander McCall Smith.Collapse )

A Beam of Light, by Andrea Camilleri.Collapse )

New Worlds SF 160, edited by Michael Moorcock.Collapse )

True Believers, by Michael Blair.Collapse )

The Marsh Madness, by Victoria Abbott.Collapse )

And thus ends September, with Autumn fully in charge now....

Books in August

Hot weather, movies galore (still), and accommodations for Chris's retirement all make August a reading-when-I-can month this year:

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins.Collapse )

A Dedicated Man,by Peter Robinson.Collapse )

Far Beyond the Pale by Daren Dean.Collapse )

The Wolfe Widow, by Victoria Abbott.Collapse )

The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny.Collapse )

Well, not that many books this month, but all quality books I'd say! As we march into September....
From the 1950s through to the 1990s, Turkey had no copyright laws, and Turkish cinema had no money to make the big budget films so popular in the West. They *did* have access to those Western movies, though, and so an independent movie industry was born, one which stole story-lines wholesale (from "Dillinger" to "Star Wars," from "Rambo" to "E.T.", to name but a few) and sometimes re-created them scene-for-scene with *very* low production values, or sometimes just inserted scenes direct from the original into their Turkish version remakes. This documentary finds and films various directors, producers, actors and screenwriters (one of whom points out that at one point, there were literally 3 screenwriters to churn out some 300 movies a year!), and shows us the history of this pop-culture phenomenon. While much of it is funny to see, there is also a serious side to the doc - after the military coup in 1980, there was a crackdown on the Turkish film industry; no, the right-wing extremists didn't care about copyright laws in the West, they didn't even care that the film-makers starting inserting porn scenes in otherwise "straight" movies, but they *did* insist that there be no criticism of the political regime, the ideology of the rulers, or the police. This censorship led to serious repercussions, the effects of which are still being felt today.

A really interesting documentary, about a huge film industry that the West has never heard of. If it comes your way, check it out - you will be dazzled by the ingenuity with which these filmmakers struggled to create their movies, you will laugh at some of the antics involved, and you will cry at the acts of political repression that ended an era.


And this ends another year at FantAsia for us. A good year, yes, in that everything we saw, we liked; but not a great year, in that there were only a couple that we loved. Still, I'm happy we went, and I'm looking forward to next year's edition already!
Centuries after the apocalypse, the malformed Candy (Daniel Tadesse) loves beautiful young Birdy (Selam Tesfaye) and she loves him too. But Candy is troubled: he thinks the strange spaceship hanging in the sky is starting to operate again, and in the bowling alley where he and Birdy live, some of the ball-returning mechanisms have also started working, all by themselves. Candy hopes that the local witch can help him make sense of these signs, but she tells him that he must travel to the far-away city to find Santa Claus, who is the only one who can tell him what to do. So Candy starts off on his strange quest, while Birdy stays home and daydreams that her unborn child has been fathered by a more perfect specimen than Candy....

This is a very strange film, in which a photo of Michael Jordan on the b-ball court is a shrine, a Michael Jackson vinyl LP is venerated and cheap plastic toys are precious items to be bartered for enough money to perhaps earn passage on the spaceship to, well, wherever the ship might be going. I can't say that I understood it really at all, but it was an interesting film nonetheless. We in the West don't often see Ethiopian landscapes, which is more varied than I would have thought, and the characters are all engaging in their own, strange ways. It's a very short film at 68 minutes, and worth your time to check out, if only for its oddity.
Kamila (Salma Hayek) works cleaning house for Mustafa (Liam Neeson) while worrying about her mute daughter Almitra (Quvenzhane Wallis), who has not spoken since her father died two years ago and who is always stealing and causing problems in the market. Almitra comes to Mustafa's house and on meeting him, finds a gentle soul who speaks to her in poetry without demanding her response; when guard Halim (John Krasinski) is told by the Sergeant (Alfred Molina) that Mustafa is to be freed and taken to a ship that will take him to his own country, Almitra follows them and learns that freedom may not be where Mustafa is being taken at all....

This is an animated film, with each segment directed by a different animator, as a result of which it is an absolute feast for the eyes; there's something new and wondrous on the screen practically every minute. The story is really meant to just frame the poetry of the famous author, which is recited by Liam Neeson, who probably has the best voice in the world for such words. The poetry itself, well, that depends on your tolerance for such metaphysical musings; me, I have not much tolerance for it, but even so I thought the film was beautiful to look at, which can be enough in itself for some films.