Summer in Berlin

June 11, 2010

Reality

(WordPress told me I should include more images to attract people to the blog.  Since I have no ambition to get a digital camera or draw anything myself, I am content to assembling abstruse images from fragments on my hard-drive.  Some call me strange… but now you’ve seen the creepy smile.)

Well, the one thing being abroad in Berlin-Potsdam has taught me is that I don’t really like to blog, but that I really like short academic projects.  Over the past several weeks, I have written a 1,500 overview of the German adventure film for the World Cinema Directory, a short entry on the Jugendzeitschrift (youth magazine) in the 1950s for Henning Wrage’s 2011 post-war Germany publication and a finished draft of my article on Uwe Boll appearing in the next issue of kunsttexte.de.  In addition, I have drafted new material for Mist-Robed Gate, as I’ve been promoted to co-author.  Other than that, I have been steadily gathering material for my dissertation, publications in the fall, and for other assorted projects.

Three interesting things that have happened over the last 6 weeks to whet your curiosity:

* An Italian sitting across from me in the S-Bahn mentioned it was a sunny day and then broke into a three-minute full-body aria for my pleasure.  Everyone applauded.

* I attended the Kreuzberg Freiluft Kino for the Eurovision contest and watched Lena Meyer-Landrut win for the first time for Germany since 1982.  Never have I seen such an “ironic” crowd switch over to sincerity once it seemed like their favorite was to win.

* I met Tag Gallagher, the world’s John Ford expert and was given a dressing down about how Straub/Huillet films are actually meant to excite one’s emotions…

Fantasy

(Here are two from many I’ve enjoyed)

The Twilight Samurai (dir. Yoji Yamada, Japan 2002)

A marvelous movie – materialist and elegiac at the same time.  A destitute samurai rises to one last mission before modernity overtakes him.  It feels like a Jane Austen novel set in mid-19th Century Japan, which is more than a compliment.

Soul Kitchen (dir. Fatih Akin, Germany 2009)

While on the topic of good writing, I recommend Soul Kitchen to any who want to see a tightly scripted comedy with none of the false turns that lead most Hollywood films astray.  Done in the proper farce tradition of Billy Wilder, Soul Kitchen tells the story of a Greek owner of a restaurant in Hamburg and his clashes with his own life.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a while!

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