Circumstances that bring Russians and Germans together

And yes, it turns out that even though Russians and Germans stand in the opposite sides of the ring (stereotypically talking) this brings lots of fun to us – observers. And, yes, comedies about Russians and

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Germans can be both: funny and insulting, that‘s exactly what can be said about Russian comedy „Groom“.

Actually this film has two main themes that pretty often are used in comedies, because they simply turn out to be funny – it‘s family relations and, obviously, intercultural relations, in this case, Russian – German,but they actually are shown through a stereotype lenses, and that concerns not only Russian – German relations (a German man named Helmut (played by a German-Swiss actor Fillipe Rheihardt) comes to Russia on the 9th of May to propose to his gilfriend and then accidently her ex comes to visit), but also Russian – Caucasian relations. One of those stereotypes would be that a German man is a salvation for a Russian girl from peripher. Now why is that so? Well, because it is though that he is a foreigner, a western person, rich, has lots of perspectives… Blah blah blah. As same as the thought that Russian woman will fight for her man and is able to beat the crap out of anyone who will threat her man in any possible way.

But in this all stereotipical story one thing would actually be very interesting to observe. To see how people from diffrent countries could communicate with each other without knowing each others language, like at all.

What else seems interesting and also kind of weird in a sense, is the fact how people can joke in a cruel manner about things that are actually very painful. For me it was strange that Russians took as a major event of the comedy film the Victory Day and the jokes were built upon this event. Usually they aren‘t eager to joke about this day, and here we have an entire film filled with these kinds of jokes, like annual reconstruction of a Victory Day as some sort of entertainment for rich people taking German person in captivity. This was very surprising for me and, again, strange.

While watching this film I thought to myself: it‘s interesting how some people are studying acting to become actors, even though they have no talent. And some people are so talented and ment to be (comedy)actors, though they‘ve never ever took any acting classes. They just have this talent inside of them. That‘s all.

What really made me laugh was one thing said by the main character played by Sergey Svetlakov. His character said that ex-husbands do not exist, meaning like in the case with KGB agent – there are no ex KGB agents. Once you are a KGB agent, you‘re always a KGB agent. The exact same thing is with husbands – once you‘re a husband, you‘re always a husband, you‘re never an ex.

Oh, and yes, I once again mentioned Sergey Svetlakov. Because, yeah, he‘s a famous comedian in Russia and he plays in lots of current Russian comedies. Plus he can be the best illustration of the example of those talented actors who never ever studied acting. I should also mention a very talented comedy actress Olga Kartunkova. As far as I know she also did not study any acting stuff, but when it comes to comedies she’s wonderful.

Let‘s move on. This comedy also shows a well known, everyday seen action – filming everything with your mobile phone. In some of my posts I wrote that I don‘t get this. I mean, I understant that people want to save some of their moments, but seriously, if you‘re saving EVERY moment when are you actually living those moments? If you constantly filming everything, when are you experiencing it, enjoying it? THAT‘S what I don‘t get.

I also don‘t get this weird understanding of relationship and living in marriage. I mean if you are married (doesn‘t matter if you are a woman or a man) and you want to stay married, but also have some relationship on a side, yet your second half does not share the same view how can you keep her/him right next to you? Let her/him go. It‘s also the same when it comes to the situation when a married man has a lover because, you know,  he‘s a MAN, when a married woman has a lover she‘s a SLUT. Either it‘s OK for both, either for no one.

Another moral story coming from, as someone might called it dumb comedy: if you are rich it does not mean that you can act whatever you like, do whatever you want. No. Remember, that those people to whom you did a lot of bad things at the very end might be the ones, the ONLY ones who could do something that might safe your life for example. So wouldn‘t it be right to treat other people nicely no matter they‘re rich or poor. At the end we‘re all humans.

And what can I say at the very end? Fireworks in da house looks cool, but kids, don‘t try this at home for real  :D. After all everything‘s good what ends well. Don‘t you think?

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We want ABBA!

I don‘t know any person who wouldn‘t know the Swedish pop band called ABBA. People might not be familiar with their music (though at least one song they should know), but  they must have heard the name of the band – ABBA. So today I‘m discussing „ABBA: The Movie“. Though it is more of a concert than a film (actually, at this point I don‘t know which is right: a film interrupted with concert, or concert interrupted with the film that introduces us to some facts from the band‘s biography), but it has a descent plotline – a radio journalist (or as it was called in the film disc jockey) had to cover up the biggest music stars of that time, because it meant a lot to make an interview with such a huge stars (well, it is still a big deal today too) and it takes place in Australia (just to show us how huge this band was / is).

Looking back at the band that reached its peak back in 1970s it is crazy to realize all this psychosis over them. I mean it‘s huge, it‘s insane. It‘s fascinating how easily a pop band from Sweden could take over the entire world. What oh what made them SOOO phenomenal? ABBA – four people that made beautiful, melodic music. People who spread actual happiness, joy and excitement with and through their music. Superstars – without any kind of doubt. Sincerity of their songs made them superstars.

Looking at them performing you get this nice and warm feeling. I can‘t explain neither why or how this feeling rises up. There‘s something bright and warm about them. I also feel nostalgic when I hear them sing. Though I don‘t know why, because I was born long after they‘ve split. They had so much to give to the people and they did. Maybe they did it too fast, that‘s why it lasted not that long. Actually, I can‘t even imagine them still going on, performing all together, singing all these energetic songs. I mean, that could have happened, I just don‘t imagine it. Can‘t imagine it.

Today, this film is a great chance to hear, see and enjoy those beautiful songs by ABBA that are loved by millions of people all over the world up to this day. Plus, can‘t go on without mentioning that markerwise ABBA machine functioned extremely well and it still does work successfully. Watching in this film all this merchandising insanity makes me think these guys must have had great people at marketing. Anyway, this film gives us – born so much later than 1970s, 1980s and beyond see how it all was used to be: preparing  for a huge shows back in the day. Those were the great days 🙂

Loved to see the difficulties of a journalist‘s job back in a day. I don‘t say it is an easy job today, but face it, back then it was so much harder, these reel-to-reel tape recorders – my God… No mobile phones, laptops, internet, travelling difficulties – the main character always late to take an interview and he can‘t contact no one to make an appointment and poor guy chases the band for the week. Insane. Not to mention that this job is really intense and dynamic: all these deadlines,idifficult interviews, people… Today it as actually even more intense and dynamic (despite all this technological superiority) due to enormous amount of information that comes and changes so fastly. But eventually the main character wins. Yay!

What to say at the end? I‘ll just end with the words of one of ABBA‘s songs, because they fit here the most: „Thank you, ABBA, for the music, songs you sang and thank you for all the joy you brought to us. Thank you for your music, for giving it to us“.

Collapse of two cultures: might be scary, might be dangerous, might be funny

Have you ever thought  are there really so many differences between cultures, countries? Sure, there are, but sometimes these differences are so magnified due to some sort of all political disagreements. Perhaps, one of the most known example of this situation of USA-USSR relationship, and today it would be USA –Russia relationship. So, it is always interesting how these difficult relationship are shown in movies. Of course, very rarely it is shown objectively, mostly it‘s from someone‘s perspective, but it is a good thing when it is shown with humor (especially, if it‘s done nicely, lightly) though sometime it‘s far from being funny.

Pretty often one side or other uses those well known stereotypes with which politicians try to brainwash us, our minds. But when you think about it, these differences aren‘t that big, stereotypes are way too silly to be true and, in fact, all this bullshit is used only to raise hate, fear and other bad things.

So. Today I‘ll discuss another Russian comedy „Moscow-Russia Express“. I can‘t say this is a brilliant stuff to watch, however, it has some good points. First of all, through the self irony lense we can observe the curiosities of Russian lives, silliness of stereotypes that Americans bring with them about Russia and how these two worlds come together. They even hired an American actor to have a stronger effect and build some sort of a bridge between the two countries.

Michael Madsen one of the American actors to star in Russian film and to encourage the American-Russian relationship :). Kidding. Actually, American actors are invinted to star in Russian films mostly because of marketing purposes, because why not? He‘s famous, known, people like him, plus, everyone will be curious to see him in local film production.

Getting to the point

This film is about a regular guy‘s – Sergey (Sergey Svetlakov) story who is ready for everything to make a good video that could reach lots of views on Youtube. Thats‘s what this guy do, it‘s his occupation – to become famous on Youtube (because anyone with the help of the Internet can become famous for anything). Actually throughout the entire film we can observe lots of Russian Youtube videos that are funny and crazy based on fools and roads theme mainly that make up a very bad combination. Those who like these kind of videos might be quite pleased to see them in the movie. But mainly, this film is about how you can‘t understand Russia by your mind, especially if you‘re a foreigner :). However there are certain things that even a local won‘t be able to understand: like, male mermaids.

All this is true, just like the fact that in this movie we did not escape the Russian patriotism subject as well. All this being proud of being Russian, being proud of living in Russia despite all the bad things happening here. Of course, it is all shown quite sarcastically, exotic in some way, however, this pride stands higher that intentional sarcasm and ability to laugh at yourself. Moreover, this pride of being the representative of a certain country, nationality is visible in every place of the world, in the same USA there‘s plenty of movies, TV shows where we can see and feel the message of how America is great, how great it is to be American, etc. But of course, there are also TV and film production that sends this American pride message in a sarcastic way.

I so enjoyed the conducter character. Such a faboluous woman, so cartoonically played. Actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite did a good job playing this character which is so not typical to her. It was a blast to watch her. And travelling in a overfilled train might be the biggest adventure you‘ll have in your life :). Or it will prevent you from travelling by train forever.

Talking about the soundrack… Well, I‘ll give 10 points for the soundrack. The way all the songs were picked… They amazingly fitted to certain situation in the movie. However, for those who don‘t speak Russian that won‘t work and seem right  and funny, because they won‘t be able to understand those lyrics of the songs.

Stepping aside, I just have to mention the limit of crazyness that people might reach. Or, maybe, I should mention the absence of any kinds of limits if you‘re ready to risk your own health, life just to make a short video, upload it on Youtube so it could reach millions of watches. Seriously? I don‘t understand this. Really, I don‘t. I don‘t understand this need to post these videos or photos of yours all the time. I don‘t understand this need to be followed, liked, etc. on social media. I mean, I prefer living an actual life instead of living it on social media.

Another thing – plane / flight fear a thing we laughed while watching this film. But actually, it is a quite terrible thing especially if you have to fly on a plane. You know, any kind of fear is terrible, it sucks to have fears. It makes our life so much harder. Better not have them.

To the things I did not like:

  1. I understand that drunk people, drunk and agressive people might seem funny in a comedy film, but to portray your entire country like that (even though the rest of the world thinks it‘s exactly how it is) doesn‘t look good somehow. To portay citizens of your country as killers, thieves, etc. (even if there are such people) and laugh at this in some way seems self humiliating. I might be wrong, but when there‘s too much of all this it does not seem neither funny nor pleasant.
  2. And to learn and understand Russian soul does not mean to get drunk and in fight and never give up. Just like it does not mean to understand a German you have to drink beer in huge quantities and eat bratwurst, or drive like mad man, shot in a street to understand an American. No. To understand specific nationality it takes so much more time and effort to put. And to count only on stereotypes isn‘t the best option, though this particular film is entirely based on stereotypes about Russia coming both from American perspective and Russians itself (and those coming from films made in these countries).

 

Moving on with Millenium film series

After finishing discussing Millenium book trilogy it is about time to go on discussing these film series. I‘ve already made a post about the first film, so it‘s time to make one about the second one – „The Girl who played with Fire“.

I talked a lot about Lisbeth‘s traumatic past (which is introduced to us) and in this film we are visually, though partly introduced with it. Her traumatic memories keep chasing her, moreover, they came back involving her into things she didn‘t do. So, the film is full of tension. And this is awesome, because it makes you want to proceed watching it. This tension and all these secrets that keep arising hypnotize you untill the film ends. That‘s a good thing for a movie. Plus, in my opinion, this part of Millenium film series corresponds the most to the thriller detective genre of all.

This time we are introduced with even darker side of Lisbeth both visually and mentally. She doesn‘t speak much, but makes certain (in a while violent) actions. She‘s concentrated, outrageous girl determined to work things out in her way and seek for truth and revenge. Though, darkness is only one side of Lisbeth. She also has a bright one, a sensitive one and we are introduced with this side of hers when we see how she‘s taking care of Palmgren.

We are also introduced with new characters who don‘t take much part in the film, however, they bring up some new storylines like prostitution and human trafficking in Sweden, sex trafficking that are the key to the main story – Lisbeth‘s story. Moreover, these issues are important (more or less) for everyone, because these happen in every country whether we know of it or not: violence against women, sexual abuse both of women and children, the fact how women and kids have to live with these situations and traumas, unable to fight against it. And the worst thing is when these things are covered up or not solved on a governmental level.

Another one horrible aspect of life shown in this films is terrible father-daughter relationship. It‘s insane how father treates his daughter and daughter treats her father. And the way truth is revealed is even more terrible. Not to mention seeing someone being burried alive.

Shortly getting back to Scandinavian cinematography subject I must say that Scandinavians are not only easily showing sex scenes, but they are OK with lesbian sex scenes. Not that I‘m pro or against it it‘s just my observation comparing to, let‘s say, American films, especially with those for the masses. Some how Scandinavian movie creators are open to these scenes, not afraid to show them. I don‘t know why is it so, it just is.

Another thing I‘d like to mention is the language of this movie. It‘s Swedish. And Swedish language seem to sound really calmly, without huge emotions. It‘s nice when you can listen to dialogues (you don‘t understand) on a calm notes, even though something really dramatic or intense is going on.

What amazes me watching movies is how characters description, his features written in a book come alive in the film and colors up the story. In this case it was really obvious. I mean it is fascinating how a selected person (actor or actress) even more colors the story with his physical appearance, advantages and maybe disadvantages of their look. Actually, I liked that actors (the characters they play) look completely non – glamorous. They look like regular people: me, you. And we are watching the story that happened to regular people. In general, I like that the film is made in a very subtle, ascetic way, economic way if you want to call it. But it does not worsen the narration of a given story.

The one problem with this film is the fact that certain things are happening way too fast. I did not like that. Some things are absent from the film at all. Like the biggest part of beginning (that we could read in the book) is absent. Sadly, because there were few interesting thigs that could appear in the film.

 

P.S.

Last week I (as the rest of the world) found out that Michael Nyqvist, actor who played Mikael Blomkvist in Millenium series, has passed. It was a very sad news. It is always sad to hear that someone has died. It’s even sadder that  he had to fight this terrible disease – cancer. He was trully a good actor, talented actor whose journey ended way too soon.

 

 

 

Secrets of a long lost symbol and further journey through Dan Brown‘s world

There are writers that you fall in love with once you read their book. And it‘s always a pleasure to read something new written by them. Everyone has their own author, or maybe few of them. I do too. One of them is Dan Brown. I remember I‘ve made a post about one of his books, so pretty much I‘ve already told why I like him, so I won‘t go into the same details. All I want to say is that I like how he writes, I like his writing style, creating a story that might be completely untrue, but you will believe it as if it was true. I love how he incorporates history, historical facts, religion, science, figures and symbols from all these fields and joins them all together in this masterpiece of his. I admire this ability of his so much and I wish I could do something like that… However, at the same time in this book there‘s so much of everything that you don‘t even know whether it‘s good or not. On the one hand, you get so much interesting information and things to think about, but on the other hand, these things start to look too unreal. Oh, well… Let‘s move on and discuss „The Lost Symbol“ book.

This book also involves Robert Langdon – a character we all know. See, this is one more reason, that makes Brown‘s books interesting to read. There‘s a character that goes from book to book, so all these stories has duration and connection, and you can see how the character develops. Yes, there might be similar situation, yet it still is interesting. Remember Sherlock Holmes stories they all are the same: mystery/crime – solving it – it is solved schemed stories that are still interesting to read. The same with Robert Langdon – he‘s a scientific, nerdy superman that keeps you alert all the time as you read the story.

This time thes story involves mystries of Capitol in Washingto D.C. No more Italian history and art. This time story is filled with detective and thriller elements and of course mysteries, mysteries, mysteries that has to be solved. And these mysteries are gathered around the organization of Masons. And this organization is known for all kinds of conspiracy theories, mystique stories, so one way or another, it makes us pay attention, because there are lots of people who still think there is something mysterious about Masons. Maybe there is? Who knows. The exact same thing can be said about all these secrets on a governmental level. Sure, there are such secrets, but are they really that groundbreaking? Who knows? Maybe. And that‘s maybe why we know about them only under the title „Secret‘. And this is why we are attached to this book because of all the secrets. Everybody likes secrets and things that might be true, but known only to very few people. The same thing with gossip. Everybody likes them, even though they say the opposite. Of course, if certain things described in this book would have been so secret neither Dan Brown would know them, nor he could write about them and make fortune out of it.

Another thing that fascinates me about Brown‘s writing style is his passion about the places he writes about. Like this time, he so vividly and passionately wrote about some places in Washington that I actually felt this huge wish to go there and see everything myself. And believe it or not, not often books (and their writers) make such an effect on me like „The Lost Symbol“ did.

But more than just historical, ancient secrets, in this book is also raised family relationship issue. Especially between wealthy parents and their kids who pretty often act irresponsible due to their wealth and what they can do with their money. But sometimes kids have unexplainable hate and heartburning for their parents or certain actions made by their parents. It‘s difficult. But when a person lives with these feelings for too long bad things happen.

Religous aspect is also very interestingly developed in this book which is great, because somehow people still think religion and whatever it concerns is really boring and out of date. This is very misleading, because religion is a very interesting topic and wide topic. Moreover, nowadays lots of things are happening to different interpretation of different religions, there are lots of religious fanatics who are really dangerous and scary. So, actually, learning and  studying religions is not only interesting, but I think is also very useful for not to be misunderstood and not to misunderstand it ourselves. How can these books help us? Maybe in no way, but it can be a great trigger to start learning things. And that‘s a pretty good start.

So, all in all, every science is awesome in its own way. And I think we should stop claiming that learning things is nerdy, because actually it is great.