2009-09-27

Jill

After reading Jill I looked it up on Wikipedia, and finding the article a bit sparse, I added the following synopsis:
The eponymous Jill is Kemp's imaginary sister, whom he invents to confound Warner. Kemp then discovers a real-life Jill called Gillian, the 15 year old cousin of Warner's friend Elizabeth. Kemp becomes infatuated with Gillian, but his advances are thwarted by Elizabeth and rebuffed by Gillian.
I wonder if my changes will stick, or get edited out?

Gite La Licorne: 1

Here's the electricity substation near Amboise that powered the train I arrived on. I took it because I know someone who works for EDF (that's you Sarah).

And to continue the theme of photos that are of interest to people I know who work for utility companies, here's a picture of the local water treatment works:

Having just got back from walking to Amboise, je suis tres fatigue. Or to translate an English idiom into French for humorous effect, I'm on my jambes dernière.

Looked at objectively, my trip to Amboise wasn't a success. I meant to buy basic provisions, but ended up going from cafe to cafe, unable to remember much after the first two chocolat chaud. I *did* get some bread and jam (no butter), so I won't starve. Tomorrow I really must get some proper food.

I'll leave you with a picture of a chateau that I have decided to take by force:

2009-09-20

District 9


This film sets a new standard for CGI, it was impossible to tell where real footage ended and CGI began. The story was great too. For me the only problem was that there was a bit too much shooting, in the Starship Troopers mold.

The Prefect

I complained to Janos that all sci-fi is based on feudal societies, dictatorships, monarchies, everything but liberal democracies. So Janos recommended The Prefect, by Alastair Reynolds.

At times in the book I thought, 'Inspector Morse in space'.

Well written, would work as a detective novel without the sci-fi bit. But what makes it really good is that the technology, aliens and spaceships etc are brilliantly thought out.

There are plenty of moral questions raised, and dealt with in a mature way.

I thought that perhaps Reynolds could have made Aurora less evil. It would be more morally interesting if her only crime were to suspend democracy. How many lives would it be worth to keep democracy, if the alternative was a benign dictatorship?

Janos has lent me Revelation Space, which I'm looking forward to reading in France.

2009-09-03

Afterschool


I had a passable haddock risotto at the Watershed restaurant yesterday. We proceeded thence to Screen 2 at the Watershed to see Afterschool.

Some films convey their truth by smoothly omitting the everyday details of life, and some by showing 'warts and all'. Afterschool takes the latter approach. Soon into the film one is immersed in Robert's world of an American boarding school. As he tries to make sense of the world, one is also forced along with him to divine the motives and intentions of the various characters in his world.

Youtube is the lens through which Robert lives his life. When confronted by a real life event, he responds as though it were just another clip on Youtube. When Robert is alone with a girl, he falls back on his Youtube mentoring, and behaves inappropriately.

This is a difficult film to watch, in the sense that moral ambiguity abounds. Things are much easier if there are goodies and baddies, but then if things are clear-cut one feels shortchanged. This is nearly one of those films that bear a second viewing.