June 10th, 2005

calvin dancing

Meanwhile

Dreams of complex cow social interaction, where permanent 'shunning' was possible.  No idea why, unless it's a hangover from The Golden Age (and _absolutely_ no idea why the cows).

It's been a bit of an ongoing week - full of lots of stuff I hadn't originally intended to have in it, but thankfully it's now drawing to a close.  The weekend should be a nice break before I fling myself back into things.

Work's going pretty well - I've managed to refactor a bunch of nasty code and move the majority of the code in 15 classes into one super-class with a few options.  Which was good - but caused a few hiccups along the way - which was probably not the best thing to do in the week before final testing - but the test environment was spending long hours out of action, so at least it gave me something to do...

I'm probably going to make it to Mr & Mrs Smith on Saturday if anyone is interested.  Any takers for the UGC in the evening?
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Review: Strings

Gorgeous.

Imaginative.

Luscious.

Exciting.

Romantic.

Sweeping.

Puppetry.

You wouldn't really expect to see a sentence made up of those words, at least not outside of the puppet theatres of Holland or Prague.  But you'd have to use all of them if you wanted to do justice to this Danish masterwork.

It succeeds for three reasons:
Firstly, it takes itself entirely seriously.  This is no Team America - it's a serious fantasy epic, wherein a prince sets out to avenge his father's (apparent) murder.  In fact the plot wouldn't look out of place in a Zhang Yimou movie.

Secondly, they got some great voice talent in to dub the English version.  The quality of the actors makes a real difference in drawing you into the world they've constructed.

Thirdly, it doesn't just attempt to tell an ordinary story with puppets - the characters _know_ they're made of wood, and have strings.  They are all connected to a 'life force' in the sky, and when one of the characters loses a hand, it's removed from a slave and reattached, exactly as you'd expect a repairman to do it.  This brings a level of 'otherness' to the production and allows it to be seen in more metaphorical tones, which I think is what really makes it work.  The world is constructed with an amazing eye for detail, and everything takes into account the way that characters with strings would be - from homes without roofs, to gates that consist purely of a raised bar that prevents the characters' strings from getting past, and a prison with no walls, just a grating far above that prevents the prisoners from moving more than a few feet in any direction.

It was only on for two weeks at the Odeon (and the second week was all afternoon showings), but when this hits DVD I heartily recommend you track a copy down.

9/10