Faust (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

[Crossposted.]

Faust is the most famous work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. [I’m only talking about the first part here because I don’t like Goethe and even people who like Goethe think that part two sucks.]

Plot:
Mephistopheles/The Devil bets God that he can tempt Faust, an intelligent scholar and a great thinker. God laughs off Mephistopheles claims, but Faust actually makes a deal with Mephistopheles: His soul against a lifetime of knowledge and pleasure.

Probably everybody in Austria in a secondary education has had to read Faust. Since I spent a year in Brazil during my school time, I fell through the cracks. Which was just as well for me because ever since I read “Heidenröslein” and its rape-apologia (more explicit in the first version, a little more insidious in the second), I have hated Goethe with the fiery passion of a thousand dying suns.
Anyway, I’m telling you this because I wanted you to know where I’m coming from when I’m saying: I’ve been meaning to read Faust for almost 10 years now, because I wanted to rectify my embarassing lack of education in that regard. And I expected Faust to be so great that I would have to, grudgingly, proclaim Goethe’s genius. But actually, Faust sucked.

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El desarrollo de la civilización venidera (The Development of a Future Society)

El desarrollo de la civilización venidera is an Argentinian production of Henrik Ibsen‘s A Doll’s House. It was modernised and directed by Daniel Veronese and stars María Figueras, Carlos Portaluppi, Mara Bestelli, Ana Garibaldi and Roly Serrano. It was also the last play I saw during the Festwochen. [Reviews of the other things here.]

Plot:
Helmer (Carlos Portaluppi) and Nora (María Figueras) are a happily married couple. At least on the surface. When they return home laughing and discussing from having watched Scenes from a Marriage, everything seems to be alright. But soon the facade crumbles and reveals the real workings behind their relationship.

El desarrollo was an interesting production. It was excellently acted, though Helmer was not that well cast and the modernisation was very well done. Unfortunately, Veronese also changed the ending, which I didn’t like as much.

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TV Meme – Meme Monday

[taken from here and here]

Do you snack while watching TV? Yes. And eat dinner, lunch and breakfast. :)

What is your favourite TV show? Only one? It don’t work that way. Currently I’m high on True Blood returning, even though I haven’t managed yet to watch it. Doctor Who is also a fixpoint of the week. And when I heard that Torchwood would return I almost cried from joy. But there’s a lot of good stuff out there.

What TV show makes you run to change channels? “Reality” TV. I hate those shows.

How do you view your TV guide: online, on-screen, newspaper, magazine, other? I don’t. I’ll zap through programs and stay where I like it.

Have you ever been surveyed for your TV-viewing habits or do you know anyone who has been? No. No.

Do you watch TV news and/or current affairs regularly? Do you watch any TV “soaps”? (Truth please, even if it is embarrassing.) No. And no. There was a Brazilian soap that I used to watch religiously when I was over there – O Clone (The Clone). But Brazilian soaps have the advantage of having a defnite end.

What other series shows do you try not to miss? I don’t miss series I don’t want to miss. That’s why there are recorders and the internet. Currently, I’m watching: Doctor Who, True Blood, Lie to Me. I’m still waiting for the starts of Eureka and Warehouse 13. I gave Persons Unknown (The Prisoner meets Lost. It’s not really good, but there is a guy who looks slightly like Christian Bale) a try, as well as Pretty Little Liars (beginning of Desperate Housewives, only with teenagers. It’s not really good, either, but it has a strange kind of fascination) but I don’t know whether I’ll stick with those.

Any previous series or shows you really liked? Hell yeah. Buffy, of course. The first couple of seasons of Angel. Friends. Dark Angel. Pushing Daisies. Wonderfalls. Dead Like Me. Firefly. Six Feet Under. Dollhouse. [I’m watching Oz and Cowboy Bebop now, and I like both a lot.]

Do you have pay TV or are the digital channels enough? I don’t have pay TV. I actually watch very little TV on my TV, so I don’t need many channels. Not that 60 or so aren’t many.

Do you only watch certain TV shows online? As deadra, I download and then watch offline. A lot.

Do you regularly use services like ABC catch-up or other online replays? No.

Do you ever pay any attention to the adverts? Not really. I usually zap away or I do something else in the meantime.

Do you multi-task while watching TV & if so what else are you doing? Yes. I eat, I organise things, I wrap my books in adhesive foil and enter them into librarything, I knit. Basically, there’s hardly something I don’t do. Except read. I can only either read or watch TV, else reading always wins out and I don’t notice the TV anymore.

Is there a TV show that makes you laugh out loud? Several. Friends. How I Met Your Mother. The Big Bang Theory. Buffy, when it wasn’t scary.  Doctor Who. Well, it’s a laugh-fest when I’m watching TV is what I’m saying.

Have you ever said no to a social invitation to stay at home and watch TV? (Truth again please.) Mind telling us what the show was? No. There are recorders for that. Or the internet. I did, however, go to a friend’s birthday dinner and then used her smart phone to check the Brazil – North Korea score obsessively.

Do you record TV shows & if so why and how (VCR, DVD recorder, TIVO, laptop, etc.)? I have a receiver with a hard drive, that’s what I use.

Least favourite TV personality/actor/character? [What’s with all the Nanny bashing? I actually quite like her.] Bill Cosby. All the characters of 7th Heaven. Angel’s son (who completely ruined the show).

Most popular TV personalities/actors/character? Oh my… there’s so many of those! Pretty much the entire cast of Buffy (though I have a special soft spot for Oz, until he goes spiritual and Spike before he became a rapist). Jack Harkness. The Doctor. Donna Noble. Gwen. Ianto. [And all the rest of them, actually.] Sookie and, of course, Eric. And I could go on and on and on, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

Have you ever seen anything really memorable on TV (not news/events – made for TV drama, etc.)? Loads of things. If we’re excluding TV series (which I think we are)… I recently saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and it was really cute. [Also, it had Lee Pace.] Talking of Lee Pace, Soldier’s Girl was fucking amazing. Angels in America. There’s many, many memorable TV moments.

Do you prefer TV series or stand-alone shows? Why do I have to decide?

Is there a specific show you find yourself recommending over and over? Bryan Fuller’s shows. Dark Angel (was I the only one to watch it when it came out? No wonder it tanked). I’ve been trying for years to get my sister to watch Buffy, because I think she’d love it but she doesn’t like paranormal/supernatural/fantasy stuff (yeah, I know. Nobody in my family but me does).

Re-Read: Et Dukkehjem [A Doll’s House] (Henrik Ibsen)

A Doll’s House is a play by Henrik Ibsen, probably his most famous one.

Plot:
Nora is the young wife of successful lawyer Torvald. They have two kids together, Torvald just got promoted, it’s Christmas – life seems to be just dandy. But a little while back, Nora borrowed some money from Krogstadt without Torvald’s knowledge. Krogstadt now happens to become Torvald’s employee and Torvald is threatening to fire him. But since Nora forged a signature to borrow the money, Krogstadt now has leverage and uses it to blackmail Nora into convincing Torvald that he shouldn’t fire him.

A Doll’s House is a fantastic play. Intelligent, interesting and well-written. I read it in school when I was 17, I think, and then I didn’t quite appreciate it as much as I did now, on re-reading. Strongly recommended.

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Dates from Hell (Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, Lori Handeland)

Dates from Hell is a collection of four paranormal romance novellas by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong and Lori Handeland.

It’s an okay collection. I really liked Lynsay Sands’ story, but Kim Harrison’s was a complete fail, at least for somebody who doesn’t know the world she’s built (the novella is part of a series). Kelley Armstrong’s was fine, even though rather weak. Lori Handeland’s stories was infuriating.

Altogether, I was very happy that I did not spend money on this book. (Bookcrossing is wonderful.)

More about each story after the jump.

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StreetDance 3D (2010)

StreetDance 3D is the newest addition to the dance movie genre and the first to be in 3D. It was directed by Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini and stars Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Charlotte Rampling and George Sampson [yes, that George Sampson].

Plot:
Oh, the usual, the usual: underdog but really good dance group gets ready for tournament, obstacles get in their way, a yoda-like figure (Charlotte Rampling) forces them through ridiculous training which makes them better dancers (in this case, by combining ballet and street dance) and they go out to blow the minds of people and win the world.

Okay, the movie is not an achievement in film making. But it’s definitely one of the better dance movies. It’s got good and plenty choreographies, a good soundtrack and it pushes all the right buttons. If you like dance movies, you’re going to love it.

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Links

Art

100 Artists Decorate 100 Models of Darth Vader’s Head.

Books

Imagine a future with no barriers, and win $300!

Ok, Where Do I Start with That? I and J.

Movies

Warning: very disgusting but completely awesome:

Stan Lee says that having a black Spiderman would be too confusing for the poor, little audience. O_o Donald Glover for Spiderman? I’m so there.

First Tangled trailer looks pretty awesome.

Guillermo Del Toro’s Next Picture Might Be Van Helsing.

Science

Women Scientists on the Debate over Women in Science.

TV

Glee vs. Copyright.

True Blood Clips Galore.

Completely Different Things

Dear Girls Above Me.

[Adobe Photo Shop.]

Dorian Gray (2009)

Dorian Gray is the newest movie by Oliver Parker, starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and Rebecca Hall. It’s an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s novel, which I’ve reviewed here.

Plot:
Dorian (Ben Barnes) comes to London after his grandfather’s death; a naive, well-meaning young man. The painter Basil (Ben Chaplin) soon discovers him as his newest muse and introduces him to the high society, especially the cynical Lord Henry (Colin Firth). After the painting is done, Dorian gives his soul so that it ages instead of him. Thoroughly corrupted by Lord Henry, Dorian’s excesses get more and more depraved as his painting gets uglier and uglier.

This… well, this is not a good movie. I think that’s the simplest and yet the most fitting way to put it. Ben Barnes was miscast, the plot was changed, and not to its advantage and Oscar Wilde’s wit was practically eradicated. What’s left is a boring, trite and too long film.

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Not the End of the World (Christopher Brookmyre)

Not the End of the World is Christopher Brookmyre‘s third novel and the first one without Jack Parlabane. [My reviews of the Jack Parlabane books are here.]

Plot:
1999. LAPD cop Larry Freeman (who we’ve met in Quite Ugly One Morning) is easing back into work after the death of his son. He is given what should be a simple task: overseeing a B-movie festival. Unfortunately, right across the street of the festival, there’s a right-wing Christian counter-movement, the Festival of Light. When they start attacking porn-star-turned-actress Madeleine Witherson who is attending the film festival, millenium angst and a bomb threat soon turn the whole situation to shit.

This book didn’t work that well for me, unfortunately. Though it has all the right ingredients, something’s missing. It just took me too long to really get invested in the story. Maybe it’s that it wasn’t set in Scotland (though there is a Scottish main character, so be not afraid!).

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Die Frau mit den 5 Elefanten [The Woman with the 5 Elephants] (2009)

Die Frau mit den 5 Elefanten [The Woman with the 5 Elephants] is a documentary by Vadim Jendreyko about the translator Swetlana Geier [German].

Plot:
Swetlana Geier was born in Kiev, but left there when she was a young girl during WW2. She came to Germany and became a translator of Russian fiction into German. She’s most famous for her new translations of Dostoyevsky’s novels – the titular five elephants.

The movie is interesting, if a little unfocused and not quite the movie I expected to see. I expected a movie about the translation business and process and what I got was a movie about coming to terms with your past, especially the past of WW2.

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