Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance (Valerie Estelle Frankel)

Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance is a book by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

In the book, Frankel examines the female characters in Game of Thrones (the show, not the novel) up to and including its third season. She looks at them through the lens of Jung’s archetypes and several subtropes, seeing which character embodies which type and trying to determine how feminist the show actually is.

I think that the topic Frankel chose is interesting and well worth examining (I myself am doing a research project at uni about a similar topic). Game of Thrones shows a wide variety of female characters – at least at first glance. And it is rewarding to look more closely at these representations of women. But unfortunately, this book is not particularly well-argued or well-written.

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Matilda the Musical

Matilda the Musical
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Dennis Kelly (book), Tim Minchin (music and lyrics)
Based on: Roald Dahl‘s novel
Cast: Craige Els, Haley Flaherty, James Clyde, Kay Murphy, Lisa Davina Phillip, Jason Winter, Joshua Wyatt, Lottie Sicilia, Violet Tucker, Matilda Shapland, Tasha Chapple

Matilda (Lottie Sicilia, Violet Tucker, Matilda Shapland, Tasha Chapple – unfortunately I don’t know which version I saw) is extremely smart. Which makes her more than stand out in her family – neither her parents (James Clyde, Kay Murphy) nor her brother (Joshua Wyatt) are very intelligent. Or even interested in intellectual pursuits. So Matilda is looking forward to school where she hopes everything will be better. And her teacher Ms Honey (Haley Flaherty) is everything Matilda could have hoped for. But there is also the children-hating, sadistic headmistress Trunchbull (Craige Els) whose mission it is to make everybody miserable.

I really love the novel this is based on. And when I read that Tim Minchin had written the music, I knew that I had to see the show (how lucky that we happened to go to London). And my expectations were high. Fortunately, they were fulfilled.

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London, Essex, Cambridge

In November (yes, I’m still crying about how far behind I am with my posts, why do you ask) I went to the UK with puzzledpeaces for the wedding of a friend. And since we went there already we added a couple of days in London (for sightseeing and such) and a couple of days in Cambridge to visit aber_karramba.

We started Thursday morning and when I say morning, I mean so fucking early in the morning it was still dark. We caught a bus to Bratislava airport (after we found it – it took us a bit, not only because it was dark but because the bus station is being renovated and the bus doesn’t leave from its usual spot and being the creature of habit that I am, I didn’t even look left and right and just went to the normal spot, actually walking past the bus that had BRATISLAVA in huge letters on its side).

In any case we made it to Bratislava where we had to hang around the airport for a bit before our flight to London left. In case you don’t know it, Bratislava airport is about the size of a living room and has about three shops and two cafés or something. There are no flights between about 11pm and 9am and there is nothing much to do. But we made it through the hardship of having to entertain ourselves and made it on the plane without issue and off we went.

"Bratislava Airport new terminal BTS" by Andrej Neuherz - http://www.geolocation.ws/v/P/81459659/bratislavsk-letiskov-terminl/en. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bratislava_Airport_new_terminal_BTS.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bratislava_Airport_new_terminal_BTS.jpg

“Bratislava Airport new terminal BTS” by Andrej Neuherz –  Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Re-Read: Lirael (Garth Nix)

Lirael is the second novel in the Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. [Here’s my review of the first one.]

Lirael is supposed to be one of the Clayr. But year after year passes and her Sight – the ability to foresee the future – doesn’t awaken. She doesn’t even look like all of her cousins, the rest of the Clayr. At least when she gets a job at the library, she can do a small part in the community and she can explore the library that has quite a few surprises hidden away. Lirael even manages to make/call the Disreputable Dog in whom she finds a loyal friend.
In the meantime Prince Sameth, the son of Sabriel and Touchstone, encounters the Necromancer Hedge in Death. From that point on he feels unable to take up the mantle as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, descending further into depression, only looking forward to a visit from his Ancelstierrian friend Nicholas.
All of their paths cross when it becomes clear that the entire Old Kingdom is under a serious threat.

When I read the Series for the firs time, I was blown away by Sabriel because it was so new and shiny. And I thought that Abhorsen was the best book of the three. Lirael kind of fell between the cracks of fantastic beginning and satisfying ending. On re-reading it, I’m thinking that I might like it best of all.

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Amour fou (2014)

Amour fou
Director: Jessica Hausner
Writer: Jessica Hausner
Cast: Christian Friedel, Birte Schnoeink, Stephan Grossmann, Alissa Wilms

Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedl) is looking for somebody to enter a suicide pact with, but his current love is unwilling to die with him. Whenn he meets Henriette Vogel (Birte Schoeink), he is convinced that he has found a person equally as lonely, despite her apparently rich life, and intrigued by the idea of dying together as him. But Henriette is less convinced of that, at least at first. But when she learns that she is very ill, her thoughts keep returning to Heinrich’s offer.

Amour Fou has many things to commend it, especially beautiful sets and camera work, and dialogues full of wonderful languages. Nevertheless I felt that it moved way too slow and I couldn’t really get into it.

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Pride (2014)

Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, George MacKayFaye Marsay, Joseph GilgunPaddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Russell Tovey

Mark (Ben Schnetzer) is not only gay, but a big supporter of the miner strike and wants to do his part, especially because he feels that there is a certain kinship – the miners struggle under Thatcher just as much as the homosexuals struggle. So he decides that he will start to raise funds for them, with the help of new to the scene Joe (George MacKay), big-mouthed Steph (Faye Marsay) and flamboyant Jonathan (Dominic West). But it turns out, it’s surprisingly hard to get miners to accept “gay donations”, until finally a Welsh village accepts, not really knowing what they’re in for.

Pride was funny, cute and most charming. It probably isn’t the most complex analysis of the situation, but it gave you an impression while being very entertaining.

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Interstellar (2014)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

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Turist [Force Majeure] (2014)

Director: Ruben Östlund
Writer: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius, Karin Myrenberg, Brady Corbet
Part of: Viennale

Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) wanted to enjoy their skiing holiday with their kids (Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren), maybe even grow a little closer again with the time spent together since Tomas is working too much. But then a controlled seemingly goes out of control. Ebba turns to Tomas to help protect their children, but Tomas has already grabbed his cell phone and is running for his life. A few minutes later they are all full of snow, but unharmed – at least physically. But Tomas’ reaction was a blow to the entire family structure.

Turist has a good set-up and a very good cast but other than that I couldn’t really get into it. Probably because it’s yet another film about what it means to be a man in today’s world and I am ever so tired of these films.

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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
Director: Anna D. Shapiro
Writer: John Steinbeck
Based on: his novella Of Mice and Men
Cast: James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester, Jim Parrack, Jim Norton, Alex Morf

George (James Franco) and Lenny (Chris O’Dowd) are a team, working as hired hands on farms. But Lenny, who has a mental disability, got them fired from their last job when his attempt to pet the skirt of a girl was mistaken for a sexual assault. They had to leave in a hurry, but have found a new job already, which starts off well enough with their coworkers Candy (Jim Norton) and Slim (Jim Parrack), and less well with their boss Curly (Alex Morf) and his flirty wife (Leighton Meester). George and Lenny are dreaming of buying a bit of land together and becoming independent – a dream that suddenly becomes very attainable when Candy offers to pitch in. But attainable isn’t the same as attained and money isn’t the only issue.

This version of Of Mice and Men really was a very straightforward production that focused on making the characters and their actors shine. And shine they did.

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Jauja (2014)

Director: Lisandro Alonso
Writer: Lisandro Alonso, Fabian Casas
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Diego Roman, Ghita Nørby, Mariano Arce, Viilbjørk Malling Agger
Part of: Viennale

Gunnar (Viggo Mortensen) traveled from Denmark to somewhere in Latin America. He is a land surveyor making his way through the desert with his men and his daughter Ingeborg (Viilbjørk Malling Agger). But Ingeborg falls in love with one of his men and then she suddenly disappears. Gunnar starts to wander the desert, always looking for his daughter.

Before I had seen Jauja, I thought that Foxcatcher would turn out to be the most boring movie I’d see at the Viennale this year. Boy, was I wrong.

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