Monday, 16 June 2008

A Change From The Usual Programming

I don't, generally speaking, do movie reviews, for a few reasons really:
  • I rarely get to go the cinema.
  • I don't think most people care what I think, plenty of people can say it better than I could hope to.
  • I'm not a critic, if I don't have something positive to say I would rather say nothing at all. I don't think its my place to criticise unless its something really atrociously bad - then its fair game!
  • Besides - if I took movie reviewing seriously I might have to watch Sex In The City which holds no interest for me. Those two or three hours could be better spent elsewhere. And believe me I would watch that before I would watch some of the other crap out there.
But, I'm going to break a habit of a blogging lifetime. I decided that it was about time I actually made some time for me and spent a couple of hours at the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) watching Mongol. I love the GFT, its a beautiful old fashioned cinema building. It only has the two cinemas which are quite small by today's standards but the Art Deco interior is stunning compared to the rather bland huge multiplex cinemas that have largely replaced the traditional cinemas of old.

Anyway the film. Mongol is a gorgeous piece of photography and is well worth watching for that alone. The landscape of the Mongolian and Kazakhstan is truly stunning and the film makes the most of this backdrop to create what is a beautiful film. The acting isn't bad either. I'm not entirely sure I buy the story that the reason for Temudjin conquering and uniting the warring Mongolian tribes was due to him falling in love with a girl at the age of 9. It makes a nice story but from what I've read of the history of Genghis Khan it probably came about more due to a combination of circumstances, luck, opportunity, and no small amount of ambition rather than love of a good woman who he met as a prepubescent boy.

Besides there is supposedly 16 million men in the world today who according to geneticists can trace their origin to one man in Mongolia who was alive around the aggressive foreign policy of Genghis Khans rein. Now call me a cynic if you want but the thought that Temudjin would unite the tribes of Mongolia through the love of a good woman and then spread his love around so seems a little unlikely. Of course geneticists can't say for sure that Genghis Khan was the man in question but he probably had more opportunity than most seeing as he was top boss so to speak and probably had more opportunity than most under him.

Anyway the plot may not ring true, but it is a nice story nonetheless it just goes to show that its not only Hollywood that can rewrite history to suit the creative process - the Russian film industry can do the same. Perhaps wisely the film Mongol only addresses 34 years of Temudjin's early political life and steers clear of the story of raping, pillaging and concubines. That's not to say its all sweetness and light, there are a few bloody scenes but it was a violent time in the history of Mongolia so a little blood spillage is to be expected. However even the battle scenes were handled quite artistically.

If you don't mind watching a film with subtitles you could do far worse things with 2 hours of your time. There is a nice moment in the film where Temedjin is speaking to his young daughter and teaching her the word for meat and justifies this word as the reason for Mongolian being the most beautiful language in the world. A nice scene in itself and probably the writers justification to its Russian/German backers that for sake of authenticity it had to be acted in Mongolian, a language that few of its intended audience would understand.

Go watch it, and if you don't like it I'll let you throw popcorn in my direction. Honest I won't duck.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Whenever God Shines His Light

No I'm not getting all religious on you, I was just listening to grumpy old Van Morrison as I was writing this and the title seemed apt.

Sometimes getting home from work at 6:30am when the sun is already up and most everyone else are only just contemplating rising out of bed gets old. But on a gorgeous summer's day with blue skies and fantastic light its best not to waste it by going to bed, far better to go for a long walk - especially if you have a camera and 6 day old 30mm 1.4 in your bag. Can I just say I love this lens, I may only have used it ta couple of times and still getting used to it but damn its a lot of fun, so much so it was 4 hours before I got home and that was after a 12 hour shift. I really need to get out more.

I'm convinced that this lens (with its very nice bokeh - thats the blurred out of focus background) in hands better than mine could make just about anything beautiful but it would be nice if someone made a lens that can make me feel comfortable in front of the camera that didn't involve an expensive and painful make-over, but now I'm just being silly.