De ellende van de Tweede Wereldoorlog is nog maar net voorbij als de Russen het oosten van Duitsland – met harde hand – verbouwen tot een communistische dictatuur. Wie niet luistert of zich verdacht gedraagt, belandt zonder pardon in een strafgevangenis. Eén van de meest angstaanjagende gevangenissen uit die tijd staat in het plaatsje Bautzen, niet ver van de grens met Tsjechië. Uitgerekend daar belanden drie jongens van amper achttien en twintig jaar oud. In Paradijs in de hel vertellen Bodo Skrobek, Siegfried Rau en Detlev Nahmmacher hun angstige verhaal over de arrestatie, nachtelijke verhoren en de door marteling verkregen ‘bekentenissen’. Alledrie krijgen 25 jaar, zogenaamd wegens spionage, deelname aan een illegale groep en een ‘anti-Sovjethetze’.
Samen met EO-documentairemaker Bert Vos gaan Skrobek en Rau terug naar de plek des onheil, waar honger en terreur aan de orde van de dag waren, maar waar ook een wonder gebeurde. Temidden van meedogenloze bewakers, hoge hekken, stervende medegevangenen en overvolle cellen krijgt de politiek correcte voorganger Pfarrer Mund toestemming een kerkkoor te beginnen. En zo kan midden in die hel een klein paradijs ontstaan, volstrekt tegen de eigen logica van het strikt atheïstische gevangenisregime in. Ook als in 1950 de Volkspolizei van de kersverse DDR de leiding over de gevangenis van de Russen overneemt, verandert dit niet.
En zo ontstaat er in Bautzen niet alleen een hecht koor van goedgeschoolde zangers, maar trekken de vaak emotionele kerkdiensten steeds meer gevangenen én bewakers! Het neemt zelfs zulke vormen aan dat de leden in een aparte geïsoleerde cel worden gestopt om verdere ‘christelijke besmetting’ te voorkomen. Maar een verbod op de diensten komt er gek genoeg niet – niet meteen. Ruim vijf jaar mag het koor geestelijke liederen, psalmen, cantates en motetten zingen in de gevangeniskerk, tot er in 1956 toch een verbod komt op de sterk evangeliserende activiteiten.
Skrobek en Rau staan dik vijftig jaar later opnieuw voor de poort voor een confrontatie met de hel van Bautzen. In de documentaire zie je hun ontroering bij het weerzien van de gevangeniskerk, maar ook hun afkeer als ze opnieuw in de oude koorcel staan. Deze plek, waar ze met vijftig man in een cel van acht bij zeven meter zaten, tekende hun leven. Hier werden ze vernederd en leden ze honger, maar vonden ze God ook.
Alle koorleden kregen later amnestie van de DDR-regering. Het gros van de groep vluchtte naar het vrije West-Duitsland, terwijl een aantal bewust achter het IJzeren Gordijn bleef wonen; zes van hen werden er zelfs predikant. In de gevangenis lukte het verklikkers niet om te infiltreren in de groep en eenmaal buiten de muren van het gevang bleef de hechte onderlinge band bestaan. De mannen van het koor, nu tachtigers, werden vrienden voor het leven. Ze ontmoeten elkaar nog ieder jaar om bij te praten, hun vriendschap te bevestigen en – hoe kan het ook anders – samen te zingen.
Zeitgeist, the Movie
Written by and published with the permission of Kezerdrix: 18 August 2008
1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others
: a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators
Have you ever wondered what Jesus had in common with Horus, Attis, Krishna and Mythra? Did you ever ponder why dinosaurs never found their way to the Ark? Why God always needs more money?
Part 1 of Zeitgeist the Movie, a 2007 documentary film produced by Peter Joseph, delves into the character of Jesus Christ, comparing his attributes, as described in the Bible to the attributes of other prophets/deities of the pre-christian (pagan) era. Quite „surprisingly“, these are to be found identical, being metaphores for astrological phenomena, such as equinoxes and solstices.
The movie constantly draws from one’s Well of Paranoia (yes, we all have one). Based on the presentation of arguments and facts, it is not difficult to believe that Catholic Church (as an organization) is running it’s own show, armed with a Book written by Romans three hundred years after Christ’s demise.
Christianity is considered a „spiritual fraud“ on mankind, and religion in general a „slavery“. In general, it is used as a tool to control societies and generate cash.
Part 2 introduces the so-called „9/11 Myth“ which works on the premise that 9/11 was an insider job. In other words, 9/11 was organized by hidden elements in the US Government in order to pursue their own agenda, which is to boost US defense industry and, more importantly, start-up the never ending War on Terror which will ensure constant cash inflows for the interested parties.
Evidence presented is once again cohesive, well-structured and persuasive. This topic is perhaps the closest to the observer of all presented conspiracy theories – it works with the well-known and still recent events that have significantly affected the Western civilization.
Viewing this will at least make you think– is jet fuel so hot that it can physically evaporate a whole plane? Can a plane hitting a building make it collapse in a way that would be a perfect example of controlled demolition? Is it really not important who provided the finance for the whole operation? Make your own judgement…
Part 3 elaborates on the „International Bankers“ conspiracy. This thesis explains that the Federal Reserve Bank is about as federal as Federal Express. In fact, it is controlled by a consortium of banking families, including none other (lo and behold!) than the Rothschilds, Morgans and Warburgs. This would mean that monetary policy of the United States of America (which includes control over interest rates as well as money supply) is in the private hands of a privileged group of men (and, perhaps, also women).
These „men behind the curtain“, as they are called, are according to Zeitgeist responsible for all major military conflicts engaging USA in the twenieth century – once again, to generate cash-flows.
I can definitely say I enjoyed watching every minute of this movie. It is not presented in the form of a paranoid babble – rather, logic, arguments and evidence is used to persuade the spectator. This movie must tap the Well of Paranoia of even the most sceptical viewers amongst us.
There is indeed one big drawback of this document – the other side gets nothing to say to its defence. But as one of my friends has remarked – they had the chance to express themselves for the past 2,000 years…
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a sweet little movie, although some might say that the story is as thin as non-fat milk, which we will get back to later. In short the whole thing evolves around Peter (played by Jason Segel who also has written) who is dumped by his über-cute girlfriend Sarah (Kirsten Bell). Sarah plays the lead in some thirteen-on-the-dozen, but yet very popular, crime TV-show called Crime Scene (which, worth mentioning, includes William Baldwin as the male lead, in what probably is the most fun he has done in years), and thus haunts Peter not only on said TV-show but also showing up on talk shows and what not after the break-up. A break-up that by the way includes full frontal nudity by said Segel. To forget Sarah Peter goes to Hawaii, where he, keep in mind the thin story here, of course not only runs in to, but also shares hotels with, Sarah and her new boyfriend, the British rock singer Aldous Snow, played to the point of perfection, bordering lust-mord on his own character, by Russell Brand. Peter gets even more depressed, but also begins to take on to the sweet, but at the same time cool and independent, receptionist at the hotel, Rachel (Mila Kunis). And from there on it’s mostly pure fun to be honest.
Yes, the story is thin and the events unfolding are a bit sketchy and actually sometimes come out of nowhere with not so much to build on. But what the movie does brilliantly is that it’s aware of this and it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Instead of trying to create explanations to a story that doesn’t care if it’s thin anyway, it just gallops along with hilarious (and often sweet, mind you) conversations, situations and jokes. Some might say that the level of humour is low and fixated on sex, and therefore too juvenile to take seriously and would only attract the, when it comes to sex, the double moral US audience who hasn’t moved beyond college movies. Saying this would be putting oneself on too high horses though, and looking for something that film is not meant to be. And the jokes are almost all the time weighed up by a sweet touch built in making you liking the characters for some of their ways of being, although they obviously all have their flaws.
The clever thing of making a somewhat thin story and a bit inconsistent characters, and knowing it, is also that you can create extremely funny jokes as you go along without really caring so much why they are made and who delivers them. One fantastic example of this is a weird, unwanted, double date dinner that the two new couples, i.e. Peter and Rachel, and Sarah and Aldous, end up on. Throughout the dinner allegiances change over the table and both support and cutthroat-comments shift, making it a marvellous discussion-mayhem, but all the time within the boundaries of this sweet and likable touch to it. Not least the part where Peter and Aldous finds common ground is a bit heart warming, although there actually hasn’t been that much building up to why they would quite suddenly bond.
As so often when Judd Apatow is involved (he’s producing this one as everyone probably knows) one must not forget some of the funny sidekicks, also so very easy and useful thanks to the way of unfolding a simple story where you just can put in a funny guy (because it is most often the guys that are carrying the stories in Judd Apatows’) without it really having to take the story forward. All the way from Peter’s half brother and his wife trying to give advise via the laptop and Matthew the waiter (played by Judd-favourite Jonah Hill) who is in total awe over Aldous Snow, to the very sweet newly weds with problems in bed and the permanently half-stoned surf instructor and the helpful big-boned Hawaiian waiter.
Segel does good with his average likeable guy, Peter, and the ladies do an alright job with what they have to work with. Not least adding to the fact that they manage to show that they are all both victims and perpetrators in brake-ups and when it comes to finding new loved ones. But the one who steals the show is Brand’s Aldous Snow who evolves from, what you think, plain stupid and self centred, to loveable go-with-the-flow guy that just cracks you up and puts a let’s-just-enjoy-life glow over the whole thing.
To refer to the above mentioned on the guys carrying the story, this might be my only objection. The ladies could have done with some more of the jokes. Especially Bell as Sarah comes out kinda flat in the being funny area. Kunis’ Rachel is given more attitude and some in your face comments that makes you like her even more (if that’s possible since you just have to glance at her to love her, but that’s another story). But all in all there are some scenes that open up for the leading ladies to explore the jokes even more, but without really using that. Or maybe it’s just that you are so busy laughing at Aldous philosophize over this or that, or at Matthew the waiter not really being able to handle that his biggest idol is staying at the hotel, that you don’t notice that there are also other characters being funny at the same time.
How the film ends and how it reaches the end isn’t that important (and even less difficult to guess). This is simply a sweet and very very funny 112 minutes of entertainment. And if you take it as that it’s a 4 out of 5 if you ask me. If you want to judge it from a perspective that it isn’t at all trying to accomplish, maybe you will think it’s juvenile or under your standards. But if that’s what you’re after you probably haven’t laughed or been to a simple, but likeable, comedy in the last ten years anyway, so you probably won’t bother to go to this one either…
/ The Superjudge
My verdict: 8(10)
OK, as my French is a bit rusty, I have to admit that I probably only got 80% of this movie, half the dialogues are in French, and the Slovak subtitling did not provide much additional help to me ;-). But having said that, that 80% turned out to be more than enough to make my evening highly enjoyable.
‘Two Days in Paris’ has Julie Delpy written all over it. Delpy, well known from her well acclaimed appearance next to Ethan Hawke in ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘Before Sunset’, wrote, directed, edited, co-produced, composed the score and sang a song, and also acted in this movie.
The story tells about a New York couple, French photographer Marion (Julie Delpy), and American interior designer Jack (Adam Goldberg), as they attempt to re-infuse their relationship with romance on a European vacation. But what seems to start as merely a sort of Before Sunrise/Sunset-wannabe-sequel, with sometime very easy cliche-confirming jokes about both the French (sex-exalting and arrogant) as well as the Americans (naive and narrow-minded), slowly turns into something more subtile. Tackling questions like why people are in a relationship in an original way, e.g. when Marion answers to the question why she still is friends with most of her exes: ‘I would want to be your friend when we break up…whenever we break up….eehh IF we break up.’.
Witty dialogues, natural acting, and well-‘cast’ actors, in my opinion make this a movie to see. And I’ll definitely see it once more, but then with English subtitles to get the other 20% :-).
The official web site: http://www.2daysinparisthefilm.com/
An oldie in cyber-terms maybe, but for a balanced view and a successful life 😉 pls check out the following reaction of a WordPress colleague to Moore’s ‘Sicko’ (2007) (it does however have an 8.5 on IMDB!!!)…
Jimmy Rosenberg, a Sinti-gypsy, was born in 1980 in Helmond, the Netherlands. Just when twelve year old Jimmy got a contract offered at Sony, already sharing the stage with big stars like Eric Clapton and James Brown, his dad and manager got into prison for 8 years for killing his son-in-law. This event marked the turning point in his young life. Jimmy got addicted to drugs, and also due to psychological problems he was unable to sustain his promising career.
Film-maker Jeroen Berkvens followed 23 year old Jimmy for three years and shows a well-balanced and impressive view on the tragic occurings and how Jimmy lives his life today. In the mean time, Jimmy has had his come-back, so you can check out his fabulous wizardry for yourself at the 2 planned concerts in Utrecht and Paris.
Footage from one of his comeback concerts this year at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam 26th July 2007: