Archive for October, 2007

Oppressive Surveillance in Germany.

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

More than two months ago I wrote an entry on the incarceration of the urban sociologist Andrej Holm. Luckily he has been released after several weeks of cellular confinement under particularly harsh conditions – has was labelled a terrorist, and as we learned from current US American practices, that seems to forfeit you of quite a few human rights. This week, on Wednesday, the German Federal Court will decide if the warrant issued against Andrej Holm was legal in the first place.
Remember: one of the main grounds on which he was arrested was that he wrote critically about such things as gentrification and that this and other terms were used in the pamphlets of the militante gruppe, who set fire to several German military vehicles. It seems he has met people who are suspected to be members of this group on several occasions. Using terms such as gentrification, being an outspoken critic of related urban developments, and having met people who may be arsonists seems to be enough to rid not only you of your rights, but also your friends and family, who are now all being observed, wiretapped and so forth. Now many people in the social sciences, critical or not so critical, fear that they might too be arrested as terrorists when they actually do their work, leave their ivory tower, engage with different people outside of academia, be they investors, everyday people, or militants – and how am I supposed to know if someone who I meet is a militant or not? How terribly far going these so-called anti-terrorist measures go is being witnessed on the weblog of Andrej Holm’s partner, with whom he has two children. A scary read indeed.
And what is also quite scary is that I really carefully have to judge my words writing this entry, because it has become obvious that all activity related to this case is being monitored very closely by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (the BKA). That is how far we have come: I feel afraid enough to not even dare to joke about this affair. I think it really is time to turn the wheel around and re-establish all those civil liberties that have been torn down over the course of the last six years. When I was young, reading Orwell’s 1984 and similar dystopian novels, I never thought that a distinctly similar scenario would become true when I am an adult. Dire times, and my Norwegian colleagues here in Oslo seem to be pretty shocked about the current state of interior affairs in Germany.

Ratatouille – (Not) A cheesy movie.

Friday, October 12th, 2007

The trailer (link see below) for Ratatouille was charming enough to lure me into the cinema for an evening free of philosophic discourse during last weeks conference of the German Society for Phenomenological Research (DGPF) in Darmstadt. In addition, this movie has been made by Pixar, which has produced several highly entertaining animated movies during the last years, making it even more attractive in my eyes. Pixar studies seem to hire the right writers who keep a certain degree of edginess in the stories, thus making their movies stand out positively in contrast to most of the boring Disney productions of the last decade. This is again true for Ratatouille. The main character is charming enough, his buddies and relatives are funny, and his enemies bad – luckily all of them in a not overly schematic way. There were one or two very touching moments in the film and the rest was pure entertainment enriched with several very well-made animations and scenic views. Something for a relaxing evening at the cinema, but also something that you could rent for a night at your DVD booth around the corner.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Auf der anderen Seite – Istanbul, zu Dir will ich kommen.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Ich habe schön öfter darüber nachgedacht: Gegen die Wand ist wahrscheinlich mein absoluter Top-Film des Milleniums. Er hat sich mit seiner Intensität tief in meine Erinnerung eingebrannt. Die Latte für den neuen Film von Fatih Akin, Auf der anderen Seite, konnte also kaum höher hängen. Ich bin glücklich, dass ich nicht enttäuscht wurde. Auch dieser Film ist wirklich sehr gut. Eigentlich bin ich vielleicht sogar genauso glücklich, dass er nicht noch besser ist als Gegen die Wand – denn wie hätte ich das körperlich und seelisch aushalten sollen? Der neue Film ist also weniger nervenzerrüttend intensiv. Er ist aber trotzdem gut und hart und zärtlich und spannend und amüsant. Die Charaktere sind auch hier Grenzgänger im politischen wie auch im persönlichen Sinn. Ihr Leben spielt sich entweder in Bremen oder in Istanbul ab, sie wechseln von einer Stadt in die andere, leben, lieben und leiden dort auf jeweils eigene Weise. Das Drehbuch und die Regie sind einfach hervorragend und die Darsteller in ihren Rollen ergreifend. Kamera und Schauplätze tragen ihres bei und machen diesen Film zu einem Muss. Ja, auch für Dich, los, ins Kino!
IMDb entry | Trailer

The Bourne Ultimatum – Speed & suspense.

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I enjoyed the first two flicks featuring Jason Bourne tremendously. In a way, they showed what James Bond could be – and finally became, with the most recent, reinvented Bond. Of course, the main character of the Bourne movies is laid out in a way that could be seen as the direct opposite to the classic, self-assured and smug Bond: torn by inner conflicts, not sure who and even what he really is, if he should open up and trust or even love others or not… However, even with these traits, the Bourne movies stayed true to their genre: they were action movies to the core. And they were the best action movies I saw during the last years. All of this is still true with the most recent (and probably last) incarnation of the series. Breathtaking fights, murderous hunts, and extremely well-timed plots that swirl around each other in dazzling arrays. If you are ready for some fast-paced action: go for it!
IMDb entry | Trailer