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One of the reasons I read so many books is that we don't get out much, a combination of the difficulty of getting babysitters for the rather unusual needs of our children (on which subject, thanks once again to leila_azziza for helping out last night) and the related difficulty of working up enough energy to get out for more than a waiter-service meal. However, as it happens I have managed to see two films in the last two months, due to (in the first case) an unusual confluence of baby-sitting availability and our energy levels, and (in the second case) having an evening to kill in Berlin.

The Queen

For no especially good reason I persuaded artw to come and see this with me; the story of how the royal family coped with the political crisis caused by the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The two lead actors, Helen Mirren as the title character and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, are very good; we were much less convinced by <td valign="middle">Alex Jennings' Prince Charles or Helen McCrory's Cherie. A lot of the audience (indeed, most of you reading this) will remember that week pretty vividly; I, however, was in Bosnia, and artw managed to pass the crucial days pretty much unaware of what was going on, so it had affected us rather less.

I found it none the less quite an interesting study of political crisis, of what happens when decision-makers are confronted with a situation that requires them to think out of the box. Not that the Queen actually gets to make many decisions, other than those relating to her main function, the linkage between her subjects and the idea of the State; but that is not an unimportant issue. artw was, I think it is fair to say, less impressed.

Casino Royale

The Potsdamerplatz in Berlin is a pretty fantastic place, including a cinema showing movies in the original English, so I though I should do what everyone else has been doing and see "Casino Royale". I was of course thrilled that one of my favourite small countries featured so much, but puzzled as to why I didn't recognise any of the settings: the answer of course turns out to be quite simple - none of it was actually filmed in Montenegro! The casino scenes are all in Karlovy Vary, and even the bit I thought might be the Boka Kotorska is actually Lake Como (explaining why it looked like a cold winter day). There was one other touch which I though might be deliberate or might not; the "Montenegrin" police wear shoulder flashes of the old (1993-2004) flag, while it is the new version that flies outside the Hotel Splendide. Anyway, I'm sure it will boost tourism, even if the justification for that is slim.

The film itself is great. Daniel Craig's Bond is as close as I can imagine to an updated version of Fleming's hero, fifty years ago (I confess I have read only Moonraker and a condensed version of Casino Royale which none the less found space for the famous torture scene). It is a film that takes itself just seriously enough. Very enjoyable.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
An acquaintance of mine who also has multiple children, including special-needs kids, says that she works with a babysitting service on an arrangement of sending sitters in pairs. One sitter always has autism experience; the other is because, with four kids, no one sitter can handle all of them at once, and that one need not have the special experience. She says that once she had an initial detailed interview with the director of the agency and explained what she wanted, and that she was willing to pay for two sitters at a time, she never had problems getting them, because they liked to work in pairs. It also ended up training more autism-experienced sitters, because the ones who didn't start out that way learned from experience under the tutelage of the one who already had the skill set.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
A lot of the audience (indeed, most of you reading this) will remember that week pretty vividly

Yes and no. I rapidly got tired of the all-Diana all the time news coverage and went media free for some weeks after her death.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Di death
It's unkind to say, but I actually had a sense of relief after she died. The open wound could at least shut then.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 5th, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
In Ireland I was only dimly aware that Diana had died. Actually that's not true, I was aware that some people in England had gone completely mental, but that was about it. I do remember some guy at work's sappy girlfriend talking about how she was signing the book of condolence in the British embassy, and thinking that this was a strange thing to do.

I wish the internet had existed when Diana had died, as I would love to know what my internet friends were like back then. I wonder is Diana hysteria their secret shame?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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