The benefits of recuperating from a boring op is that I have time to watch TV. I’ve watched some absolute rubbish, some dirty secrets, some mindless stuff to distract myself. (But we won’t talk about that.)
Let’s talk about the good stuff, the worthy stuff. Well maybe not all of it would be that. Anyway…
I have finally finished Wolf Hall. I stopped watching this series months and months ago, possibly in January, at the end of episode 3, where the first novel, Wolf Hall, ended. All this time later I still love it. I love the setting (I want to travel to these places), the props, the clothing and the atmospheric music. Cromwell obviously has his eye on Jane Seymour but the king gets in first. I will have to get hold of the second novel by Hilary Mantel.
Yes, we know the story but it is in the telling, the characterisation that lies the new, the interest. Mantel’s Cromwell observes and plots and manipulates; a man of honour, he wants to protect Jane. (I know it seems contradictory that Cromwell is a honourable while at the same time he plots intrigue to give the king his will. But therein lies the attraction. He sells his soul and he knows it but what choice does a bruiser have?)
We have a great public TV broadcaster that started as a multicultural station – “bringing the world back home” was its catch phrase. It still plays foreign language films and now it has a stack of films on catch-up.
The Other Son, a French film, has similar themes to the novel I read recently, Mornings in Jenin. Set in Israel, two boys nearing 18 years of age, are discovered to have been swapped st birth during a missile attack. One raised as an Israel Jew, the other Palestinian Muslim.
You know it is going to be heart-wrenching. Not just for the parents. But the whole Israeli-Arab conflict which is st the heart of this intensely human story. How would you feel if your child was swapped at birth and raised by a family that was your enemy?
The actors move between Hebrew, French, English and Arabic with great skill as the characters struggle to find a common language. The different languages reflect the problems of understanding and communication.
Beyond the political theme, lies the perennial question of nature/nurture. To what extent are our genes to play in who we are? Or is it how we are raised? The one raised as a Jew is told by his rabbi, that being the best student, being raised Jewish, being circumcised, doesn’t make him Jewish. He needs to convert. Whereas the Arab son is Jewish because his mother is. (What bloody rot religion is!)
Well worth watching, it does offer hope for reconciliation at individual levels, if not whole population. There were bits I had to mute; too scary for me! Surely I senior Israeli officer would not enter the enclosed lands alone? I kept preying that it wouldn’t end badly.
I watched a German film, Fack ju Göhte (translated to Suck me, Shakespeer). It was along the lines of a typical Hollywood movie, a German version of Bad Teacher, not that I’ve ever watched Bad Teacher. The characters had a warmth. And it was lighthearted fun. I enjoyed trying to understand the words without looking at the translation.
The Dutch film Twin Sister was very sad. Twins, separated after their parents die, one raised by wealthy, urbane Dutch family, the other by a poor German peasant family. Anna, the one who remains in Germany is never allowed to attend school an, even as a young child; the family have her work as an unpaid drudge and beat her to point of death. All she wants to do is go to school, finally being sent to a school for domestic servants by the priest who rescues her after the savage beating. The Dutch girl, Lottie, has a life of leisure, music and sailing.
Through flashbacks we see their lives as little girls in the 1926, in the 30s, during the war and after the war. It raises lots of questions, questions of guilt, collective and personal; forgiveness; and to what extent those who did evil were in a position to chose. Anna was beaten, not allowed to school, forced into domestic service. She had no choice. Is she responsible for what went on? She did marry an SS officer? Does that mean she is guilty for supporting the regime?
I did fast forward bits. Not because it was bad but because it was sad. But of course that would be expected with a story set in WWII in Germany and The Netherlands, especially with one sister engaged to a Jewish fellow. Fast forwarding didn’t stop me crying though. A lot!
The worst movie I watched was Sleeping Beauty, an erotic drama. A girl is drugged for men to act out certain desires. It was crap. Thank heavens for fast forward. Do NOT waste your time watching this, unless you want to be outraged. Though I was impressed a character could say her lines with a straight face. “Your vagina is a temple.” This was the only Aussie film I watched. What a waste of my time.
I also started two series, Victoria and The Village. And watched some Friday Night Dinner. Some historical romance, grim historical drama and crass farce. Ticks all the boxes for TV series.