I am afraid people are going to die during the Football World Cup in South Africa

April 12, 2008 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Having spent about 20 months of my life in South Africa, I have lately become very concerned about the Football World Cup going there – yes, it’s a great opportunity for the rainbow nation to show its spirit and beauty to the world, but how are they going to manage to keep crime and violence under covers during those weeks? And the latest statement of South Africa’s deputy security minister doesn’t sound like police is trained and prepared for deescalation, rather the opposite:

South Africa’s deputy security minister has told police how to tackle rampant crime in their cities: “kill the bastards”, and do not worry about regulations.

“You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community,” Susan Shabangu, told a local police forum in Pretoria.

“I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and women that they have permission to kill these criminals.

“You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect,” she added.

“I won’t tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them. I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot.”

Read more here (Telegraph UK) and here Mail & Guardian, South Africa.

Two odd war movies: 300 vs Asoka 21/40

March 13, 2007 at 7:30 am | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Film, Stars, Youtube | 3 Comments
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I’ve got some thoughts on my mind about the relation between the consumerist mindset, the popularity of wellness products and services and the ever spreading belief of some people that they should ‘learn to do something for themselves’, relating furthermore to a certain tendency with some to assess friendship on the basis of its ‘what one gets out it’ value. But before I formulate this any clearer, I’d like to wait for a response from Jetsam on my response to his most recent Baudrillard post (don’t feel pushed into anything though!).

While that thought keeps fermenting, I’d simply like to juxtapose two films featuring scenes from the battlefield – the upcoming film 300, directed by Zach Snyder and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller on the one hand and the already mentioned Asoka on the other, directed by Santosh Sivan, featuring Shahrukh Khan, and loosely based on the life and times of the Indian emperor Ashoka who embraced Buddhism after realizing the cruelties of the wars he had waged.

While the former aspires to a hitherto unseen, graphic, formally aesthetic depiction of the fights on the battlefield, the latter eschews graphic detail, in spite of the numerous fighting scenes. The former relies heavily on the bluescreen, the latter on costume and physical abilities. The former is graphic eyecandy, the second a family movie and vehicle for SRK.

I didn’t manage to dig up a fighting scene from Asoka, so you’ll have to make do with the trailer. Please appreciate the suggestions of bloodshed which can be found throughout the movie, for instances splashes of red water against the sea shore. But for most of the time, choreography hides the bodily part where the wound is afflicted.

The piece from 300 was heralded as the ‘most violent scene in the entire film’. Please appreciate in particular the achievements of the Foley artists, in particular the sound of blood gushing out of the fresh wounds. Sounds pretty much like a bathroom party to me;-)

I don’t know how you feel about 300, but I am no more interested in watching it. According to Jetsam’s review, the images are stunning, but the characters contrived and uninteresting. Judging from the footage and screens I have seen, you can expect a photorealistic trying to be surrealistic image overflow – but I’ve already grown tired of CGI, to be honest.

On the other hand, the swords and armament in Asoka resemble the equipment of toy soldiers all too often – neither is the story the most intriguing ever told, but hey: it’s got SRK in it. I am afraid to sound too fanatic or naive – but SRK is definitely the best reason for watching the film. If anybody has the magic aura of a star, then him – goofy nose, warts and all. You just don’t want to take your eyes of him – from the blood feast in 300, I do happily want to avert my eyes.

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