Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Driving in Addis Ababa

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This was filmed with my Panasonic Lumix, on a spur of a moment when in a taxi on the way to somewhere in Addis Ababa. A taste of local scenery…

Consumers want a divorce

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Alright, Microsoft is behind this but still… good stuff.

The Break Up
Uploaded by geertdesager

via Jaffa Juice

Paris, Je T’aime – the movie

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Last night I went to see Paris, Je T’aime at the Charlotte Street hotel, which has a lovely screening room – comfortable orange leather seats, plenty of leg room, drinks allowed. Jackie organised a very cool event about MySpace there and I have been to a private screening there before. Btw, I wonder if it would make sense to self-organise screenings of films as they come out – gather enough people (via social networks), pay a manageable extra compared to a normal cinema ticket to hire a screening room. In return, you have a special occasion with friends, no disruptive strangers, queues etc etc. Might be an entertainment/distribution model in this. But I digress.

The film was tres French, oh so French. Probably because of a fair number of Americans involved who injected it with theatrical OTT Frenchness. If I wanted to be cynical, I’d say that the French need to get American tourists back to Paris. But let’s not be beastly. None of this detracted from my enjoyment of film. Here is the blurb:

In Paris, Je T’aime, celebrated directors from around the world, including the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Walter Salles, Alexander Payne and Olivier Assayas, have come together to portray Paris in a way never before imagined. .. With each director telling the story of an unusual encounter in one of the city’s neighborhoods, the vignettes go beyond the ‘postcard’ view of Paris to portray aspects of the city rarely seen on the big screen.

Whether it is as never before imagined, I am not sure. But the film does look at the varied aspects of love, placing them in Paris, the city of love. This is a cliché but fortunately those behind the film realise that love is not and manage to create a memorable mosaic of it. The shortness of the ‘vignettes’  – 18 in total – can be an advantage. Brevity and compactness add poignancy and punch. The kind of simplicity that let’s in complexity via back door. But I am coming out all French and philosophical here.

Here’s my take on the stories whilst avoiding too many plot-spoilers, which is not as important as you might think.

Montmartre – probably most French of them all, a man anxious about not finding someone, expressing the loneliness with trivial concerns finds a soul mate by a freak coincidence.

Quais De Seine – love across religious divide. Sweet despite skirting the edges of political correctness.

Le Marais – love at first sight, intuition without many words, at least from the wooed one. Although this is about love that dared not to speak its name in the past, there is no political or PC charge here. Rather charming, if teenage. Marianne Faithfull is in this one, but I completely missed to notice.

Tuileries – the most surreal of them all. In French without subtitles (unlike the rest of the film). Dead give away that the film is for an American audience. A really strange guidebook crucial to the plot. :)

Loin du 16eme – a moving tale of maternal love, not from the usual or obvious perspective. Good acting.

Porte de Choisy – burlesque-like, odd and mildly disconcerting. But only very mildly. Must be the Asian angle. :)

Bastille – an old story retold with a twist. Won’t mention the ending, just quote one line: A man acting in love with his wife, finds himself in love again.

Place des Victories – Juliette Binoche is an amazing actress, which comes across in this story about a mother mourning her son.

Tour Eiffel - mime-bashing with a twist. Meant to be touching, but ends up mostly farcical.

Parc Monceu – most confusing of them all. At least for me. Nick Nolte’s the known face.

Quartier Des Enfants Rouges – also rather alien one for my tastes. Acting profession and drug dealers involved, not familiar with the vibes. Maggie Gyllenhaal in this one.

Place Des Fetes – one of the most moving ones. Love, death and depth for those without glamorous existence. Lagos is mentioned.

Pigalle – fading love being rekindled by some unorthodox means, well, for respectable people. :) Humorous and sweet in its own way. Bob Hoskins and Fanny Ardant do add spice.

Quartier De La Madeleine – Elijah Wood is no Frodo in this one. Most fairly-tale like, presents the dark side of Paris, as I like it. Blood plays an important role.

Pere-Lachaise – one of my favourite I think. Resonates probably as it has Oscar Wilde in it. Guys remember, sense of humour is very important for a girl. At least to this one. :)

Faubourg Saint-Denis – love without sight but powerful visual kaleidoscope of memories. Brilliantly shot and powerful. One of the best in the collection.

Quartier Latin – deep connection can endure everything. Even divorce and old wounds. Gerard Depardieu makes a fine restaurant owner.

14em Arrondissement – the ridiculous, the clumsy and the lonely can have their share in deep understanding too. Love of life transcends mediocrity.

Final verdict – definitely worth seeing. UK release is 29th June. Here is a trailer although I must warn that it doesn’t convey the flavour of the film at all. But what trailer does?

There is no other public than.. the public

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BBC reports:

Mr Ayers a senior executive at the AACS] said that while he could not reveal the specific steps the group would be taking, it would be using both "legal
and technical" steps to prevent the circumvention of copy protection.

We will take whatever action is appropriate," he said.
"We hope the public respects our position and complies with applicable

The 700,000 802,000+ pages you see in Google results – that’s your public. An industry turning on its own markets is doomed.

This is a clash of cultures:

The hacker, known as muslix64, has been able to access the encryption keys which pass between certain discs and the player.

The hacker said he had grown angry when a HD-DVD movie
he had bought would not play on his monitor because it did not have the
compliant connector demanded by the movie industry.

Note that the hacker bought the HD-DVD, he paid for the movie. The industry got its pound of flesh but it just wasn’t going to get any blood. Only when he discovered that it will not play on his monitor (I mostly watch DVDs on my computer), he tried to access the key. Online you make things work, if you can. He could, so he did. Companies can protect their content if they wish. But if they impose arbitrary limitations on our hardware, we are not going to play along. This is a culture of control vs. the culture of your-broken-business-model-is-not-our-problem…

Update: Cory Doctorow has more on the same article. Love this bit:

The companies that made AACS spent millions and years at it. The
hackers who broke it did so in days, for laughs, for free. More people
now know how to crack HD-DVD than own an HD-DVD player.

MacBook babushka

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In the clip, she says: What is so interesting, eh?

Incidentally, this is an alternative to advertising with small a, i.e. stuff about products and people using them. It differs from Advertising with capital A i.e. the entire industry producing ‘content’ and shoving it down our throats, in that it is not produced by an agency, or even the company, it wasn’t ‘promoted’ by a campaign. It is simply a glimpse of reality in which the ‘product’ features, whether naturally or oddly. I found it and I am passing it on. It’s fun.

via English Russia

Piracy – market’s way of giving movie industry a finger?

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An industry that treats its markets as enemies and abuses customers is in trouble.


hattip: Head Lemur

Big media vs big online

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People often say that YouTube and other video platforms would not survive without all that stolen content that was produced elsewhere at great cost. This always sounded strange to me because I usually go to YouTube and Google Video to watch films individuals produce – the horribly-termed user generated content or the more dire consumer generated content. I do occasionally watch ‘big media content’ but it’s the vloggers who keep me coming back. It appears this is the case for most of the YouTube audience…

…YouTube, which some have suggested would
be in trouble if more media companies followed Viacom’s lead and
demanded for videos to be taken down, may actually not be as dependent
on mainstream media as previously thought.

"One thing that is
quite remarkable is that people tend to be looking for consumer
generated content more than actual TV content on YouTube" (Bill
Tancer, general manager of global research for Hitwise.)

The rest of the article sounds like a kind talking to a terminally ill patient – don’t worry Mr Media Industry, it’s not all that bad, you have survived this far, just hang on, you’ll get there in the end…

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Jan 25th, 2007
  • Category: Film
  • Comments: 3

And the Red Man Went Green

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I love this. It made me smile and cry at the same time and believe me, I don’t admit easily to this. :)

It is a short movie by Ruth Meehan, the winner of the Depict! 2006 Award, a festival for films under the 90 seconds.

Pan’s Labyrinth or Mirrormask on downers

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After many months of work, travel and no play, I went to a cinema to see Pan’s Labyrinth. A friend of mine thought it was my kind of film and he was right – it is dark, surreal and based on a fairy tale. It is set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Spanish civil war. The story blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality but only to those who are not familiar with the stark realism of fairy tales. I know on which side of reality I stand.

Visually, the film is reminiscent of Mirrormask, which by comparison is light-hearted and flippant. Almost everything about Pan’s Labyrinth is dreamlike – imagery, acting, music. Except the violence and pain. This is no Disney movie.

It is a stark reminder of brutality of situations in which the warped and the sadistic have the upper hand. There are no heroes or winners. Just those who manage to preserve a shred of humanity by escaping to an alternative reality and by finding courage to act against the overwhelming evil.

It is also a reminder of the deep-seated morality of fairy tales. Tasks, rules, forbidden ‘fruit’ with dire consequences that follow any mis-behaviour. Monsters can be released by seemingly trivial acts of misdemeanour and can only be bound again at enormous cost. So just like the real life.

Amateur? I think not…

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This is simply marvellous. The guy can play neither drums nor piano but he’s a mean video editor.

Apparently, he did the clip to demonstrate his editing skills. Within two weeks he gets a couple of hundred thousands hits and counting. That’s what I call distribution in the networked world.

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Oct 24th, 2006
  • Category: Film
  • Comments: 4

All you willy need is a cigar

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It’s been a while since I posted to Blowing Smoke blog… one of the sexier blogging projects around. Got inspired by this.


Anyway, it is one of those posts where clicking through the links in it really pays off (tip: don’t miss the last one.) :)

Advantage #1,780 of moving out of home

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This is too funny. A girl is stripping in front of a webcam with headphones on when her mother comes in…


I must be getting the hang of this ‘viral video’ thingy… :-)

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