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October 16, 2005

Uns Ist In Alten Mæren Wunders Vil Geseit

I have watched "Sin City" recently. Generally, the schematic black-and-white images with strong contrasts are kind of nice, but the style seems to work much better in the comic itself. I have the same criticism with this as with "Immortal", basically: why all the work which keeps armies of people busy for bloody years, if all you do is imitate another medium which does the job better at much lower cost? (Yeah, I know the answer is "big bucks", but anyway.) If I just ignore that problem for the moment, it's a good enough but not great specimen of that most "romantic" of male-oriented genres, the medieval "Aventiure". You’re told basically the same story three times over, it’s always about some fallen damsel in distress and the hard, lonely knight who has to save her somehow from the dragon. And the more dark and corrupt the environment of our heroes the better, since the hero's beat-up soul shines all the brighter for it. And that’s basically what the Sin City ambience comes down to, a foil for scarred male souls to contrast favorably against. Plus, the medieval action reduces the futurist setting to pure facade. I missed some real street life in that city, instead of just hard-boiled decoration. Even though some of them distressed damsels are very impressive indeed, and watching Mrs. Alba in particular felt like being constantly clobbered over the head with a gold dust bullion, I would have prefered another, more ugly and shady story in the same world; a life in the day of a corrupt lawyer or something, somebody who really has no eroticized idealism and spiritual shining armour to keep the filth away.

By the way, is it just me, or did the yellow
guy remind everyone else of the bush, too?

The Spy Who Dug Commodities

I had some Ian Fleming audiobooks read to me lately, provided by my trusty public library. Never having seen them Bond movies, I thought I might do some catching up and got "Goldfinger" and "Casino Royale". To my surprise, the books are not really about espionage at all, they're all about luxurious lifestyle and status symbols. Generally, reading them feels like being lost in a whiskey ad which is somewhat tedious, but also strangely attractive. Fleming is not that interested in the secret service, not even on a phantasmatic level; in the hidden center of the two books are topics totally unrelated to all that spy stuff: "Casino Royale" seems to be about baccarat and "Goldfinger" about golf. (In the middle of the book, there's a description of a game of golf between Bond and Goldfinger which takes up several chapters and seems to take forever, even in the abridged audio version.) The Bond novels' main topic seems to be the swashbuckler's constant defense against all those people who are set to take his expensive hobbies and manhood-enhancing toys from him - let's just call them evil people and communists, shall we? That's what all these ridiculous descriptions of agent operations come down to. From start to finish, the stories could be read as allegories of the psychic and organisational ups and downs of someone who lives way beyond his means, as Fleming apparently did until his novels started to sell.