Tuesday, February 28, 2006


If you must see one film this year set in Jerusalem with religious themes and filmed entirely in middle eastern languages, make it Ushpizin. Much lighter in tone than Mel's Epic from a couple of years back, it is nevertheless very orthodox, very kosher, yet gently funny.

This is the first time I have been to see a film at the cinema where the owner of the cinema comes out and explains the film to us. He spoke briefly about how he saw it at Cannes and fell in love with it, and brought it to Australia. He explained it was the big hit of the Israeli cinema circuit last year, both with orthodox and secular Jews.

He gave us background on the making of the film. Shuli Rand, who plays the main character Moshe Balanga, was Israel's leading actor until he became religious and disappeared from the public eye. Nine years on he re-appears with a script that reflects both his own story and that of Abraham and Sarah. His wife in the film is his real life wife - a male and female orthodox Jew cannot be alone together unless they are married, so another actress would not have done. Anyway Mali (that was her character's name) was perfect in the role. Most of the parts in the film were played by orthodox jews who weren't actors, but who did a credible job at portraying themselves.

The Cinema guy also told us of the Feast of the Tabernacles, or the Festival of Succoth, which is the time of year when the film is set. Every year Jews remember the wanderings in the wilderness of Moses and the Children of Israel by erecting crude huts to live in for a few days. It puts life into perspective. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent in which we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands. (read the next few verses for more). A miracle provides the penniless Moshe and Mali with a nice, big hut.

There is also the four species, four plants which represent the four types of human beings. They are brought together in the hands and shown to the four directions of the earth, and up and down, as a symbol and prayer for the unity of humanity. Another miracle provides the couple with enough money not only for the feasting, but to buy one perfect (and we mean PERFECT) Citron, one of the four species.

But with miracles comes the testing of faith, in this case in the form of the Ushpizin, two 'guests', from God, who turn out to be a pair of escaped convicts, one of whom was an old friend from Moshe's pre-religious, violent past.
A movie about faith and the possibility of change. If you want to see the implications of sincere faith, and don't mind reading subtitles (or are fluent in Yiddish and Hebrew, the German people I was with understood a lot of the Yiddish bits, and I discovered one of the words they were using for God was very similar in my ears to the the Czech word for God - Bohu! one of the few words I know in Czech!), go see it!

Official Site IMDB

Friday, February 17, 2006

King Kong and Murray

A little while back I introduced Chicken Little, a quick animation I had done, based on a character invented by a work colleague of mine. The Disney Corporation has since produced their own version.

Anyway, a few years ago now, Murray and I passed through New York, and Murray wrote On his website, some thoughts about our time there, and about his great Uncle Kong, who was a previous visitor. If you keep an eye on what goes on in the Cinema, you would have noticed recently, that Kong has returned!

This is just a pointer to remind you all that 'Murray's World' is not just topical, but 6 years ahead of the game! Check out New York with Murray... http://www.angelfire.com/id/murray/ny.html

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Further Adventures in the Romanian Underworld

Well, dear reader, it's time to delve deeper into the Romanian Underworld.
There is a TV commercial here where a young man walks into a book shop and asks for a book called Adventures in the Romanian Underworld. The whole set-up made the book sound intriguing, and so I googled for it. And I found, after blogging on about my thoughts, I was not the only one. Several other people also found it intriguing enough to google. Some of them found my way to my blog, and left their cards under my door. Thank you very much!
For more on this, check out my blogs of Jan 17 (the Omniscience of Google?) and my original blog on the subject (Adventures in the Romanian Underworld) on Jan 10.
Anyway, I was thinking that the bank in question has missed an opportunity to get their message across! In the ad, various people come into the man's cosy bookshop (that apparently also has a cafe, but we don't see this...), and ask to buy certain titles. A woman asks for something something Italiano il Grande (I don't quite catch what she says, help me out!), and receives it, the young guy asks for Adventures in the Romanian Underworld, and gets it. A third man says 'I want to buy Your Business.'
The bookseller says he doesn't have that title, and the man says 'no, I want to buy your Business!'
The bookseller's eyebrows hesitate, then shoot upwards in interest.
Then, the ad reveals what it's all about. Come into some unexpected money? Let us help you! We at the bank with our interest rates etc...
The stupid thing is, I'm not even sure which bank it is! My interest goes when banks start talking about interest! It might not even BE 'which bank'!
Anyway, I was thinking if the bank whipped up a fake website advertising, say, Adventures in the Romanian Underworld, professionally done to look convincing, they could easily get the hits my blog has got in the last few weeks. And then people like me would at least know Which Bank, or What Bank or Even Why Bank it is!
Look, it wouldn't cost them anything to do in terms of their Advertising budget!
In fact, I have done a sample for them. Check out this link, and let us know what you think...
Here it is, a fictional Bookshop/Cafe that I have chosen to call Literatte reviewing the Fictional Fiction Adventures in the Romanian Underworld!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Blog Tag...

Pick me, pick me... ooh, I'm such a follower, everyone's doing it, I've just blog-tagged myself.
Here's how it goes. You make a list, I don't know if it has to be definitive, of stuff about you and, well, easier to see it than go on about it. Then you tag someone so that they get to do it too. If that makes sense, I'm not sure that it does! As I learn German, I think it squeezes my English gramatical skills out of my head..

4 Jobs I have had:

Paper boy.
Riding shotgun to a snack foods delivery driver
Computer Engraving guy
Cartoon Animal Muralist

4 Movies I can watch over and over:

Wings of Desire
the Matrix (1, not 2 or 3)
Rosenkrantz and Guilderstern are dead is one I would like to see again to see if I would like to see it some more....

4 Places I have lived:

Pays...er, Bayswater, both in WA and Victoria

4 TV shows that I love:

Gilmore Girls
Historical Doco's
The Panel
Sophie's World
The Australia vs England test at Lords

4 places I have vacationed:

Ocho Rios
600+km across the back of New South Wales on a bicycle
Grandma's place in Warrnambool

4 Favorite foods:

Chocolate with Hazelnuts in it
Chicken Parmigiana
Ice cream
Fresh Pineapple
toasted ham and cheese sandwiches... (!)

4 sites I visit regularly:

Blogs of Friends
About.com - German with Hyde Flippo
various Graphics sites

4 places I would rather be:

right now? in bed. sleeping...
Somewhere in Germany, pref the eastern bit. Berlin, Dresden... what's Leipzig like?
Or at least Europe. Or somewhere else tropical! Is Canada tropical?
Or perhaps Byzantium...
Hey, I already live in the World's most Liveable City... Whatever that means!
In the Centre of God's Will

4 Bloggers I want to tag...

All the bloggers I'd want to tag seem to have already done it, so...

Reading back over my list, I think need to reconsider the concept "4"