WFC Guinea: Dakan

I… was not prepared for this film! So many great and weird shots. Coupled with the sheer amateurishness of the acting, the lines and… well, everything, it’s just mind-bogglingly fun to watch. Part of the charm is host the aesthetics resemble 60s no-budget films coupled with a storyline about a gay relationship makes this seem like it’s beamed in from an alternate reality. The great music on the soundtrack doesn’t hurt, either.

Your mileage may vary. Especially by how drunk you are.

Destiny. Muhammad Camara. 1997. Guinea.

Guinea Bissap

  • 2 parts juice de bissap
  • 2 parts rum
  • 1 part simple syrup

Juice de bissap:

  • hibiscus flowers
  • cloves
  • allspice
  • cinnamon sticks
  • ginger

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.

WFC Haiti: Meurtre à Pacot

The DVD transfer is kinda odd and choppy. It’s like every seventh frame two frames have been dropped or something.

As usual, Alex Descas is absolutely amazing in the lead role (as l’homme). The rest of the actors are variable, but fine.

This film is about the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and it’s everything you didn’t think about when you read that sentence. The film makes choices that are really strange and original: Things initially make no sense, but the mysteries slowly and organically unravel.

But there are definitely problems with the pacing. About halfway through the tension seems to drain away. It’s like the director had half of a brilliant film planned and then made do.

Very wry ending. MUCH SATIRE!

Murder in Pacot. Raoul Peck. 2014. Haiti.

Cesar’s Rum Punch

  • 4 parts dark rum
  • 4 parts lime juice
  • 2 part grenadine syrup
  • some dashes of Angostura
  • 1 part simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.

BD80: Tendre Violette

Tendre Violette by Servais & Dewamme (1981)

Both Jean-Claude Servais (the artist) and Gérard Dewamme (the writer) are Belgian, which makes a first for this week’s little trip through Franco-Belgian comics, I think? All the other ones have been French. Very French.

These stories were originally serialised in the Belgian (À suivre) magazine.

I’m not sure whether I’d term this a very Belgian comic (after all, no big noses), but it’s certainly a pastoral series. The forest is a tangible presence throughout, as well as the seasons, foraging for food and hunting for bunny rabbits. (As well as catching leeches in this very efficient manner, later to be sold to the apothecary. (When did they stop using leeching in Belgium, anyway?))

Our heroine throughout the three albums is Felicia, who we can see wandering through the forest: A woman of nature. The Danish name for this album is “Felicia and Liberty”, or something. Freedom is what’s important for her, and she shuns convention and all those nasty things that follow from being tied down.

The vast majority of women who appear throughout the pages are like the sour-faced biddies to the left, while the men are mostly gregarious and fun-loving.

And then things shift suddenly without… much reason, other than melodrama. Servais’ artwork can sometimes be difficult to read: It’s not clear why she’s suddenly on the ground, and it’s not clear why the villagers then decide to throw this very pregnant woman into a lake. (Spoilers: She survives, the baby doesn’t.)

The first book is a series of short stories, one more melodramatic than the other. The above is from when she tried to join a coven, but then she… stumbled while offering the blood to Satan… which made them angry… and the cat attacks her… but her own cat comes to her rescue…

I know.

In another story, she loses her memory (after getting hit over the head and then gets raped) and is then sold by the police (?) to an abbey (!?) to work as a slave (!?!).

I KNOW!

But still, you can’t deny the power of some of these pages. Servais’ detailed artwork with these almost traditional layouts: He has a tendency to make Felicia stick out of the panels, and going “full bleed” out into the margins of the book. (Quite unusual for its time.)

Felicia is constantly breaking through the confines of these, frankly, extremely silly and somewhat tedious stories.

Malmaison by Servais & Dewamme (1984)

I only bought the first of these albums as a teenager (presumably because I didn’t think Servais made interesting comics), but I got the next two albums now, because I was curious as to whether there’s be any development.

Indeed, the artwork seems to get even richer than in the first one. But using a “love montage”? It’s so cinematic, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

As for the story… Instead of being a bunch of (literally literally) unbelievable stories, there’s just one story that’s so monumentally moronic that I’m not going to bother writing anything about it.

Guess whether the dwarf up there is evil or not.

As in the first album, the pleasures here are from Servais’ artwork. As usual, Felicia is poking out of the panels all the time, but it’s especially effective in panels like this to emphasise their difference in heights.

Other pages look a bit like Servais has been studying Milo Manara’s layouts a bit too closely.

L’Alsacien by Servais & Dewamme (1986)

And then the Huns attack!

I read this book an hour ago, and I’ve already suppressed what it’s about… Uhm… Let’s see… While I’m thinking, just ponder the cosy scene in the forest above.

Oh, yeah, there was treason and revolt and stuff. Yeah. Nothing important, but note the excellent binding technique the French resistance uses for this traitor. And since they apparently had him tied up for several weeks, they presumably had to untie and tie him up again several times a day.

That’s dedication.

This series was republished in the naughts in an expanded version (in France), and in colour. These three albums became tomes 2-4, and new tomes 1 and 5-7 were added. Fortunately, these haven’t been translated to any language I read, so I’m able to resist the compulsion to get them, too.

Servais has published a large number of works over the years, and about half a dozen more have been translated to Danish. I wonder whether they have less groan-worthy plots than these Dewamme-written ones…

This post is part of the BD80 series.

WFC Fiji: Kya Dilli Kya Lahore

It’s another one of those anti war satires!

But this is rather amusing. I think, though, that it’s not a very Fijian film, so, er, foiled again.

It’s rather incomprehensible. The lines are like “That’s why you also gave him two roses” which I take is referring to something, somewhere in the India/Pakistan war history, but I have no idea what. I feel like if you’re not up to scratch on the Indian/Pakistani war of 1948, this is rather inscrutable.

I somehow feel that it’s trying to make fun of the Pakistani man, but I’m not sure… what? Is the ridiculous make-up these people are wearing meant to signify something?

Asian inscrutableness!

“Girls have mates! Get it!”

Kya Dilli Kya Lahore. Vijay Raaz. 2014. Fiji.

Welcome Cocktail

  • 3 parts dark rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • maraschino cherries
  • 1 orange slice
  • some dashes of Anogostura bitters

Muddle the cherries and an orange slice in a glass. Add ice cubes to fill the glass. Add the rums and stir. Add the Angostura.

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.

Ipad, Screenshots and Linux

It’s become increasingly clear over the past few months that many recent, fun-sounding films from countries with smaller film industries will never get a physical DVD release. The only way to see these films is via Amazon Prime, and since Amazon Prime isn’t conveniently available on Linux machines, I’m having to use an Ipad to watch these films.

Which is fine.

But I have to take screenshots. (I mean. I have to!) That leaves a lot of images on the Ipad, and I need a convenient way to get those from the Ipad to my Linux laptop.

Now, there’s Dropbox, and… stuff, but all those things require some manual work at the Ipad end or the Linux end. I hate manual work.

So wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way to just “do something” and then all the screenshots from the Ipad would magically appear in my Emacs on the Linux laptop?

There is!

It’s a bit fiddly, though, so let’s just get started.  (“A bit fiddly” is code for “seven pages of text is to follow”.  This is the year of Linux on the Desktop.)

My Laptop runs Ubuntu Linux, and it comes with an ifuse distribution that’s built with GnuTLS and not OpenSSL. This doesn’t work with IOS 10, so you need to build it yourself.

I’ve streamlined the build instructions a bit. The utilities and libraries needed to talk to Idevices is spread over four repositories, but the following should pull them all down, build them, and install them under /usr/local.

#!/bin/bash 
sudo apt-get build-dep ifuse 
for elem in libusbmuxd libimobiledevice usbmuxd ifuse; do 
  git clone https://github.com/libimobiledevice/${elem}.git 
  (cd $elem; sh ./autogen.sh; make; sudo make install) 
done

Check that your path is picking up the correct version by saying

$ type ifuse 
ifuse is /usr/local/bin/ifuse

Then plug in the Ipad via USB, and test that you can talk to the device. You may have to press “Trust this device” on the Ipad while connecting.

$ sudo mkdir /media/ipad 
$ sudo chown larsi.users /media/ipad 
$ idevicepair pair SUCCESS: Paired with device 37b633350ab83dc815a6a97dcd6d327b12c41968 
$ ifuse /media/ipad

You should now have the Ipad mounted, and the screenshots are under /media/ipad/DCIM.

Now for the fun part: Make the laptop copy over the files automatically whenever you plug in the Ipad.  I’m using the general setup from the usb-automount setup I did a few months ago.

The main difference is this udev.rules file:

ATTR{idVendor}="05ac", ATTR{idProduct}="12ab", PROGRAM="/bin/systemd-escape -p --template=usb-automount@.service $env{DEVNAME}", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}+="%c"

And then I use the following script to actually copy over the contents to the current “viewing directory”.

#!/bin/bash

command="$1"

if [ "$command" = "remove" ]; then
    umount /media/ipad
    exit
fi

# Mount the Ipad.
ifuse /media/ipad

if [ -d "/media/ipad/DCIM/100APPLE" ]; then
    cd /media/ipad/DCIM/100APPLE
    for pic in IMG*; do
        to="/home/larsi/pics/ipad"
        if [ ! -f "$to/$pic" ]; then
            cp -av "$pic" "$to/$pic"
            chown larsi.users "$to/$pic"
            if echo "$pic" | grep PNG > /dev/null; then
                shot=`echo "$pic" | sed 's/IMG_/shot/' | sed 's/PNG/png/'`
                if [ ! -f "/home/larsi/.movie-current/$shot" ]; then
                    ln "$to/$pic" "/home/larsi/.movie-current/$shot"
                fi
            fi
        fi
    done
fi

cd /
umount /media/ipad

Or something like that.  You obviously have to adjust the script to your needs if you want to do something like this, but the general idea should be sound, I think…

Look!  The images appeared in Emacs!  As if by magic!

It seems to work reliably, also after rebooting the laptop.  Apparently the “idevicepair pair” think only has to be done once?  Or something?

The only minor annoyance is that Ubuntu pops up an icon in the right-hand menu every time I plug in the Ipad.  Is there any way to say to Ubuntu “ignore this device in the UI”?  There is a way to make Ubuntu ignore all auto-mounted devices, but that’s not what I want, and there is a way to make Linux ignore a specific USB device completely (echo 0 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/2-1/authorized), but that’s not what I want, either.  I just want the UI to ignore this specific device…

Oh, never mind.

[Edit: I’ve now put the scripts on github.  That should make it easier to customize if anybody wants to use this setup…]

WFC North Korea: A State of Mind

This isn’t really a North Korean film, because those don’t seem to exists outside of North Korea? But it’s a film about North Korea, so…

This is a documentary about some gymnasts. And their parents and teachers and stuff.

The filmmaker is sympathetic towards the people he portrays, I think, but the things these people say are so absurd (and obviously rehearsed) that it’s easy to view the film as being sarcastic all the time. Which is a bit uncomfortable.

But apparently the North Koreans didn’t think so. It won awards at the Pyongyang International Film Festival. And there are some scenes that feel like you’re getting to know these people.

Let’s sing the “Communism Is Best” song again! I’ve got it on my karaoke machine!

A State of Mind. Daniel Gordon. 2004. North Korea.

Pyongyang Sling

  • 1 part Tanqueray gin
  • 3 parts grapefruit juice (preferably ruby)
  • 1 part tonic water

Shake the first two parts with ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top off with the tonic. Garnish with some sprigs of thyme (after lightly crushing over the glass) and a slice of grapefruit (ditto).

This post is part of the World of Films and Cocktails series. Explore the map.