WFC San Marino: The Last Alchemist

There aren’t many films from San Marino, and this is an Italian co-production. As is the cocktail.

This is the 151st film in this blog series, which means that there’s only 49 films to go! *gasp* This will end sometime! This summer!

This is a 30 minute thriller, and it’s heavy on the irony. It kinda works, but it’s a bit on the sloppy side: Things don’t really move along as they’re supposed to. Still, it’s pretty entertaining. I think it wants to be more than that, but it’s not really.

The Last Alchemist. Michele Massari. 2012. San Marino.

Aperol Spritz

  • 3 parts prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • a splash of soda
  • a slice of orange

Pour prosecco into an ice-filled glass. Add the Aperon and a splash of soda. Garnish with a slice of orange.

I don’t understand this recipe. Pouring the prosecco over the ice makes all the fizz go out of the prosecco, leaving a rather flat drink. This method is supposed to avoid having the Aperol settle to the bottom of the glass, but I think that would be better than drinking a fizz-less spritz.

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

WFC Latvia: Par desmit minutem vecaks

Uhm… I’m not sure how I ended up with this short: Surely there must be some Latvian feature films available on DVD? It’s a mystery lost to the winds of time.

So… this Soviet era silent short basically is a long shot of a group of kids watching a very exciting film in a movie theatre. I didn’t find it riveting.

Ten Minutes Older. Herz Frank. 1978. Latvia.


  • 7 parts vodka
  • 2 parts grenadine
  • a line slice

Put the lime into an Old Fashioned glass and muddle. Add ice, vodka and grenadine. Stir. Serve with a straw.

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

WFC Bolivia: American Visa

Whew! South American to the rescue again. After a string of old-fashioned grandiose films, it’s such a relief to watch a smart, fresh film again.

It’s a bit like… Breaking Bad. An asshole (as the cab driver says at the start) is dealt a bad blow and turns to crime. And we’re supposed to care a lot because er er er he’s the protagonist. He even looks the same, which makes me think that Breaking Bad is a rip-off of this film! Sure!

But it’s excitingly shot and the actors are lovely. However, it goes a bit maudlin in the middle and becomes kinda boring. Still… the good bits are good.

If this blog series was a Worlds Best Part Of The World For Films Competition, South America would win it hands down. Easily. Perhaps I should watch a bunch of South American films next… Like fifty… Er… Sudamérica Cinquenta… Or SAL…

Or I could do something else, like get back to hacking Emacs.

American Visa. Juan Carlos Valdivia. 2005. Bolivia.

Pisco Sour

  • 9 parts Pisco
  • 6 parts lime juice
  • 4 parts simple syrup
  • 4 parts egg white
  • dash of Angostura bitters

Shake everything except the bitters vigorously with ice. Strain into a glass and add a dash of Angostura bitters.

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

WFC Libya: عمر المختار

Hey, it’s Mad Max!

It’s another one of those Birth of a Nation stories, er, I mean, one of those nation building films. It’s not my favourite genre, but you have to respect the grandeur of some of the scenes. Yuge scenes in yuge rooms.

Amusingly enough, this film was banned in 1982 in Italy. “The Italian authorities had banned the film in 1982 because, in the words of Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, it was “damaging to the honor of the army”.” Man, that shit is weak. I mean, it’s about the Libyan liberation from Italian rule, so you have to expect both some tea and some shade.

It’s a pretty well-acted and professionally filmed and edited film. Very conventional: Think American war movies from the 50s.

A bit on the gory side and it’s way, way too long.

Lion of the Desert. Moustapha Akkad. 1980. Libya.

Eastern Promise

  • 4 parts vodka
  • 1 part apricot brandy liqueur
  • 1 part rose syrup
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part mineral water

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

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

WFC Azerbaijan: Ali and Nino

This is a high-budget Kazakh (is that the right word?) film. It’s in English, and some parts are more like a British costume drama than anything else. It’s a UK co-production, so that makes sense.

It’s a very romantic film, and it’s a very nationalistic film. So it’s a national-romantic film? It’s hard not to be charmed by the cute scenes, but the nation-building scenes are pretty difficult to swallow.

Ali and Nino. Asif Kapadia. 2016. Azerbaijan.

Arak Buck

  • 5 parts arak
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 2 parts lemon juice (quarter lemon)
  • 12 parts ginger ale

Stir the first three ingredients with ice in a glass. Top up with ginger ale.

This was completely undrinkable, but then I dumped a lot of simple syrup into it, and it became almost pleasant.

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

Shimmery OLED Pixels

I upgraded to a not-so-bright and very shiny Sony A1E OLED 4K TV this week (from my ten-year-old Samsung). It’s basically very nice, but there’s one very, very weird effect that I’ve seen nobody mention:

This is an episode of Doctor Who paused, but it’ll do those shimmery teal pixels even when the video is running.

Like, WTF?

The only reason I’m not freaking completely out and taking the TV back to the shop is 1) it’s really heavy and 2) I’m going to an all 4K video line next week and I want to see whether that fixes this problem. I’m hoping it’s an 1080p->4K upsampling artifact of some kind.

But even so, it’s … not acceptable. So what’s up? I’ve done a full factory reset to check whether any of my settings made it go wonky, but that’s not it.

At first I thought “DEAD PIXELS”, but it’s not that, either: The shimmery pixel effect is visible all over the screen when the base colour is about what you see on the screen here. So in most scenes there are no glitches, but in some darkish, bluish scenes there are glitches all over the place.

Has anybody heard of this… thing before? Is there a setting to make it go away?

WFC Malawi: William and the Windmill

This Amazon find isn’t really a Malawi film, but it’s an American documentary about a great Malawi kid who’s into windmills and an American guy that helps him make bigger windmills.

It’s… a bit uncomfortable to watch, because his helper is so… verbal, and the kid isn’t.

I was also wondering whether the filmmakers had some kind of agenda going, because so many scenes are uncomfortable to watch. At one point I was starting to wonder whether this was another one of those fake documentaries. But I guess not.

William and the Windmill. Ben Nabors. 2013. Malawi.

The Pumulani

  • 1 part blue curaçao
  • 2 parts Malibu rum
  • ginger ale
  • coconut

Shake the alcohol with ice with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Top up with ginger ale and sprinkle with coconut.

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