Tag Archives: Christoph Waltz

Imagination/Too close to reality

Impairments in imagination:
1. Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play appropriate to developmental level
2. Inability to tell, write or generate spontaneous, unscripted or unplagiarised fiction
3. Either lack of interest in fiction (written, or drama) appropriate to developmental level or interest in fiction is restricted to its possible basis in fact (e.g. science fiction, history, technical aspects of film)

The above is part of the criteria used for diagnosing adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. In my diagnostic report it says that all three of them apply to me (only one is required for a diagnosis to be made), though fails to explain to my satisfaction why that is. Unusually for me I can’t recall what the person in question said at the time, I can remember that I argued vehemently against this, I was insulted, I argued that I’m creative, I can write fiction and I like reading fiction. I can’t disagree with the first one being true, but at the time I definitely thought they had got it wrong on the other two.

With my interest in film, it’s not so much restricted to its possible basis in fact as it is to my current special interests which do tend to be based in fact. For example I like to watch films about Nazi Germany or the DDR. Large chunks of my film collection can be traced to a special interest of some sort. It’s not so much that I have an interest in film itself; it’s more that films are merely another aspect of my special interests.

I didn’t have the understanding of myself and the self-awareness that I posses now to see that they were dead on. They saw what I didn’t or didn’t want to see. Sure I like to read fiction, but I if I were to look back over the books I read recently, not only would I see a definite bias towards non-fiction but I would see that every single piece of fiction I read is directly connected to a special interest. Not only that but certain books connected to a special interest get re-read too many times to count.
I recall fondly my Star Wars books (my first foray into fiction) and how battered and beaten they were. I probably could have recited them word for word. Yet despite their terrible condition, I would not allow them to be replaced with new copies. They would look the same but they wouldn’t be the same, they wouldn’t be mine. That liking for familiarity again, both in holding on to those books and in re-reading them so often, it’s no wonder I quickly progressed to reading to myself as a small child. Besides the fact that no-one ever went fast enough for me, they were probably sick of reading the same book over and over again.

On the subject of writing fiction, it was not only I who disagreed with this characteristic applying to me.

A good friend disagreed with this as well, pointing out that I had lots of great ideas for stories and scripts. Then somewhere in the last year, for the first time they actually got to read something that I’d written. Their first comment was “too many references.” It seems I am worse than Tarantino on that front. But I can’t take out the references, without them the piece wouldn’t exist. If someone knows my interests and reads something I’ve written, they’ll be able to connect the dot and see all of the not so subtle influences. My English teacher thought I had a fantastic imagination and said so at parents evening; he changed his mind about this somewhat when we got talking one day about all the TV shows I liked to watch. Then he knew where my fascination and knowledge of law enforcement came from and where all those wild tales involving rogue FBI agents, prison breakouts and drug kingpins came from.

How I could have ever argued against this being true of me is a source of amusement now. I mean, my words, phrases, gestures and mannerisms are “borrowed” from other people, why wouldn’t this apply to everything else as well?

I’m not saying people with AS lack imagination, not entirely. I just think that it must work differently on some level. More real than real is what I always say about my special interests and alternate universes. In the book Multicoloured Mayhem, his mother said that Luke once called AS “a more extreme version of real life.” I get that in a way, everything is louder, more powerful, feelings and passions are stronger. Like with special interests, a strong passion in a NT becomes an all-consuming desire in an autistic person. The ironic thing is that the one thing that isn’t real to me is reality. It doesn’t feel real at all. Maybe because there’s too much of it? I don’t know, but I like what Ben said about in Young, Autistic & Stage-struck:

“Asperger’s in a few words, widens your imagination, sort of widens your brain power but it also severs your fantasy-reality bond severely”
I don’t know if he was talking about AS or his anger but he said that he felt like something had a hold on his soul and wasn’t letting go, or words to that effect.

I feel kind of the same way, that something has a hold of me. There’s a line in a film, Ben X, I didn’t like it when I first saw it, now I see the line is perfect. Ben (in the film) says I had autism, or rather autism had me.

It’s not the autism I feel owns me, just the obsessions, but then they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that, so it does in a way. I used to say obsessions were a good thing, they keep me occupied, they fill the space that should be taken up with social stuff. Do the obsessions exist because I can’t connect and make lasting friendships with people, or is it the existence of obsessions that prevent that from happening?

Some people would no doubt misinterpret what Ben said, maybe they would be thinking of some kind of mental illness that involves delusions or delusional thoughts. That’s not my problem. I know what is real and what is not. It just doesn’t feel real to me. My problem is that fiction and my alternate universes feel more real to me than reality does.

It does bother me a little, how disconnected I seem to real people. It’s been pointed out to me, how little I appear to care for other people’s feelings and the fact that those people don’t know if I even feel anything for them. I want to explain to them, I do, but I have no idea how and what good would come of it.

There is one person I talked to about this once, I said bluntly to them “I like you, I enjoy your company, you’re my favourite person in this dimension to talk to, but I’m happier in my alternate universe with alternate Christoph” (this was during my Inglourious Basterds/Christoph Waltz/Quentin Tarantino obsession) and their answer was “if someone else had said that, I would take offence, but knowing you, I don’t, I know what you mean.” I wonder how they knew what I meant, or if they really meant that, because as usual I had no idea what I was saying. The thing that scares me is that this doesn’t scare me, or at least it didn’t until recently. I think with this recent interest in Joachim Löw and the Bundesliga I may have gotten a little too close to reality. I have a special interest for the first time ever that is not rooted in fiction. There are no characters to obsess over and analyse, there are only real people.

I also think that getting too close to reality thing may have something to do with the impulse I’ve had lately to start digging things out from my childhood, as if I want to go back to then, when obsessions and everything else were much simpler. When I had zero or close to zero self awareness. When my world consisted of Pokemon, Championship Manager, the WC 2002 PC game, video games in general, Star Wars, riding my bike and playing football.  Back to when I had so little interest in other people.

It’s funny that I’m writing about imagination right now, since I just got a new idea for a story which has the working title of “Zwölf kleine Fußball Spieler.” It’s about a set of football figures (the kind that have tiny bodies and oversized heads) that come alive at night. The set of course comprises of Jogi und die Mannschaft. There is one of Hansi too, but he is introduced later, he’s not one of the original twelve. There are additional ones as well, the subs bench, Roman Weidenfeller is there of course. But there are twelve for a reason, it’s a special number.

The idea of course is partly inspired by The Unbeatables and Toy Story. I have for a long time wanted to write something inspired by Toy Story, acutally I wish Toy Story were real, but of course I wish the toys would be alive in the presence of humans, I would like someone to talk to sometimes. The title is a reference to a very funny song  Everything is from somewhere else.

The video that served as a source of inspiration:

This probably is somewhat rambling, maybe even more so than usual. It’s a combination of being unsure of exactly what I’m writing about, a lack of sleep (partly because of the impending government visit and partly because of a Löw related crisis – well not a crisis exactly but something of that nature, the documentary Die Mannschaft is released in cinemas in Germany today, and well all I can say is, it’s one of those days when I am extremely unhappy that I am not a German – to the point where I feel like I would rather not exist than not be a German) and being in a somewhat hyper state.

I think a quote from another abandoned show (Criminal Minds) and former special interest sums up all of this quite well though:

Spencer: I know what it’s like to be, to be afraid of your own mind.

Spader love

Oil, Meet Water

Of the people who are close to you, who is the person most unlike you? What makes it possible for you to get along?

The person I’m close to despite them being the opposite of me in many ways is a very good friend of mine. A former teacher of mine, they know me as well as I think anyone could in real life. As the title implies we bonded over a mutual love of James Spader. In every other way, it should not have been possible for us to have been friends. A little scattered compared to my ruthless organisation and perfectionism, friendly and likeable in comparison to my social awkwardness. But they do appreciate people who are “different” and as a result demonstrate a remarkable tolerance and patience when dealing with certain of those differences that most people do not possess a fraction of.  That’s a large part of why it’s possible for us to get along.

The other reason is that whereas usually friendships of mine that are built around special interests tend to end when the interest ends, this time it did not. My appreciation of James Spader ended but the friendship continued. We shared a mutual apprecation of Mads Mikkelsen after him and Christoph Waltz after that. Their flexibilty is the key, their ability to keep up with each of my special interests. To ride out the ones they find baffling and just cannot understand (but without letting me know at the time that they are doing this) and learning to appreciate the ones they can get on board with.

They are also the only person in the world who is brave enough to call me by a nickname. And they are the only person in the world who could e-mail me something like this and know that I would not be offended and actually find it quite funny, so funny that I went and bought the t-shirt shortly afterwards. I feel obliged to state that whilst I agree without a doubt that Saga is autistic, I don’t think Lund is, nor do I want her to be, I still haven’t forgiven her for what happened to Meyer.

Bridge-Killing t-shirt

And of central importance, even when they find the overall interest baffling (such as football) they can still appreciate the sweetness and perfection that is Joachim Löw. I know they would appreciate my latest Die Mauer der Löw, the Nivea picture which I found on a website dedicated to Jogi is especially perfect for this post, since whereas other people disppear, they stay and stay and stay. Just like Joachim.

jogi-vert1-horz.jpg

Charting obsessions: Christoph Waltz

I can track the beginning and the end of my Christoph Waltz fascination, down not only to the exact day but the time too. This is definitely one of the good autistic traits (though applied to bad memories it can obviously work in a negative way too), I can remember everything about that day, the day I saw Django Unchained. It was a Saturday and a snow day. Unusual for the fact that I don’t like going to the cinema on Saturdays because there’s too many people there. Someone was meant to be joining us but couldn’t because of the weather. My normal reaction to a change like that would be to refuse to go out at all, rather than tolerate one change I would rather the whole thing not happen. But that’s not what happened.  I can remember being late to leave because I was making pictures of Sebastian who was my favourite German at the time. I remember being late and having to alter my plans, seeing Monsters Inc 3D first and Django later at 16:00. Another change dealt with and with a minimum of fuss. This Saturday also started the beginning of my book day tradition, the third Saturday in January, the cinema and books. That year I bought The Killing II, All That I Am and HHhH (it’s German for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich).

Django Unchained marked only the second time in my entire life that I had gone to see a film in a crowded theatre (the first was Ratatouille). And it was awesome. For once I wasn’t worried about feeling uncomfortable, it was actually kind of fun, seeing what the audience laughed at and what they didn’t, I never paid any attention to that before.

The day after seeing Django I watched Inglourious Basterds for the first time (which I had gotten just before Christmas but hadn’t watched) and regrettably The Three Musketeers. With the former, I fell in love with CW as the sadistic Nazi Hans Landa. I think the first twenty minutes or so is the best opening of any film ever. I guess the question is, why? His charming and precise Austrian accented English, his whole manner of being,  the way he reveled in being so delightfully evil. I can’t really remember much now, about why. Looking back it seems kind of baffling to me. I know why I liked the two films, Django and Inglourious and why I liked Landa and Schultz, but CW in general, I’m not really sure.

I think the main reason is that his speech and manner of speaking is perfectly suited to Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue. Or as I put it once, Christoph Waltz is to the word Jew in Inglourious Basterds what Samuel L. Jackson is to the n-word in Pulp Fiction.

The time of CW really began with the day I saw Django Unchained at the cinema twice. In my defence, the first time I saw it I was alone and it was either that or Movie 43 (know I now that’s the kind of film that you’d be better off sitting in darkness staring at the wall for two hours, really dodged a bullet with that one) and the second time I saw it was with a friend. All in all I saw Django at the cinema fourteen times (the wonders of having an unlimited card) and I also saw Epic which was released later in the year seven times.

I beat the Django record however with Rush, becuase they brought it back twice, once for take two Thursdays and again in January of this year for the Bafta tour, with that I brought my final total for Rush to seventeen. I also broke the rule I devised, that you can only see a CW film twice in one day at the cinema and I did it on CW’s birthday on the 4th October, I saw Rush twice. That was when his time came to end.

Back then I would write pages of arguments to refute the assertion that he always played the same character, that August in Water for Elephants was basically just another version of Landa and now I’m not so sure that I can do that. The more I watched and studied his films, the more I could see Landa everywhere. That was the beginning of the end. I think it may have been also because I ran out of stuff to buy. There was more I could have got, but it was in German with no English subtitles, at the time I spoke and understood no German. It’s ironic, he was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn German (Sebastian Koch was another) and now that I know some German and can watch TV and films in German and be able to follow what is going on, I no longer care about doing so. Funnily enough him and Sebastian were in a German TV production together, I think it was called “Dance with the Devil: The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker” – something close to that anyway.

I amassed a huge amount of collectibles: signed photos, magazines, clippings, posters and press-books. I also spent a ludicrous amount of money buying an action figure of Hans Landa from Australia. And followed that up by spending a slightly less ludicrous amount getting one of Dr King Schultz. Two other big purchases were the banners, both of them about six feet tall I think, of Landa and Schultz. To think, just the money spent on all those, that would have been enough for at least a week in Germany. Mind boggling, to paraphrase Sheldon “obsessions be crazy.”

A random but related thought, the person who found my TK obsession baffling because he was too normal, not as strange as my usual choices, they didn’t find my CW obsession odd. If they did, they didn’t say so. What does that say about me? A normal, more conventionally handsome kind of guy equals strange. A kind of quirky Austrian who specialises in weirdly alluring psychopaths, not strange. That will be an interesting conversation. At the same time I’ll be sure to find out where Jogi Löw comes in on this strangeness scale of theirs.

I suppose since I posted my favourite pictures of Daniel in Rush, it would only be fair to post what were my favourites of CW as well:

FireShot Screen Capture #1642 - 'Christoph Waltz Fans_ Click image to close this window' - www_christophwaltzfans_com_photos_displayimage_php_pid=5391&fullsize=1

CW in Inspector Rex

FireShot Screen Capture #1643 - 'Christoph Waltz Fans_ Click image to close this window' - www_christophwaltzfans_com_photos_displayimage_php_pid=5384&fullsize=1

CW in Inspector Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

FireShot Screen Capture #1638 - 'Pictures & Photos of Christoph Waltz - IMDb' - www_imdb_com_media_rm2562885888_nm0910607

SS Colonel Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds

 

Dr King Scultz

Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained

FireShot Screen Capture #1648 - 'Pictures & Photos of Christoph Waltz - IMDb' - www_imdb_com_media_rm3164320768_nm0910607

Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained

Charting obsessions – Daniel Brühl

I don’t consider Daniel to be one of my stand alone special interests, yet he gets a post devoted to him anyway for the simple fact that whilst the others inevitably fade into obscurity, he sticks around. I liked him from the very first time I saw him in Goodbye Lenin and then began to like him even more once I saw Inglourious Basterds. It wasn’t until September 2013 with the release of Rush that I really began to appreciate him. He quickly became my new favourite person and somewhat overtook my Christoph Waltz obsession. He then managed to survive and outlast my fascination with Gedeon Burkhard and the Austrian TV show Inspector Rex and Michael Fassbender that followed. Daniel cannot put a step wrong as far as I am concerned. He has the rare distinction that I have liked every film of his I have seen so far, even The Fifth Estate. There is a recent exception to this, but I don’t even count A Most Wanted Man on my list of Daniel films since I don’t think I’ll be adding that to my collection and him and most of the Germans in the film were just background characters. I don’t think you even get to hear his name in the film. In the interests of balance I have to admit that I haven’t seen Two Days in Paris yet, nor The Countess. I’m not particularly looking forward to seeing either of those, the former especially since I don’t like romantic type films.

Being half German and Spanish I wonder who he supports in terms of national football? I know he’s a big football fan, I don’t know if he has any interest in the Bundesliga, I think he’s a Barcelona fan. He has been in a German film about football, Der Große Traum which I haven’t seen yet, I really should bump that up my list, could there be a more perfect time to watch it? It would make a great double bill with Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen.

As I said above its Rush that made me really like him, he was just perfect as Niki Lauda, more perfect than I ever could have imagined. He looked and sounded exactly like him. It’s rare for an actor to achieve such perfection when playing a real person. I love the fact that he looks so much like Niki that you can confuse people with pictures as to which is Daniel and which is the real Niki. I remember showing someone a picture of Niki from his book and they thought it was Daniel.  Some of my favourite pictures from Rush:

Rush signed02Rush signed 01]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rush120vlcsnap-2013-10-25-21h57m15s32

 

 

 

 

 

vlcsnap-2013-10-25-21h59m24s69Rush brought out an old interest in Formula One, with Christoph Waltz it was Nazis and European history and the Cold War (he was meant to play Gorbachev in a film about the Reykjavik summit but it never got made) however with Daniel it was the history of Formula One and the intrigue and politics that went on behind the scenes with the rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren. I quickly lost interest in modern-day Formula one though, it’s not the same as it used to be. There’s no real characters amongst the drivers. To be fair, I don’t think anyone could be as interesting as Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and any others you care to name from previous years.

It’s curious to think, he has a connection with several of my special interests from the past few years. Football connects him to Joachim Löw and the fact that he was one of the prominent people in a magazine feature where they were asking Joachim Löw questions about the upcoming World Cup, he’s been in a film with TK, In Tranzit. He was in Inglourious Basterds, as are Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Gedeon Burkhard and Richard Sammel. He has a more tenuous connection to Sebastian Koch, they have both been in films about the DDR, Daniel being in Goodbye Lenin and Sebastian in Das Leben der Anderen and Der Tunnel.

One of things I like about him best is that it’s impossible to pick a favourite film of his, he’s been in so many good things. Unlike with CW, SK and TK, liking Daniel doesn’t involve sitting through a pile of truly terrible films just to see him for a few scenes.  I have several favourites amongst his films: Rush, Goodbye Lenin, Love in Thoughts, The Edukators, Inglourious Basterds, The Coming Days, The White Noise and No Regrets.

He’s also got some great stuff coming out, The Face of An Angel, Woman in Gold, Ich und Kaminski (which reunites him with Goodbye Lenin director Wolfgang Becker) and Colonia Dignidad.

Even though he wasn’t my predominant special interest at the time (technically CW was) not long after Rush came out, I began assembling the beginnings of a collection. The difference was that it was centered around one film, Rush whereas with CW I collected pretty much anything I could find. The highlights of my Daniel/Niki Lauda collection are without a doubt the banner for the film I got from Germany (not as big as the one I got of Hans Landa or Dr. King Schultz but still pretty cool) and the signed postcard of Niki Lauda. A great find was also two of Niki Lauda’s books, I think that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a book, but it was worth it.

The other difference is that I haven’t put any of that stuff away, once I stopped liking CW so much I started taking down all of my pictures and posters. Not because I needed the space but because I just didn’t want them around anymore. To contrast with Daniel, I only took down the Rush poster when I needed the space for a banner of Jogi und die Mannschaft. And I still have two of his posters up, Inglourious Basterds and Merry Christmas.

I think the reason for Daniel outlasting most of the other Germans is that because he wasn’t a main special interest, I couldn’t really get bored with him in the same way as the others. Because I wasn’t so fixated on him, the usual process could be avoided. I wouldn’t go through the usual steps of really liking him, making everything about him and then turning against him when I got sick of him. In that sense he’s probably the healthiest of all my recent special interests.