Tag Archives: Films

The End of the Night/Home with Hansi

There it is, all over and done with, my social time for the month. All five hours of it. With that done and the international break over now it’s time for some sort of normality to resume. It’s back to the Bundesliga tomorrow night with Dortmund playing Mainz, Thomas Tuchel revisiting his former club. I hope it’ll be as entertaining as it was last year, though I hope Roman is not the one who makes it so. It was during the Mainz game last year that Dortmund conceded a very early goal, thanks to what can only be described as a comedy of errors on the part of Roman Weidenfeller and his defenders. Though of course he’s not the Roman in goal tomorrow night, that will be Roman Bürki and after the disaster at Bayern and how badly he played, I want everything to go perfect for him tomorrow night. He may not be a Freiburg player anymore, but I still want things to go well for him.  Freiburg don’t play until Sunday, they play host to Greuther Fürth. It is the month of Sunday’s for Freiburg, they play on that day for four weeks in a row. A fact I am most displeased about. I know I should be grateful that I get to see them play at all, which I am. It’s just the prospect of four early morning starts on a Sunday in a row is not at all appealing.

I did not of course come home with Hansi, or come home to be greeted by him, it’s the title of my next Jogi adventure which I came up with on the walk home. Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the evening (which I did) it would have been worth going out just to walk home in the dark and get that chance to think. I always come up with good ideas at night, all the more so on late night walks like that. I guess I’m not so much a creature of the night as a writer of the night.

I’m actually glad that because of the late hour there was in fact no-one to greet me upon my return. For as much as I enjoyed the evening, I’m glad it’s over and done with. That’s usually how I feel after any social time. This particular occasion has a bonus however, something which makes it extra special and that is being allowed to share my Jogi videos, and being allowed to talk about him and the team for an hour straight. Not only that but getting them to indulge in the wonderfulness that is the Löw highlights and getting to share the most sweetest video of all, the one that may just be one of the best ever additions to my collection. I think maybe some NTs aren’t as “normal” as they claim to be. For after a few Jogi videos not only do they share your excitement but they too are wanting to watch certain scenes over and over again. This is the video in question, the all so special one:

More important than that I finally got the opportunity to hear their thoughts on some of the stuff I’ve been writing lately. An interesting question they asked was whether or not learning German has had any effect on my understanding and use of grammar. I know this is a problem area for me. I can only think perhaps there has been some improvement in regards to the matter, hence their question. One important insight they did offer was that my writing is a lot more concise and less rambling which is a very big problem for me but one that’s getting better it seems. Perhaps not on here so much but then I don’t worry about it so much here. I don’t mind if my blog is a little random and rambling in places. I think it should be. After all a blog should reflect the person writing it, should it not?

To get back to the topic of my stories, there was one chapter in particular I wanted them to read, the chapter in question contains a character who does not feature in any other story, thus I’m not particularly acquainted with him. As a result writing dialogue for him, understanding how he thinks and his motivations was something of a challenge. Despite those difficulties I seem to have pulled it off, they had no criticisms to make of his character.

The most important part of the process is the fact that the story in question provoked an emoti0nal response from them. From what they said (that it was too sad to read anymore and they had to stop now) and the expression on their face I gather it was about to make them cry. How strange it is, I almost made someone cry with my words and for once it’s a good thing.

The film we saw was Sicario and apart from the brief entertainment of attempting to remember who Silvio was and where we’d seen him before it didn’t really register. In fact the final shot of the film sums it up for me. It ends with Silvio’s son at a football match, the kids are playing, he’s bearing down on goal when all of a sudden they stop. Gunfire is heard in the background and everyone there freezes. The gunfire is not near enough to put any of them in imminent danger but still they freeze. After a few seconds, the game resumes. Life goes on, the gunfire is just normal background noise. I guess that’s the message of the film, it’s their statement about the war on drugs. That as long as the violence is in someone else’s backyard, as long as it’s not their kids being killed, people won’t care. My point was, that’s what the film felt like, just background noise. Nothing particularly special bar the exception of a few stunning shots of the night-time desert sky. But it was no doubt a better option than seeing The Martian.

The film and indeed the whole evening has been a most welcome distraction. But now that I’m back home and am no longer hyped up from the sugar in the popcorn my mind is starting to return to the same obsessive loop I found myself in last night. Same topic, same problem, the all so troublesome question. I find myself unable to stop going over what I think I should say in response and working out any possible reactions and responses to that. I can’t let it go. Question is, if I do decide to act will that stop all of this? Or in doing so will I give myself something new to obsess over?

I’m more than likely overthinking all of this. Overthinking can be dangerous, especially so when you have a limited understanding of the subject in question. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to be blunt with people. To preempt all of this, instead of waiting for the inevitable awkwardness to occur, perhaps I should just tell people straight. Though I suspect that would bring up a new set of problems, working out how to word such a thing. I suppose asking someone I trust to assist with that may be a useful idea to consider.

So as not to end on such a negative note, there is one positive about tonight. I’m not obsessing over any of the night’s events. Not what we talked about, how much I talked about Jogi and Hansi, if I made any social errors. None of it and that is a very good thing indeed. Nor am I questioning any of the comments they made about what they read. I have a tendency to do that, to wonder if someone is really telling me truth. Wondering if perhaps they think it’s not so good but they don’t want to tell me. It is wrong on my part in thinking that way, it’s as if I don’t trust the person in question.

It’s not as if I’ve suddenly woken up one day and realised how absurd all of my anxieties and fears are. It’s because of a very honest and frank conversation we had about lying. To be more precise lying and how it relates to autism. A friend of theirs told a story about an acquaintance and they wanted to know my thoughts on it. At first I found it curious that they didn’t ask me whether or not I was capable of lying. A few minutes into the conversation the reason for this was made clear. They didn’t ask because it turns out they are well aware that’s it’s close to impossible for me to lie. Not just in my words but in every other way too. Apparently I can’t hide how bored I am when someone talks about a topic I have no interest in, even if I care about the person in question.

The reason I found this so helpful is that I got part of answer to something which has been worrying me for a while. That I’m not a good enough friend, that I talk too much about my special interests and don’t listen enough in return. I have a basic understanding of how social interaction should work. I’ve read about it online, studied such things from TV and films and have read social skills programmes designed to assist autistic people with learning about such things. But all of it is theory. I have a real problem putting what I know into practice. I think maybe because I don’t really understand it all, it just doesn’t come naturally to me at all. Which is probably the reason for the several failures in my attempts to be “friendly.” I probably don’t have a friendly mode, I don’t come across well to other people, not initially. I’m most likely too strange and too intense. I can’t help it, I don’t how to be something other than what I really am.

My point is getting away from me now. What I meant to get at is they know I can’t pretend to be interested in things I have no interest in. They know I talk too much at times. They know how obsessively focused I can be. They are ok with all of this. It’s not a problem. If it was they wouldn’t be spending time with me. They certainly don’t have to, they are under no obligation to do so and they have plenty of other friends and opportunities for social interaction. I can trust them to tell me the truth. For now at least this knowledge is enough to prevent me from obsessing over the things I usually would right now.

The Unknown Trikot/The Hour of the Lynx

I hate the unknown, not knowing what’s coming next, what’s going to happen, what someone’s going to say or do. Which is what makes it so strange that I’m willingly stepping into the unknown courtesy of the DFB’s latest marketing strategy. That is pre-ordering the new shirt even though I have no idea what it looks like. That’s the point, no-one does.

The unknown however much I hate it is a necessary evil. You can’t always know what’s coming next, a certain amount of predictability can be maintained but that’s all. Every time you watch a match, talk to someone, write a story. It all involves not knowing what’s going to happen, in most cases that’s the point. But when it comes to other people I really wish I could eliminate this problem. Or if not eliminate it completely then at least reduce it to a manageable level.

I just don’t see how that’s going to happen, telling myself that I’m being ridiculous and that I’m worrying about nothing doesn’t work. Because the simple truth is, I don’t know if I am being ridiculous. There is a chance I said or did the wrong thing. I don’t know what the right thing to do is, what’s best. Keep it to myself and I worry more, share it with the person in question and I’ll probably just make them be as frustrated with me as I already am. It must be annoying and get wearing for them, having someone ask them the same questions over and over again. They know I’m not being deliberately difficult but at some point that’s not going to be enough. Soon enough they’ll get sick of it, I know I did long ago. It just doesn’t feel like an attainable achievement, to get a point where I can interact with other people and not be an anxious obsessive ridden wreck about it.

Obsessively scripting the same conversation over and over again in my head clearly isn’t a good thing to be doing. The two logical choices are to let go of it and do nothing. Or to do something, to be blunt, be a little brave and maybe a little stupid and get it over with. Since neither of them seem like the right option then surely it doesn’t really matter what I do ?

Whilst I am still frustrated about all of this at least I’m thinking a little more clearly and am not thinking about such stupid things as I was a few days ago. The scary thing about it isn’t how quickly my thoughts turned to such things or to how quickly I came up with such plans. No, what’s scary is that it all seemed so very reasonable. It was incredibly difficult to refute the logic of it. Normally logic is preferable to the chaotic mess that is feelings, but on this occasion logic was just as troublesome.

I wonder if things may have gone a little differently had I not watched that film The Hour of the Lynx. I think having done so was a big mistake, at any time I think it would have been a mistake. But obviously I didn’t know it was going to end that way. Nor could I have predicted what kind of message I would take from the film. Though I’m struggling to work out what other kind of message you can take from it. Is there another interpretation? Because all I can see is that some people never had a chance. That there’s nothing to be done about it, it’s all too late. There’s nothing to be done except to allow them to die. Or at the least to retreat into themselves so completely that they’re totally cut off from the world outside. Because for some people it’s the only place they can ever be happy. The hour of the lynx is that hour outside of time, outside of the real world, the time when you are happiest. The time you live for and will do anything to get back. But how to get it back when it never existed to begin with?

His mother didn’t love him, his grandfather was taken from him and so was the cat he loved. Everything he ever loved or cared about was taken from him by other people, by people who interfered, who either thought they knew best or like the psychologist were using him for their own ends. The guard cared for him, he really did. Despite his harsh words to the priest about the inmates he obviously didn’t believe everything he said. If he did believe such things he wouldn’t have been so kind to the boy, how gentle he was with him, playing football with him. It was obvious he cared for him. But it was too little too late. Maybe it always is in cases like this. Because the system doesn’t see them as people, not as individuals but as problems to be solved. It’s all so complicated. Lawyers, judges, advocates, psychiatrists, guards and all the rest of them. All those people involved but almost none of them are really looking out for him. They never were. When he harms someone else they lock him up to protect society, which is fair enough. But who was there to protect him? Where were they when he needed someone to help him?

Four favourite films – 2014

My four favourite films that I’ve seen at the cinema in 2014, usually it’s a top five but here its four, in honour of Germany’s fourth star:

1. In Order of Disappearance – I was resigned to waiting for the DVD to see this, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it was at the cinema, albeit only for six days which was a shame, since I would have liked to see it again.  A dark Norwegian revenge thriller with a little something extra beneath the surface and Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz are in it, plus a few moments of that deliciously dark Scandinivian humour, what more could you want? I don’t want to repeat myself, not when I’m not sure that I can sum it up any better than what I wrote not long after seeing the film: https://kretschmannland.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/in-order-of-disappearance/

2. What We Do in the Shadows – I just saw this yesterday, it’s about a group of vampires who have a film crew following them around in order to make a documentary about them. It was a riot, very funny, lots of good vampire jokes. One of them wanting to go to a party dressed as Blade for example. All kinds of funny situations that you just never would have thought of, like a 3000 year old vampire called Peter having his teeth brushed for him by one of the younger vampires. Or a vampire who refuses to do his share of the dishes and leaves blood encrusted dishes around the place. Of course my favourite moment was the scene in German, and the pedant in me enjoying correcting the slight but important (at least to me) translation error. I liked that the film starts out as if it’s a real documentary and the format is maintained throughout the film, including towards the end when the cameraman is attacked by a werewolf and we see him being torn to shreds through the lens of his own camera. The fact that it feels like a real documentary just adds to the humour. As for why it makes my list, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, it’s weird and different and made me laugh a lot, which not a lot of films that are meant to be funny do.

3. Frank – Frank is another weird one. A bit too strange for some people I think, definitely not something that appeals to everyone’s tastes. I’m not a big fan of Michael Fassbender, I think he’s a little overrated, but he was brilliant in this. My favourite scene was him and Dom talking when he comes up with the idea of saying his facial expressions out loud, that was genius. I can’t really explain how or why it worked, I’ve seen the film three times (twice at the cinema) and each time it has defied any real explanation. There’s just something about the band and how their for lack of better word “craziness” feeds off of each other. I enjoyed seeing Dom put in his place at the end, after his earlier musings about why he couldn’t have anything dark in his past, when he asked Frank’s parents about what caused his illness. It’s good for something to dispel the myth that mental illness equals genius, or to be more precise that they are related in some way, that such an illness always comes with such a talent or a gift. Besides isn’t it kind of offensive, like implying that their talent is because of their illness, not something that they are good at and worked at?

Random tangent, one of the things that amused me greatly at the time (because of what I called the Kretschmann Connection) was that when Dom is getting tweets about where Frank might be, he gets one from a call girl agency located on the Volga. This amused me because the Volga is a river in eastern Russia which flows into Stalingrad, the Kretschmann Connection needing no further explanation there.

4. I couldn’t decide about my fourth favourite, at first I put The Rover here, then I changed it to Rush. I know it’s cheating a little since Rush was not released in 2014, but I did see at the cinema this year as part of the Bafta tour. I still think The Rover is an excellent film (as is Animal Kingdom) it’s just that Rush is special, even if I am still disappointed in Daniel Brühl. Rush is  just perfection, it doesn’t get anything wrong. It’s top class in every aspect. The acting is first rate, Daniel is just as perfect as anyone could ever be in any film ever. Chris Hemsworth is equally as terrific as James Hunt. Also great is Pierfrancesco Favino as Clay Regazzoni, he manages to hold your attention which is quite something given that most of his scenes are with Daniel. One of the first things I thought after the film was, why have I never heard of this guy. I just looked him up and it turns out I had seen him in two films, World War Z and Angels and Demons. In the first he was  W.H.O doctor, there quite a few of those, so impossible to remember him. I don’t even remember seeing Peter Capaldi. Though funnily enough I remember the German one, Moritz Bleibtreu. As for Angels and Demons, I will never submit myself to that borefest again. I only did the first time because Stellan Skarsgard, Nikolj Lie-Kaas and Thure Lindhart were in it.

Anyway, back to Rush, the film itself is a bit like Niki Lauda, to the point with not a wasted word. There were some areas that could have been covered a little better, their marriages for example, neither Marlene nor Suzy were well used and their characters were a little underdeveloped. But personally I don’t mind that so much, the film was about Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry and racing, and a film can’t always cover everything that happens. Anyway to cover all of the intrigues that surrounded the two of them, would take a whole mini-series.  I will concede that it’s a shame that Alexandra Maria Lara didn’t get more to do.

Forget about Daniel winning the Oscar for best supporting actor (which he should have done) the people responsible for the makeup should have won one for their work. Before the accident, their work was great, afterwards it was incredible.

I think the best thing about Rush is that in all the excitement and drama of the track there is room for the little moments, Niki and Marlene’s exchanged glances as he gets out of the car and decides to stop to name one. There are plenty more but I haven’t seen it in a while, that moments there sticks in my mind, I really liked that and think about it often. And little details, like James Hunt going around with no shoes on. The film somehow manages to find a way to please diehard F1 fans and people who have no clue or interest in the sport at the same time. On that count it did it’s job a little too well, with some people pointing out that it makes F1 look more exciting and action packed than it actually is.

Other than being a truly terrific film, the reason Rush is on my list is that I really liked Niki Lauda. I knew who he was before the film but I knew nothing of what a character he was back then and how interesting he is. I loved his blunt “I don’t care what you think” style. I loved him in the car with Regazzoni and the scene where Marlene and him break down and he ends up driving an Italian’s car way too fast. My absolute favourite is when he drives a Ferrari for the first time, that scene is just genius.

If the list had been five and not four, either The Rover or The Unbeatables would have been fifth.