Archive for December 12, 2015

Forbrydelsen

Posted in Television with tags , , , , on December 12, 2015 by telescoper

Over the past week or so I’ve been watching the original TV series The Killing (in Danish with English subtitles). This was actually first broadcast in Denmark in 2007 but apparently achieved a bit of a cult following in the United Kingdom in 2011 when it was shown on BBC4. That was round about the time that I basically gave up watching television so I missed it then. However, I saw the DVD box set at a drastically reduced price a few weeks ago and decided to buy it. I’m very glad I did.

Forbrydelsen,_DVD

I’ve been to Copenhagen many times in my life but this is the first time I’ve seen some familiar locations on the small screen, which added a personal dimension for me, but my main reason for doing a blog about it is just to salute it for being exceptionally good.  The Killing (in Danish Forbrydelsen: “The Crime”) is often quoted as an example of Nordic or Scandinavian Noir but that term is generally reserved for crime fiction novels rather than movies or television programmes.  The Killing definitely retains some elements in common with classic  Film Noir – a strong central female character and low-key visual style to name but two – but I’m not sure I would categorize it as “noir“. On the other hand some classic examples of film noir don’t display many of the characteristics associated with the genre either. Categories don’t really matter that much anyway, even when they are easily defined which is not the case with Noir.

The plot of The Killing revolves around the police investigation into a terrible crime: the brutal rape and murder of a young woman, Nanna Birk Larsen, who disappears after a Halloween party. Each of the twenty 50-minute long episodes depicts one day; the series has to be that long to accommodate all the twists, red herrings and false dawns, but it never loses pace or tension. That everything happens in a Nordic November means short days of grey skies and long wintry nights, establishing an appropriatelt sombre visual mood.

The complexity of the plot and the Copenhagen setting are not the most compelling things about this as a piece of TV drama, however. What stood out for me was the excellence of the acting not only from Sofie Gråbøl as lead investigator Sarah Lund but from the entire cast. The effect on the Birk Larsen family of the loss of their daughter in such cruel circumstances is portrayed most movingly, especially by Bjarne Henriksen as the father, Theis Birk Larsen.

I am so late writing about this that I don’t suppose I would spoil it for too many people if I revealed who did it, but I’ll refrain from doing it. What I will say, however, is that I was pretty confident that I knew who the perpetrator was right from Episode 1 and I proved to be right. That doesn’t mean that I’d make a great detective, just that I’ve had enough experience of detective stories to know some of the tricks writers use to throw the reader (or viewer) off the scent.

If you haven’t seen The Killing, I thoroughly recommend it. I gather there’s a second series too. I must watch that sometime…

 

The student left’s broken moral compass

Posted in Politics on December 12, 2015 by telescoper

I’m taking the liberty of reblogging this post about the dire state of student politics – and of the far left generally. The problems described within the post are not confined to Goldsmiths College, nor indeed to Islamists, but I’d encourage you to watch the video here, which shows the disruption of the talk referred to in this post and which gives you an idea of the contempt some people have for the idea of free speech. Goldsmiths Student Union have asked for the video to be taken down. I hope it stays.

tomowolade

To anyone sufficiently familiar with the politics of the contemporary student left, attempts to censor speakers for the alleged crime of bigotry should not come as a surprise. Neither should the endorsement of Islamists and their list of grievances. Nevertheless, the endorsement by young progressives of a society that promotes regressive speakers in the service of suppressing the voice of a feminist ex-Muslim still has the capacity to shock. It is especially shocking because the groups who have endorsed these attempts to bully a progressive ex-Muslim are the feminist society and the LGBTQ society.

On Monday, November 30th, Maryam Namazie, a plain-spoken critic of Islamism and tireless advocate for ex-Muslims, gave a speech organised by the Goldsmiths Athiest, Secularist and Humanist society. Earlier that day, the Islamic society at Goldsmiths University objected to her right to give the speech, citing that her alleged Islamophobia is in violation of the safe…

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