Friday, 22 April 2011

Even Less to See

There's even less to see now. Knittingwise, I seem to be moving backwards in time. I've ripped the denim cardi.

 And you remember I had to rip back part of the Swallowtail Shawl? You may have wondered if I put in a lifeline when I did that. Did I? Well, no, I didn't, and I've just had to rip it back again.

 I knew I wasn't particularly well last week, but I hadn't realized that I had lost the ability to count to three quite so spectacularly. The second row of the pattern was a bit tricky, amd the third was impossible. I'm still managing to look forward to how this is going to look when it's finished  but it's taking all my resources of stamina and perseverance. Have I ever shown you my school badge?

Also, I was born on a Thursday, so I have far to go. It seems that I still do, at least with this blessed shawl.

So, now, we shall talk of other things, of ospreys and of films that I have watched while I have been pointlessly purling.

The ospreys are back at Loch Garten. EJ, the female, came back first, and then Odin showed up some days later.That link is to the webcam: the link doesn't work for me but I think it's something to do with my settings for Windows Media Player, which I have set up so that I can stream stuff through the dongle on my blu-ray player. . . having got that set up, I am reluctant to tamper with it, as you can imagine. They can also be seen on YouTube. Here she is getting rid of the grass that has grown on the nest during the winter.

Remember, she's bigger than she looks here: she has a six-foot wingspan and the nest is wider than that. Since then she has laid her first egg of the year, and another, and another.

I saw The Illusionist last week, the animated film by Sylvain Chomet, from a screenplay by Jacques Tati which was originally set in Prague but is now set in Edinburgh. It has been described as a love letter to Scotland, and it is. 

Not only has he got the 'fifties setting right, he hasn't prettified it which can be difficult to avoid, especially with Edinburgh. He has captured the city's sootiness, as well as her beauty.

I liked his Belleville Rendez-Vous very much, (which seems to have been re-named The Belleville Triplets...) but haven't felt any impulse to watch it again. I'm sure I will watch this again lots, although that may be because of the familiarity of the setting. Well worth catching, even if you you're not a Scot. Like Belleville, it has little dialogue and what there is is more background noise than text, which adds to the dreamlike quality.

I also watched The Ghost (aka The Ghost Writer, it's all very confusing), in which not a lot happens but it's all beautifully photographed. It starts well but I felt that it fizzled out into a predictable hash of the CIA and other baddies. I never quite felt that Ewan McGregor's character (the writer) would have got such an important contract, and Pierce Brosnan was far too cool to be any British politician that ever lived - they're not a glamourous lot. But the setting, in the wild wastes of coastal Massachusetts is stunning, and there's always lots of nice clothes and furniture - not what one usually looks for in a Polanski movie but it gives you something to look at while everyone's walking about. It's from a novel by Robert Harris and I find that while he has original ideas, he doesn't write very three-dimensional human beings: the films based on them tend to have the same qualities, which is fine but makes it difficult to care about the characters.

What I have been totally glued to however is the American tv series, Justified. The first series was shown here on FX and is available on DVD, and the second series is just starting on Five USA on Wednesday nghts at ten o'clock. It's based on stories by Elmore Leonard, who writes the best dialogue ever. It is set in rural Kentucky - where UK stands for the University of Kentucky - and the storyline follows a Deputy U.S. Marshal from the area who has been sent back home against his will after one too many 'justified' shootings. The acting is exceptional, and the faces - there are so many people in it who don't look like actors, but look like people who haven't had many square meals or much medical attention - and although the young women are pretty and well kempt, the older ones are downright frightening. A check of IMDB demonstrates that they are indeed all actors, just ones who valued acting lessons above trips to the surgeon and the waxer.

Timothy Olyphant and Walt Goggins (no, really) in character,

and looking like themselves. You can tell because they don't look as if they're thinking about whether they might have to kill each other.

It can be quite violent, and there have been a couple of times when I have watched it through my fingers or with the sound turned off, but the writing and the acting make it all worthwhile. Graham Linehan, co-writer of Father Ted, said on Twitter that watching it 'is like eating really good pie', and he's right.

Have a Happy Easter and if you're knitting, I hope you don't have to rip anything back.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the viewing tips - I hadn't realized that The Illusionist was set in Edinburgh, and I hadn't even heard of Justified. So two to rent there.

I'd review The Ghost much as you did. Did you know that most of it was shot in Europe, though? Including the beach house, which was actually a purpose-built set somewhere on the North Sea. (This explains why the gatepost guards never said anything - they were German extras). DVD special features have taught me a lot about movie-making.
-- Gretchen

Mette said...

What a inspiring school badge, all those books drifting in the water. I had to look up the word Perservere in the dictionary and what a lovely word- that is exactly what knitting is about. Sad to hear about your cardigan,though. Hopefully you will find another pattern for that great yarn.

GrannyPurple said...

We just saw The Illusionist yesterday, and just loved it, and that half-century-ago perspective on Edinburgh (I noted the lack of jacket potato shops!) I look forward to acquiring the video when it comes available--we'll have such fun pausing when we want to look longer. Did you think that Alice's young man looks like Sean Connery in the 50's?

Knitting Linguist said...

Ripping is frustrating - I'm sorry. I've had weeks like that, where it seems like all I can do is knit in reverse. I hope the trend changes soon!

We'll have to check out that animated film - I quite liked Belleville myself, so that's a good recommendation. Just saw The King's Speech last night (I know, behind the times) and absolutely loved it. It's nice to find a good movie once in a while.

Raveller said...

Funny to imagine you watching through your fingers.