The Minds

As I was finishing up my work yesterday afternoon, a get a last minute invite to join two of the most prolific minds in Amsterdam, who I originally met in the classroom two years ago, to go to the Filmmuseum. (located in lovely Vondelpark of course) They had a very specific movie they wished to watch, “The Five Obstructions” by Lars von Trier. Now when I lived in the states I had never heard of the man, but everywhere in Europe he’s known. Personally my impression is that he’s an enormously anti-social Dane who makes films as the weirdest ways he can possibly think of. One day I think he’ll just film a crumpled tin can as it sits on the side of the street. But don’t get me wrong, he’s fantastic. I go to his movies in hopes of learning something… or solving a puzzle, and 5 Obstructions was a really fun situation.

The movie is a documentary-drama about a sort of once famous, now washed up, Dannish director: Jorgen Leth. Leth directed “The Perfect Human” back in the 60’s, and in this film von Trier wants him to re-create it while dealing with special “obstructions.” What follows is hilarious, uncomfortable, eye-opening, and confusing. From the streets of Bombay where people are dumbfounded at what he’s doing, to the fanciness of Brussels where everything seems perfect, the movie will leave anyone with a smile. Especially when it comes time for Leth to read the open letter written by von Trier to himself which starts: “Dear stupid Lars…” Of course, the highlight for me is when Lars tells Jorgen that he must do a cartoon, because they both hate cartoons – the cartoon they create is amazing.

Dear Denmark,

Thanks for all the weird-but-cool movies, and all the good looking people, but there’s something more important I need to tell you. The North Pole belongs to the world. Tell Science Minister Helge Sander to get his head out of his ass please.

Love, Bicyclemark

PS. We love the Legos.

Lilia gave me a shout on her blog for the review & comments I did for her paper on Weblogs for personal knowledge management. She had appealed on her blog for help from native-talky talkers, which of course I am. I must say it was really fun to help someone I only know via a blog which I’ve been reading for a few months now. For a long time, I’d been hoping/wondering if the academic blogging community would ever notice me, like that short, unpopular kid on the playground. As it turns out, they’re quite welcoming. Maybe I’ll be sitting at the cool-table at lunch from now on. The more important lesson is that if you have a blog and you need help with something, like getting an IPod for example, you’ve got a whole community of readers out there, who might be happy at the chance to help out. I know I always am.

Today’s Music: Fernando Lameirinhas – O Destino (He’s Portuguese and he lives in Amsterdam!)