27 March 2006

Few Films, Few TV Shows and Receiving Radio Waves

Not too long ago I wrote how I was left impressed by Nick Broomfield documentary, The Leader, The Driver and Driver’s Wife. Film was done in 1991 and it is about Eugene Terre’blance, a white supremacist leader in South Africa and his followers. I also mentioned that Broomfield had gone back and last year a follow-up documentary, His Big White Self, was released. I just saw that film.

Firstly I must mention that I like Broomfield’s determined research style. People like Michael Moore definitely has learned a few tricks from him but unfortunately they cannot quite reach the level of Broomfield who is not trying to add any emotional sections in his work. He knows that he does not have to.

And the subject matter itself. A lot has change in South Africa since 1991 and the same time not that much in the mindset of certain groups. They may tolerate the previously unprivileged groups of society but quite frankly, and call me a cynic, they do not like them or feel that they were equal. It is quite sad. People still seem to think that they deserve a diploma for getting rid of the system that was inherently disgusting and when actually not getting rid of that for all those years, or having it at the first place, deserved them a big slap in the face.

In photograph different sides of urban South Africa

I also went to see the Tsotsi again. It still was a good film and to experience it, and those magnetic Kwaito beats in Birmingham, where people could not sing along to Mdlwembe (hard to believe isn’t it), was definitely something that I was after. Last time when I saw it I was the one in the audience who knew least about the subject and now… well I am confident that I was closer to the other end.

I suppose it is a sign of the times that the applications and demo tapes for the new presenter for T4 on Channel 4 can be send as a text message. My mobile phone does not have a video application which is just fine as this is not a job that I am after but the process definitely caused a lot of excitement in the media department of our university. Quite interesting in a way as the professional equipment would be readily available for free to all of us and two floors full of people who could technically help you to produce a decent show-reel but only when a mobile phone video clip is asked, everyone thinks that the job is accessible to us. The trouble, it appeared to me, was that much like the text messages and emails are written without much consideration for detail or style and with poor standard of language, many people did not put a lot of thought in the clip, that should be evidence of their skills to be in the national television. Press record, say something, send the clip and then wait for the stardom. That is what it is all about now.

The most interesting TV programme in the UK recently has been the Games. It is a kind of celebrity reality TV competition (I know it sounds awful but read on). This show is not about who can sit on their behinds in a luxury house, smoking cigarettes and trying to get along with freakish people for several weeks but it is about real sports and for once you can relate to the athletes because they have not spent whole of their lives practising but are quite clearly challenged by the events. I like the format and for once I even recognised some “celebrities” in British celebrity reality TV show. Good thing also is that this might just be the only sporting event in the television where athletes are not completely pumped up with doping and other illegal substances. At least not with the ones that would improve their performance.

Lastly, and I know this may make me look like a technical geek, which I may or may not be, but on the Eritrean hillside, there is a place which is supposedly the best in the world to both send and receive radio waves. I do not know much about the waves or how they work but apparently due to the altitude, the quietness of the surroundings, location near the equator which makes days almost as long around the whole year and areas electromagnetic uniqueness one can tune into the stations from as far as France, Germany and Saudi Arabia and Eritrean AM stations have been picked up in Australia, Brazil and even back home in Finland. Practically the biggest implication of this strange occurrence of nature has been the American spy centre, which ended up not only playing a part in the second world war, gathering information about German defence lines and helping out planning the Normandy landings, but unfortunately also in the power relations in the African horn region which contributed into a lot of misery in Eritrea and Somalia and although Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was part of these dealings, surely his country could have been better off in a long run without the “helping hand of the west” during the cold war.

Putting the history and politics aside, somehow I find the idea of listening to different stations from different places on a hillside very romantic. My good friend said that he is quite happy listening these radios from the internet but that is not the same thing. Maybe I am a pervert but I definitely know some other people who would most likely feel the same way. Sometimes the nature offers us such a treats. This place goes onto my long list of places to go, and although unfortunately I may not be able to go through that list on my lifetime, I shall see what I can do.

No comments: