Saturday, February 18, 2012

The 'Working Man' Norse Hero? Garrow's Law and a documentary asking 'What is a good neighbor?'

When Linda showed me the cover of ‘Troll Hunter’, all I could think was ‘Oh great, another horror film with leprechaun’s or dolls or something else crap.’ When she told me it had a 7.1 rating out of 10 on IMDB, I took it but with raised brow.

I didn’t know when I watched that this film had no plans to be seen beyond Norway. Andre Ovredal (writer/director) “I made the film for a Norwegian audience, but I hoped and thought that it should perform outside the country as well. We were talking about them maybe putting it out in Germany because we knew they liked trolls down there.”

I didn’t know that because of this film, Variety listed him as ‘top Directors of 2011’. I just watched. Okay, a sort of documentary, decided to watch for another ten or fifteen minutes. It seemed to be a film about bear poaching. But, as I know it is about Troll Hunter, I’ll hang around.

Needless to say, I did. From the hypocrisy of ‘animal conservation’ policies which include giving hunting permits to the unthinking obedience of national workers putting in time, this film mocks several things, using what to a Norse audience would be the common ideas of trolls. Taken out of the garden pots and figurines, there is a biological system and fueled by the ‘Is this guy insane, who cares it is great film!’ enthusiasm of the local college youth doing the documentary, it advances with the poor field worker as hero.

Ovredal wanted to show the hero of the guy to whom this is just another day at work. And there is one moment where he is filling out his ‘post-troll’ incident report with a chewed on pen in a folder that is so bent and worn that yes, of course something life-threatening has happened, but now we have to go and fill out the constant paperwork. Our ‘Troll Hunter’ contents with the official government bureaucrat who, like all, never ‘get’ how field work is different than their maps and pin points, along with mess ups like how his support workers are now low bid EU workers. It is his both blasé attitude at being trapped in a cave with sleeping and farting Troll Kings (he naps), to the mild excitement of having someone to finally talk to in his 1970’s caravan and his EXTREMELY beat up four wheeler. That mixed with his ‘oh, I hate this part’ as he is in some sort of home made armor in order to extract blood from a 40 foot tall angry Troll, to ‘Watch out, you don’t want to hit the red button.’ Or his ‘yes, that’s a land mine, but it’s not active now’ (one of the students is sitting on it), makes it a mixture of droll humor to the kind of filming Mutual of Omaha would do by having his black guide see if he could go and get something from the crocodile/tiger/lion/etc.

The director got an invite to Austin, then showed it at Sundance, won and like night follows day, there is already an American Remake being done. “I hope they keep the Trolls” Ovredal laments. Though it only had $3 million budget, film must NOT be that expensive as they shot over 50 hours, and the first ‘finished’ film was completely different, but he changed the scenes, the shots, the narrative and we have the film Troll Hunter. He wanted people to know he didn’t watch Blair Witch until AFTER he finished the film, “If you run through a forest with a camera, people are going to think of The Blair Witch Project, no matter what you do, but that’s fine.” Unknown until I looked up, the main lead, the ‘Hunter’ is actually a very famous Norwegian Comedian, but he looks like a tired Bruce Willis to those not ‘in the know’.

In film that are coming up which I may want to attend, I can’t tell if I like ‘Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ trailer (click Here) or just that Tim Burton has reemerged, and with the director of the hit Russian vampire war films Daywatch and Nightwatch to direct this film. Also, with an idea I wish I had written is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (trailer HERE), about what if the USA DOESN’T save us from the giant meteor? Also Ridley Scott has returned to science fiction (huzzah!) and here is the UK promo for his new film Prometheus (click on x on the ad to get rid of ad).

Before I finish by reviewing the Award winning Documentary Budrus, I wanted to let those who are friends and fans of Garrow’s Law know that Series 3 is out, and you can simply order it from (or get mine when I sell it tomorrow on ebay!). The budget for clothes and sets continues to increase, as well as a delightful view of Garrow toiling away on 10 or more cases a day (all taken from actual cases). The series ends with Garrow meeting Mr. Fox, the famous parliament opposition member, and some resolution on his relationship with Lady Sarah. For those who have researched Garrow (as I did after watching the first episode, but then, I research EVERYTHING I watch, read or do) you know that he did, in real life marry her, and went to parliament himself. With extreme sadness I found, from the researcher and part writer of the series, that Garrow’s law is cancelled. The site is well worth visiting as he recounts the research he did, like finding tracts and the background story in order to flesh out the defendants, as well as real transcribed arguments Garrow would have with the Judge and other interactions.

I am saddened that while BBC is putting on 20 more series this year, Garrow will not be one of them. The DVD’s allow me the only chance to see Garrow’s law and improve my language skills, as well as my ethical outlook. But the knowledge that even had it continued, my being alive to see it would not be likely. I can only count my life in weeks now, whether ten or three, and when it all depends on the percentage of efficency of the heart, I think I may have run out of magic tricks. But Garrow’s Law series 3 is definitely a top watch.

Budus is the name of the Documentary. Budrus is a village of 1500, one of six villages which the border security in Israel acknowledge will lose out as they are completely enclosed, with Budrus alone losing 3,000 olive trees, 300 acres of farm land, and where the wall will go right through the cemetery. Ayed is a civil servant in Palistine, the West Bank, one who has been arrested five times, the first for being a starting member of Fatah, the group wanting a Palestinian nation. They used to clean the cemetery, clean the streets, and help at the harvest, not just out of ‘good will’ Ayed recalls, but to bring up the idea of a Nation of Palestinians.

But we see first from Doron Spielman, Army Captain and spokesperson for Isreali Fence Building. He says the Fence is a solution for security of Isreali civilians and a high quality of life for Palestinians. “The solution to the loss of civilian lives, that trumps everything.”

Ayed’s house looks over the olive groves but also on the lights of the cities of Israel; he lives in a village where his own 15 year old daughter, studying to be a doctor, has never met a Jew or Israeli who is not a Border Guard or Prison Guard. But Ayed agrees, : It is a natural right of all countries to protect the lives of it’s citizens, and I believe Isreal has that right.” He continues, ““However, Israel is trying to build the fence on its neighbor’s land instead of it’s own borders.”

Captain Doron Speilman makes the Fence policy clear, “The Fence in places does go onto Palestinian property, Budrus is one such place. This is a thing that is extremely unfortunate to the lives of the Palestinian people. However, it is LESS unfortunate than the death of a single Israeli Civilian."

A problem when there are two groups and for most in both groups they believe that the other wants to do ill to them. This is where a documentary can show both sides and help, maybe in retrospect, as a mirror to actions taken. Is the official military policy of Israel so blunt that tens of thousands of acres, thousands of people are worth less than ONE Israeli civilian?

Ayed, who is friends with the local Hamas leader organized a local peaceful protest which included all three groups, Fatah; Hamas; and Palestine Front. For the first day or two it seemed to work, but then more Border Police were sent.

Yasmine Levy narrates what occurred during her time there. She joined the Border Police because they were more aggressive, doing active combat duty regularly. And with the increased guards, the contractors soon started ripping out the olive trees. Though as one 80 year old female grower in Budrus said, “’Olive Oil is the foundation of the House” I’ve heard this saying since I was a child””

Meanwhile, Ayed’s daughter had noticed that there were no women and asked if the women and girls could come. He said yes, and after that, there wasn’t a day without the females.

To Yasmine, having females was in a military view, is just a way to stop them from shooting, and leaving the Border Police exposed. So they attacked. But as the daughter said, if the men or boys push the soldiers, they get shot or stopped, but she thought the women could do it.

So be it beatings or trying to be run over by military vehicles, the girls and women just pushed back.

So the Border Police started directing tear gas at the women, even if they weren’t nearby, to force them back. You can see the smoke of the canister which has just dropped, the spiral going down into the crowd of women. But only Palestinian women.

Ayed had the prime minister of Palestine visit but he only wanted to meet ‘important men’ not the villagers. So he went to Israeli’s who were against the wall and invited them to join. And they came! This was the first time both Israeli's and Palestinians protested together. The Israeli's kept showing up day after day. This was a problem to the Border Police. As Yasmine said, they can't shoot at Jews. If you are building a fence to protect Israeli citizens then shooting protesting Israeli citizen’s defeats that. The Israeli’s kept asking, if the Border Police said it was a ‘Military Zone’ that they put it in writing, as the law required. The Police refused.

But how to get rid of the Israeli's and keep building the Fence?

Things ended up getting very heated, until on TV, the Minister for Defence said that ANY Israeli protesting in Budrus should be tried as a traitor. And so the Border Police did just that. Ka-BOOM! It is quite different when YOUR rights are suddenly gone and your children, your friends are unable to have freedom to speak, to travel, to protest. Suddenly more want to protest!

Now there were more Israeli’s looking at the situation but delegations from all over the world were joining the peaceful protest (and getting tear gassed, and beaten for showing up). Yasmine said, “We were told to clear them, and so we acted like robots.”

Suddenly the Border police in Budrus were not fighting about olive trees, but against Israeli’s and the right to have a protest. This is how the British were pushed out, and how passive resistance works.

In comes Captain Speilman, “Ultimately speaking, a non-violent protest is NOT going to stop the way of the Fence. Not going to happen; because Israeli men, women and children need to go to sleep at night.”
This, by the way, is NOT he way to speak when on camera. The Border Police became extremely aggressive, and shown using live ammunition, with firefights going on to push back protestors with no weapons. taking over the village of Budrus, setting up barricades at each end. They they started then sending troops into houses individually, occupying and harassing the occupants, shouting at them at ‘Why don’t you show Israeli’s more respect!”

This is about the Fence? About Olive Trees? The delegation from South Africa didn’t think so. And the question of ‘Is this the way a ‘good neighbor’ acts?’ was what bothered people. After the Israeli military took over the village, the protests continued, for months. If you want to find out whether passive resistance can win against the Israeli army, you’ll need to rent or borrow this DVD from your library.

Ayed’s daughter now has Israeli friends.


Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Great reviews and commentary!

You can always make us think and wonder, Beth.

Hoping for some restful/peaceful moments for you...


Lorna, Bob and Liam

Anonymous said...

I just can not imagine with strong your blog greatly that saved me. God bless you “We cannot always build the future of our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

cheryl g said...

initial reaction to seeing a movie titled Troll Hunter would have been the same as yours. After reading your review I think I need to see if I can find it to watch.

I may have to watch Lincoln:Vampire Hunter just to see what Tim Burton does. After seeing the trailer I know I want to watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Prometheus also looks good.

I really like Garrow’s Law and it is a shame it has been cancelled. It is nice to have intelligent shows to watch instead of all the reality TV junk that US television is overloaded with.

Budrus sounds very good. I am glad it is a story that has been told. I really need to see about getting a copy of this dvd.

Thank you for the reviews and wonderful recommendations.

Neil said...

Now I have to find Troll Hunter! And probably Prometheus too, though I don't like horror... Curse you and your good taste!! :)

I tried to watch Sarah Polley's Splice, but I just couldn't stomach it. It's probably an excellent film, but it's just not to my taste, no matter how much I wanted it to be.

Seeking Friend for the End of the World sounds so bad it might be fun.

And I hate to say it, but the trailers for the American version of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo make it look suspiciously good.

Did I ever mention Camille and Kennerly? They're a pair of twins who play harp, and they also do YouTube ASL videos for their friends; their version of Pretty Littel Liars, by the Pierces, is better than the original video - at least in my opinion. They use the original soundtrack and just act out the video, but add sign language for deaf and hard of hearing people.

May you have rest and energy, and less pain.

Love and zen hugs,