Month: March 2014

Borgen (TV series)

Recently I’ve been able to get the first two seasons of Borgen. I Look forward to see them soon. Stay tuned.

Borgen synopsis season 1

Borgen is a Danish one-hour political thriller TV series about the fight for political power in Denmark today – and about the personal sacrifices and consequences that this fight has for those involved on and behind the political stage.

The central figure is the 40-year old political leader Birgitte Nyborg, who through her idealism and huge effort secures her party a landslide victory and thus faces the biggest challenge of her life: how most effectively to use the newly won seats, and how far she is willing to go in order to gain as much influence as possible. Privately, Birgitte leads a happy family life with her husband and two children. She is a woman with a burning commitment, a big heart and too little time. But will she be able to be a successful and professional top politician and stay true to herself at the same time?

Among the many important people in Birgitte Nyborg’s professional life is her media adviser, Kasper Juul, who is one of the most talented in the business. However, he is also a cynic with no illusions, who needs to start believing in the messages which it is his job to impart.

Another significant character is Katrine Fønsmark: a political journalist working for a large public service television station. Her screen charm and her ability to bring the debate to the viewers’ eye level have quickly earned her popularity and clout, but in her personal life she is rootless and confused.

Borgen has a large gallery of characters and deals with many different aspects in the political, the journalistic, and the private spheres.

The setting is Borgen, the nickname of Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three of Denmark’s branches of government: the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court. The title translates roughly as Government.

 

 

Borgen synopsis season 2

We follow Denmark’s first female Prime Minister, Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen); her cynical spin doctor, Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbæk); and the ambitious and idealistic television-journalist Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen). Their lives are woven together in a complex fabric, as they each face various professional and private challenges.

Birgitte Nyborg has been Denmark’s Prime Minister for two years – years that have taken their toll on her private life. She must now balance her role of PM with that of divorcée and single-mother. Politically, she has succeeded in earning the respect of her political allies as well as enemies, but tensions between parties are mounting. Denmark’s participation in international wars as well as certain central domestic policy issues are driving a wedge through the parliament and forcing Birgitte to make more and more shaky compromises. The building pressure causes her to doubt whether she can maintain both her position and her integrity.

Season 2 finds Katrine Fønsmark working as a star journalist at the Ekspres, where editor-in-chief, Michael Laugesen (Peter Mygind), challenges her journalistic morals and ethics. Katrine finds a friend and professional ally in her former TV1-colleague, Hanne Holm (Benedikte Hansen).

Kasper Juul continues his professional role as spin doctor for Birgitte Nyborg. Privately he is trying to make peace with his inner demons and restrain them from intruding on his relationship with his new girlfriend, Lotte (Rikke Lylloff).

The cast includes:

Mikael Birkkjær / Lars Knutzon / Søren Malling / Peter Mygind / Flemming Sørensen / Lars Brygmann / Ole Thestrup / Bjarne Henriksen / Søren Spanning / Iben Dorner / Jannie Faurschou / Petrine Agger / Dar Salim / Benedikte Hansen /  Thomas Levin / Morten Kirkskov / Lisbeth Wulff / Anders Juul / Signe Egholm Olsen / Freja Riemann / Emil Poulsen Dam /  Rikke Lylloff / Jens Jacob Tychsen / Hanne Hedelund / Olaf Heine Johannessen / Mille Dinesen / Sebastian Jessen / Henrik Birch / Henrik Prip / Hans Henrik Clemensen / Mette Munk Plum / Stina Ekblad

Adam Price is the primary author, assisted by episode authors Tobias Lindholm and Jeppe Gjervig Gram.

The episodes in Season 2 are directed by Jannik Johansen, Jesper W. Nielsen, Louise Friedberg and Mikkel Nørgaard.  Photography: Rasmus Heise, Lars Vestergaard and Magnus Jønck. Production design: Søren Gam is production. Scenography: Knirke Madelung. Composer: Halfdan E. Produced by Camilla Hammerich.

True Detective (Season One) Soundtrack

Opening Theme

  • The Handsome Family – “Far From Any Road”

Episode 1: The Long Bright Dark

    • Bob Dylan – “Rocks And Gravel”
    • The McIntosh County Shouters – “Sign Of The Judgment”
    • The Black Angels – “Young Men Dead”

    Episode 2: Seeing Things

    • John Lee Hooker – “Unfriendly Woman”
    • John Lee Hooker – “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”
    • Vashti Bunyan – “The Train Song”
    • McIntosh County Shouters – “Sign Of The Judgment”
    • Reverend C.J. Johnson and Family – “You Better Run To The City Of Refuge”
    • Steve Earle – “Meet Me In The Alleyway”
    • Cuff The Duke – “If I Live Or Die”
    • 13th Floor Elevators – “Kingdom Of Heaven”

    Episode 3: The Locked Room

    • The Staples Singers – “Stand By Me”
    • Buddy Miller – “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger”
    • Johnny Horton – “I’m A One Woman Man”
    • Jo Ell Sonnier – “The Heart That You Own”
    • Jo Ell Sonnier – “Evangeline”

    Episode 4: Who Goes There

    • Bo Diddley – “Bring It To Jerome”
    • Melvins – “The Brain Center At Whipples” Boogie Down Productions “Illegal Business”
    • Blind Uncle Gaspard – “Sur Le Borde De L’Eau”
    • Lucinda Williams – “Are You Alright”
    • Slim Harpo – “Rainin’ In My Heart”
    • Melvins – “History Of Bad Men”
    • Primus – “American Life”
    • Sleep  – “Holy Mountain”
    • Wu-Tang Clan – “Clan In Da Front”
    • Grinderman – “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly To Mars)”

    Episode 5: The Secret Fate Of All Life

    • Kris Kristofferson – “Casey’s Last Ride”
    • The Kinks – “Tired Of Waiting For You”
    • Bosnian Rainbows – “Eli”

    Episode 6: Haunted Houses

    • Waylon Jennings – “Waymore’s Blues”
    • Bobby Charles – “Les Champs Elysee”
    • Father John Misty – “Everyman Needs A Companion”
    • Glenn Gould – “Goldberg Variations; BMV 988: Aria”
    • Emmy Lou Harris – “The Good Book”
    • Ike And Tina Turner – “Too Many Tears In My Eyes”
    • Meredith Monk – “Core Chant”

    Episode 7: After You’ve Gone

    • Juice Newton – “Angel Of The Morning”
    • School Of Seven Bells – “Trance Figure”
    • Gregg Allman – “Floating Bridge”
    • Vincent & Mr. Green ft. Ravenbird – “Red Light”
    • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Fault Line”
    • Richard & Linda Thompson – “Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed”
    • Townes Van Zandt – “Lungs”

    Episode 8: Form And Void

    • “The Angry River” por The Hat ft. Father John Misty & S.I. Istwa

     

    TV Series: True Detective – Season One (2014) created and written by Nic Pizzolatto & directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga

    true-detective-poster-art.jpgTrue Detective is an American television series on HBO created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. The first season directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga is made up of eight episodes starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles. (from Wikipedia)

    The story takes place in different time periods. In 1995 two detectives Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rustin ” Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) from the CID unit of the Louisiana State Police are called to investigate the murder of a woman. The sheriff of the rural police has required their assistance given the special circumstances of the crime. The body of a naked woman has been found tied to a tree and with deer antlers on her head. It looks like a ritualistic murder. When it was discovered that the victim was a prostitute, the detectives initially concentrate their efforts in the world of street prostitution. But then pops up some connection with the disappearance of a young girl some years ago, which could confirm that this crime may have been committed by a serial killer.

    As the investigation progresses, the viewer will get to know better the relationship between the two detectives. Hart, married and with two daughters, is a religious and conservative man well adapted to the lifestyle of rural people in Louisiana. Although he is also an unfaithful husband who can hardly control his sexuality. By contrast, Cohle who has recently arrived from Texas where he worked as an undercover cop, is a lonely and pessimistic man. And he’s marked by a depression caused by the death of his daughter. He thinks that human existence has no meaning and his beliefs collide with the local mentality. In any case, they both admire and respect professionally each other. Over the time, their personal relationship will move between a certain type of friendship until they completely distance from each other.

    Simultaneously to the events that took place in 1995, in 2012 both, Hart and Cohle, have left their position in the police department and are being questioned separately by detectives Gilbough Maynard (Michael Potts) and Thomas Papania (Tory Kittles) in connection with a recent murder, that keeps many similarities with the old crimes.

    In my view, this is an excellent series. The actors’ interpretation, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, is outstanding. The original screenplay by the novelist Nic Pizzolatto is very attractive. The film direction by Cary Fukunaga is highly accurate. The music is excellent. The story has a great sense of place and, among many other virtues, season one has a very satisfactory conclusion. Do not missed it. Just wonder what will come next. The rumour I heard is that it’ll be based on Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto.

    For additional information read a full review at The Hollywood Reporter.

    OT: El Pardo Mountain

    Inside the city of Madrid, located just 8 kilometres from Puerta del Sol, Monte de El Pardo (El Pardo Mountain) is one of the best preserved Mediterranean forests in Europe. At the very least, it’s amazing to learn that it spreads out over 16,000 hectares, i.e. one fourth of the whole of the area taken up by the capital. With very few constructions and practically unvisited, this gigantic green lung is the perfect quiet spot, since visitors are not allowed in a good part of the territory.

    For additional information visit Monte de El Pardo at Wikipedia (in Spanish)

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    Review: The Inspector Barlach Mysteries (The Judge and His Hangman + Suspicion) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

    The University of Chicago Press, 2006. Translated by Joel Agee With a Foreword by Sven Birkerts. ISBN: 978-0-226-1744-0. 208 pages.

    The Inspector Barlach Mysteries

    The Inspector Barlach Mysteries brings together two of the best known detective novels by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. The protagonist, Inspector Barlach, is now at the end of his career and, even with a necessary surgery, has only one more year of life. The first novella The Judge and His Hangman was originally published as Der Richter und sein Henker in Der Schweizerische Beobachter (1950/51), and revised by Benziger Verlag Einsiedeln, Zurich (1952). The second one, Suspicion (aka The Quarry) was originally published as Der Verdacht (1951) in Der Schweizerische Beobachter (1951/52), and revised by Benziger Verlag Einsiedeln, Zurich (1953).

    The action in The Judge and His Hangman, takes place in November 1948. The story opens when Ulrich Schmid, a police lieutenant from Bern, is found dead with a gunshot in his car on a Swiss road. Inspector Barlach had been the dead man’s superior in Bern.   

    ‘Barlach had lived abroad for many year and had made a name for himself as a criminologist, first in Constantinople and later in Germany. His last job there had been as chief of the Frankfurt am Main police, but had come back to his native city as early as 1933. The reason for his return was not his love of Bern –his golden grave, as he often called it- but a slap he had given a high-ranking official of the new German government. This vicious assault was the talk of Frankfurt for a while. Opinion in Bern, always sensitive to the shifts in European politics, judged it first as an inexcusable outrage, then as a deplorable but understandable act, and finally –in 1945- as the only possible thing a Swiss could have done.’

    Barlach’s first reaction was to order his subordinates to keep the investigation in secret during the first days in view of the little information they had. Meanwhile Barlach’s boss, Dr. Lucio Lutz who had studied criminology at the university and had just completed a visit to the police departments of New York and Chicago, was complaining about the antediluvian state of crime prevention in the federal capital of Switzerland.

    Barlach soon confirms that he already has a suspect in mind but cannot say anything to his boss yet. He specifically requests the appointment of Walter Tschazn as his assistant in the case. Luntz believes it’s a good idea since Tschantz is a hard worker and keeps up on the latest developments in criminology.

    As the investigation progresses, Barlach finds out that Schmid was investigating the activities of Richard Gastmann, a criminal mastermind and Barlach’s old acquaintance. Gastman becomes the prime suspect but it will be difficult to demonstrate his role in the crime.  

    I really enjoyed reading this novella that, given its extension, can be read almost in one sitting. The story is full of philosophical reflections that accurately reflect the concerns of that time. At one point Gastmann tells Barlach:

    ‘Your thesis was that human imperfection –the fact that we can never predict with certainty how others will act, and that furthermore we have no way of calculating the way chance interferes in our plans- guarantees that most crimes will perforce be detected. To commit a crime, you said, is an act of stupidity, because you can’t operate with people as if they were chessmen. Against this I contended, more for the sake of argument than out of conviction, that it’s precisely this incalculable, chaotic element in human relations that makes it possible to commit crimes that cannot be detected, and for this reason the majority of crimes are not only not punished, but are simply not known, because, in effect, they are perfectly hidden.’

    For my taste the story is well told, the plot is interesting, it keeps the reader’s interest and has an interesting twist at the end. Highly recommended.

    My rating: A (I loved it) 

    Suspicion is the sequel to The Judge and His Hangman and takes place shortly before Christmas 1948. Inspector Barlach’s operation was delayed two weeks due to a heart attack, but finally it was carried out successfully. One day Barlach notices how his friend, Doctor Samuel Hungertobel, seems to have recognised someone he knows well in a photograph from an old issue of Life magazine. The photo shows a German doctor, Dr. Nehle, while he’s performing surgery without anaesthetic to a prisoner in a concentration camp near Gdansk. Dr. Nehle bears a striking resemblance with a former colleague of his, Dr. Fritz Emmenberger. It seems impossible that they are not the same person. However, Dr Nehle committed suicide in 1945, while Dr. Emmenberger was in Chile during the entire II World War. However Barlach is determined to find out if they are the same person or if,at some point, their identities were exchanged.

    I must admit that Dürrenmatt knows pretty well how to create suspense and keeps the reader’s attention throughout this second instalment. However I enjoyed it less. Maybe because it has a rather loose ending and some characters seem to come out of the blue.

    My rating: C (I liked it with a few reservations).

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel, any time soon. 

    The son of a minister, Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born in Konolfingen (canton of Berne, Emmental region) in 1921; he died in Neuchâtel, where he lived for 38 years, in 1990. His plays The Visit (1956) and The Physicists (1962) brought him his greatest international acclaim, together with the film adaptations of his detective novels such as The Judge and His Hangman (1952) and The Pledge (1958). His philosophical essays and late-career autobiographical works, as well as his visual art – accomplished in parallel with his writing – are less well-known. The author received numerous awards throughout his career. He was twice married, and the father of three children born of his first marriage. (Note taken from Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel)

    The Judge and His Hangman has been reviewed at Yet Another Fiction Blog (Keishon), Tipping my Fedora (Sergio). And I must thank them both for having aroused my interest in Dürrenmatt

    The University of Chicago Press Books

    The Friedrich Dürrenmatt website by the University of Chicago Press 

    Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel

    Los misterios del inspector Barlach de Friedrich Dürrenmatt

    Portada de El juez y su verdugoLos misterios del inspector Barlach reúne dos de las novelas de detectives más famosas de Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Su protagonista, el inspector Barlach, se encuentra en el punto final de su carrera e incluso con una cirugía necesaria sólo le queda un año más de vida. La primera novela corta El juez y su verdugo fue publicada originalmente como Der Richter und sein Henker en Der Schweizerische Beobachter (1950/51), y revisada por Benziger Verlag Einsiedeln, Zurich (1952). La segunda, La sospecha fue publicada originalmente como Der Verdacht (1951) en Der Schweizerische Beobachter (1951/52), y revisada por Benziger Verlag Einsiedeln, Zurich ( 1953).

    La acción de El juez y su verdugo, se desarrolla en noviembre de 1948. La historia comienza cuando Ulrich Schmid, un teniente de la policía de Berna, es encontrado muerto de un disparo en su coche en un camino de Suiza. El inspector Barlach era su superior en Berna.

    ‘Barlach había vivido en el extranjero durante muchos años y se había construido cierta reputación como criminólogo, primero en Constantinopla y más tarde en Alemania. Su último trabajo había sido como jefe de la policía de Frankfurt am Main, pero había regresado a su ciudad natal ya en 1933. La razón de su regreso no fue su amor a Berna -su tumba dorada como la llamaba a menudo-, si no una bofetada que le había dado a un funcionario de alto rango del nuevo gobierno alemán. Este atroz agresión fue muy comentada en Frankfurt durante un tiempo. La opinión en Berna, siempre sensible a los cambios en la política europea, lo juzgó primero como un ultraje imperdonable, luego como un acto deplorable pero comprensible, y finalmente – en 1945 – como lo único posible que un ciudadano suizo podía haber hecho.’

    La primera reacción de Barlach fue ordenar a sus subordinados mantener la investigación en secreto durante los primeros días en vista de la poca información que tenían. Mientras tanto el jefe de Barlach, el Dr. Lucio Lutz que había estudiado criminología en la universidad y acababa de realizar una visita a los departamentos de policía de Nueva York y Chicago, se quejaba sobre el estado antediluviano de la prevención del delito en la capital federal de Suiza.

    Barlach pronto confirma que ya tiene un sospechoso en mente, pero no puede decir nada a su jefe todavía. Solicita expresamente el nombramiento de Walter Tschazn como su asistente en el caso. Luntz considera que es una buena idea ya que Tschantz es un gran trabajador y está al día de las últimas novedades en criminología.

    A medida que avanza la investigación, Barlach se entera de que Schmid estaba investigando las actividades de Richard Gastmann, un genio criminal y viejo conocido de Barlach. Gastman se convierte en el principal sospechoso, pero será difícil demostrar su participación en el crimen.

    He disfrutado mucho leyendo esta novela que, por su extensión, se puede leer casi de un tirón. La historia está llena de reflexiones filosóficas que reflejan con precisión las preocupaciones de la época. En un momento Gastmann le dice a Barlach:

    ‘Su tesis era que la imperfección humana -el hecho de que nunca podamos predecir con certeza cómo actuarán los demás, y que, además, no tenemos manera de calcular la forma en que el azar interfiere en nuestros planes. garantiza que la mayoría de los crímenes serán necesariamente detectados. Cometer un crimen, ha dicho usted, es un acto de estupidez, porque no se puede actuar con las personas como si fueran piezas de ajedrez. Contra esto yo sostenía, más a modo de argumento que por convicción, que es precisamente este elemento incalculable, caótico en las relaciones humanas el que permite cometer delitos que no se pueden detectar, y por esta razón la mayoría de los delitos no sólo permanecen impunes, sino que simplemente no se conocen, porque, efectivamente, se mantiene perfectamente ocultos.’

    Para mi gusto la historia está bien contada, la trama es interesante, mantiene el interés del lector y tiene un giro interesante al final. Muy recomendable.

    Mi valoración: A (Me encantó )

    Portada de La sospechaLa sospecha es la continuación de El juez y su verdugo y se desarrolla poco antes de la Navidad de 1948. La operación del Inspector Barlach se retrasó dos semanas debido a un ataque al corazón, pero finalmente se llevó a cabo con éxito. Un día Barlach observa cómo su amigo, el doctor Samuel Hungertobel, parece haber reconocido a alguien que conoce bien en una fotografía de una vieja edición de la revista Life. La foto muestra a un médico alemán, el Dr. Nehle, mientras realiza una operación quirúrgica sin anestesia a un prisionero en un campo de concentración cerca de Gdansk. El Dr. Nehle tiene un parecido sorprendente con un antiguo colega suyo, el doctor Fritz Emmenberger. Parece imposible que no sean la misma persona. Pero el Dr Nehle se suicidó en 1945, mientras que el Dr. Emmenberger estuvo en Chile durante toda la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Sin embargo Barlach está decidido a averiguar si son la misma persona o si, en algún momento, se intercambiaron sus identidades.

    Debo admitir que Dürrenmatt sabe muy bien cómo crear suspense y mantiene la atención del lector a lo largo de esta segunda entrega. Sin embargo, me gustó menos. Tal vez porque tiene un final más bien flojo y algunos personajes parecen surgidos de la nada.

    Mi valoración: C (Me gustó con algunas reservas).

    En cualquier caso, estoy deseando leer La promesa: Réquiem por la novela policíaca, dentro de poco.

    Hijo de un pastor, Friedrich Dürrenmatt nació en Konolfingen (cantón de Berna, en la región de Emmental) en 1921 y murió en Neuchâtel, donde vivió durante 38 años, en 1990. Sus obras de teatro La visita de la vieja dama (1956) y Los Físicos (1962) le granjearon el reconocimiento internacional, junto con las adaptaciones cinematográficas de sus novelas de detectives, El juez y su verdugo (1952) y La promesa (1958). Sus ensayos filosóficos y sus obras autobiográficas al final de su carrera, así como su arte visual – realizados paralelamente a su obra escrita, son menos conocidos. El autor recibió numerosos premios a lo largo de su carrera. Se casó dos veces, y tuvo tres hijos de su primer matrimonio. (Nota tomada del Centro Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel)

    Tusquets Editores (El juez y su verdugo)

    Tusquets Editores (La sospecha)