Artificial Intelligence AI - a movie by Steven Spielberg 
Thursday, 29 .June, 2006, 16:05 - English Entries, Movies

Steven Spielberg’s "Artificial Intelligence AI" is one of the worst movies I have seen so far. The most impressive thing about this film is how it can get more worse and worse with every minute. There is no end to it - after half of the tragedy one thinks that there could be an end to it, but Spielberg just adds more unrealistic things to it. It's a Sci-Fi movie, but that does not mean that it doesn't need to explain anything. It is also a fairy tale, but still the director could have tried to entertain at least some of the grown ups sitting in the audience.

Humans are the cruel ones, the first build up artificial intelligence and then they kill the machines, who all seem to be very nice and full of feelings - although they do not have, only the little boy has. Still these robots talk and act as if their primary mission in "life" would be the protection of the weak and forgiving their destroyers. Oh please Steven, tell us about the Christians in ancient Rome if you want to bring tears in our eyes, but don't come up with a miserable idea that you manage to develop into a great failure.

And then, at the very end of the whole mess, when the aliens hang around and the story has long crossed the point of no return, Spielberg gives the child, that has gone through suffering and pain, a single day of happiness. That's it. I assume this should tell us something about being human and life in general. But it doesn’t. It only tries to induce some sentimental feelings in the audience – without succeeding.

The issue of the machine that wants to be human was treated much better by other films, foremost of all "Blade Runner" but also "Bicentennial Man" was an acceptable movie, that is also suitable for younger audiences. Watch those, but avoid AI. (0/10)


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Keane by Lodge H. Kerrigan - seen at the 21st Sodankylä Midnight Sun Film Festival (2006) 
Friday, 23 .June, 2006, 21:35 - English Entries, Movies

midnight sun film festival Keane by Lodge H. Kerrigan leads from the first moment into the world of a mentally disturbed person. A man looking for his kidnapped daughter. He is nervous, he is insecure, he tries to think and the more the movie follows him, the less it is clear, how much this person can be trusted. Was the daughter really kidnapped? Does he have a daughter at all? Did he maybe kidnap a girl?

William Keane appears to be a drug addict and a mad man – but is he really or is he just a person that needs help? The movie does not gives answers to this – it just leaves us with William, of whom one gets more and more afraid. When a woman, who lives next to him, starts trusting him and asks him to care for her daughter for a while, the audience just waits for the inevitable tragedy to happen. Every situation that Keane is confronted with offers a possible mistake to be made, a crime to be committed.

Kerrigans movie offers a look into the instability of the mind without giving explanations. It shows a hopeless world and a short flickering of a light at the end of the tunnel – without being pathetic. It takes the audience from a different angle and leaves no other opportunity than to let us be guided by our feelings, as no reason is visible – truth and background are missing. Keane does not need to commit any crime; we do that for him in our fearful minds, while watching the movie.

An extraordinary different movie. (9/10)
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Midnight Sun in Sodankylä, Finland 
Tuesday, 20 .June, 2006, 01:23 - English Entries, Finland, Photographs, Travel
These are the first impressions from the 21st Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. It was my first visit to Lapland.

Midnight Sun in Sodonkylä, Finland

Midnight Sun in Sodonkylä, Finland

Midnight Sun, Sodankylä, Finland Midnight Sun, Sodankylä, Finland

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Töölönlahti - 14th June 2006, 00:55 
Wednesday, 14 .June, 2006, 01:44 - English Entries, Finland, Helsinki, Photographs

Töölönlahti, Helsinki, Finland - 14th June 2006, 00:55


For more June Picutres from Helsinki click on the above picture or here to see them as a slidewhow

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Finnish and German history during the 20th century - from supporting the national movement to burning Lapland 
Monday, 12 .June, 2006, 22:05 - English Entries, Finland, Germany, History
There were several occasions during the last years when I talked with different Finnish people about Germany. That's not a big surprise, I am a German and Finns are usually curious and many of them even have studied my mother tongue for a long time in school. What I learned is, that many Finns have a very distinct view on Germany and that this view is based on the last 100 years of history, in which Finns and Germans had a lot of interaction.

During World War One German troops went into Russia, which was weakened after the the revolution and the take-over of power by the communists. It was a major German interest to establish a line of buffer states between Russia and central Europe. This was achieved when Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which gave independence to a number of states that before formed part of Russia, including Ukraine, the Baltic states, Poland and also Finland.

Finland is the only country that was able to maintain its independence from 1918 till today. But immediately after gaining independence the Finnish Civil War broke loose, in which the socialist/communist Red Guards fought for several months in the beginning of 1918 against the conservative White Guards, which were lead by Marshall Mannerheim. There were cruetlies done on both sides, but it seems to me that the White Guards organized their way of fighting in a dramatic way, by establishing camps in which mass executions of the red enemies became daily business (see here). Parts of the White Guards were trained in Germany and formed so-called "Jäger" troops.

During the Civil War, Helsinki was held by the Red Guards. In early April 1918 Germany, still ruled by an Emperor at that time, sent troops to the Southern Finnish city of Hanko. From there they marched to Helsinki, conquered the capital and handed it over to the Whites.

The German prince Frederick Charles of Hesse even became elected king of Finland in 1918, but he ruled only for two month and afterwards Finland became finally a republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg as the first president.

Later, during World War Two, the secret protocol included in the Hitler-Stalin (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Pact "allowed" Russia to conquer Finland (and other countries) again. Russia tried occupy Finland again during the so-called Winter War from November 1939 till March 1940, but gave finally up.

Few years after that, German troops again fought in the so-called Continuation War together with the Finns against Russia. No doubt about it that it would have been in no way desirable for anybody in the Western hemisphere that Finland would become part of Russia again. Still this does not excuse anything what happened several hundred kilometres South in central Europe in the name of Germany.

The Finns and the Russians signed a armistice. One of the conditions in there was, that all German troops had to be kicked out of Finland. This finally lead to the Lapland War, the last war in Finnland during World War II. The Germans, moving back towards West followed their strategy of "scorched earth", meaning they burnt most of the villages and towns they came through in order to not give anything into the hand of their enemy. The city of Rovaniemi was completely destroyed and re-built anew after the war.

There are much more details to all these issues, but to me it seems that those parts of history play a major role in the thinking that some Finnish people have about the Germans. It ranges from "You freed us from the Communists", over "Our fathers kicked the Russians out" to "You burned my hometown". It is all part of History and I am just happy that people here are not getting over-excited about these things but mostly making jokes about it.


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