December 2005

Te Kaieke Tohora

A long time ago, my ancestor Paikea came to this place on the back of a whale. Since then, in every generation of my family, the first born son has carried his name and become the leader of our tribe… until now.

There are only a few movies that I would give the label ‘ingenious’. Yet this movie is one of those that impressed me a lot and made me want to look it again from the beginning the minute the screen faded to black. It’s almost a shame the DVD cost less than 9€. It has won many awards at world-known – at least in the cinephile scene – film festivals: Toronto 2002 (People’s Choice Award), Sundance 2003 (World Cinema Audience Award) and San Francisco 2003 (Best Narrative Feature), to name only a few.

The film is based on a novel by the New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera and tells the Maori legend of Paikea, the Whale Rider. For thousand years, the Rangatira’s (= chief) eldest son has been given the name of Paikea and succeeded to the title, until now. During the birth of twins, the mother and the male twin die, leaving a daughter, Pai, as the only inheritor to the title. Her desperate father leaves New Zealand and his daughter and goes to Germany, returning only twelve years later, refusing however to succeed to his father’s postion as a Rangatira. Pai being a female, her grandfather does not accept her as the inheritor of his title, and the child has to fight her beloved grandfather to fulfill her destiny.

Most of the film is quite authentic, it was turned on location in Whangara, the legend of the whale rider really exists in this Maori tribe and the movie shows a lot of the Maori culture, most of the minor characters being played by Maori people. A lot of the dialogues are in Maori language and one learns a lot about their culture through rituals, dances and world views presented throughout the movie. In fact, much of the movie shows Pai doing traditional Maori things which women are not allowed to do. So, the film cast and crew performed special Maori chants in order to protect themselves and the others from bad luck.

Pai is played by one of the best actors I have ever seen, Keisha Castle-Hughes, who is in fact half Maori, and whom the Star Wars fans among you might know for playing the Queen of Naboo in Episode III. She became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the age of 13 in 2004, a nomination she clearly deserved – and she’d really have deserved getting the award. Her acting is authentic, the fact that she has been doing Maori dance since the age of 6 also helps her in performing realisticly.

This is definitely a movie to put on your must watch list. Full of strong emotions, a great storyline, excellent actors and actresses and an exciting insight into the Maori culture. If you’re not a cinephile however, better leave this film alone, for it asks a lot from its audience.

For those of you having been to Prof. Kühlwein’s course about the Maori language, it might also be interesting to actually hear the language spoken by native speakers. :)

The trailers can be found at the official website, click here for the New Zealand trailer or here for the US trailer.

“Jo, moien emol.”

Beglüssen Sie mit mil den Hell del Langsamkeit!

Same procedure as every year. For the third time in a row, I’ve gone watching Rüdiger Hoffmann yesterday evening. And he was great. A completely dark hall, then Rüdiger Hoffmann’s voice imitating a Chinese announcing himself, then spotlights turning round the stage on rock music – if I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought some rock star was about to come on stage. And then a dancing (!) Rüdiger Hoffmann jumped on stage and danced for minutes! Having greeted his audience with his traditional “Jo, moien emol!” he had the whole hall on his side.

Ich habe mir dann den String von Omas Freundin über die Schultern gezogen…

Although I knew many of his jokes by heart – which, considering it was a Best Of isn’t very surprising – I still fell about with laughter. But the very best came only at the end, after the official show was over, that is his first encore and his second and his third – which wasn’t as anyone would have expected. In fact, the show yesterday was the last one of his Europe tour, which meant all of his crew coming on stage, drinking champagne and presenting him with flowers.

Die stehen ja!

At the encores Rüdiger Hoffmann was just warming up, making fun of the audience, the Luxemburgish culture and of his crew. He presented his very first sketch “Mein Mitbewohner und ich” – which made him the famous star he is today. The encores lasted for over half an hour and, in the end, made the audience celebrate this great cabaret artist with a standing ovation – anything less would have been blasphemy.

Ihr ward das geilste Publikum der ganzen Tournee!

After having thanked the audience half a dozen times and having disappeared behind the curtains one could hear him say to his crew “Hammergeil!” – his microfone obviously still being switched on. Now what greater compliment could an artist make to his audience.

Berni nennt das den Atem des Drachen…

After last year had been a little bit disappointing for a Rüdiger Hoffmann show, this year was the comedian at his highest, and I’m really looking forward to next year’s show!

The Christmas market in Trier

I don’t like Christmas markets. Or at least I thought so. For years I haven’t found anything Christmas-like on the Luxemburgish Christmas market, which takes place on the Place d’Armes.

So, my brother and I decided to go searching for a real Christmas market abroad and went to Trier this afternoon. It’s probably the first time I felt like being on a Christmas market. It’s much bigger than the Luxemburgish one and it had everything you would look for on a Christmas market: artists presenting nice Christmas decorations, the smell of chestnuts, mulled wine. The mulled wine you’ll find on the Luxemburgish Christmas market too, but much more excessively and it would be the only thing related to Christmas you could find. The smell of chestnuts could be found, but it would probably be hard to distinguish from the smell of fatty acid coming from the fish and chips stalls. Looking for stalls selling Christmas decorations would be a complete waste of your time.

I’m happy I went to Trier today, and I will go there again, if not this year – for which I’m unfortunately lacking the time – then certainly next year. For all those of you who expect a little more from a Christmas market than mulled wine, I’d recommend spending a day in Trier, it’s close and it’s cheap to get there (train ticket costs about 4€).

Life – Part 1/1

tired headaches
melancholic hearts
old thoughts
sad spirits
in dead bodies
they don’t want
to see
crying feelings
dreaming through life
a nightmare
on this end
of eternity
forever more

The Da Vinci Code

Finally it’s here! After an ingenious teaser, where I’m still asking myself how long it took them to render the whole thing, Sony Pictures released the first full length trailer today. It’s available in the three normal sizes, as well as three HD formats and in M4V for those geeks who own an iPod Video.

I love this trailer! Impressive images, fantastic music and Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou fit better into their respective roles than I thought, which mostly is due to their haircut I think. Well you can see for yourself, I’ve posted pictures of Hanks and Tautou below.

If you have the technical means (a big screen – although 1024×768 is sufficient for the 480p version – a fast CPU and, of course, QuickTime 7) I strongly recommend the HiDef trailer!

This domain has been blocked

As you probably have heard, the first sunrise period for the new .eu domains has been launched five days ago. Now today I’ve found this document, which lists domain names that are blocked. While I think it might be a good approach to block domains such as or, I keep asking myself the same question while flying over that list: what do these words mean? Most of the words I have never heard off, and I can’t find any definitions for them. Does anyone know what’s so bad about a domain (I’d probably understand if I knew what gorgopotamou is. :))

For those of you who want to check out the list with a 1600 (!) blocked domain names, here’s the Link.

New design

I felt like a change, so here’s a new design. It’s based on the Red Train theme. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

And stay tuned, for the third part in the Anarchy series is coming. :-)