"indecision may or may not be my problem."
last night i watched 'infernal affairs', the hong kong thriller that was the almost scene-by-scene inspiration for scorcese's 'the departed'. if you liked that movie, i would highly recommend watching the original, if only for trivia value.
i say 'almost scene-by-scene', because while practically every scene (save three or so) in 'infernal affairs' made it into 'the departed', the latter is padded with about 50% more scenes inbetween. 'affairs' (running at a humble 97 minutes) almost seems like a highlight reel of its american remake (151 minutes), and given the complicated storyline, i kept wondering throughout my viewing whether i would have even understood what was going on only by watching the hong kong original. 'affairs' just keeps cutting from one highlight to the other, with little development inbetween, seeming like it was made for people who've already seen 'the departed'.
that said, and in contrast to what may seem from the above paragraph, i'm not sure that 'infernal affairs' is any more respectful of its audience's intelligence. compared to 'the departed', it is much more explicit in its explanations, making the characters say out loud what one should gather from the action, and making heavy use of flashbacks to connect the storyline. maybe the main difference is that the makers of 'i.a.' had to restrict themselves to a 100-minute limit, resulting in both a more chopped-up and a more explicit version of what the movie was intended to be.
but that's hardly an excuse for the barrage of trite dialog that made me repeatedly wipe my mouth with the back of my hand because i felt that someone was trying to shove something down my throat.
in that sense, i'd almost say that scorcese's version is a more refined version of lau's original; a second - better - attempt. this is true also for the direction and cinematography, which is decidedly weak in 'affairs', and reminded me mostly of karaoke background clips. scorcese does a much better job at keeping the audience at the edge of their seat, including making the ending just slightly different, and in my opinion - more interesting.
no, not the very ending, which was lame, but the almost ending.
btw if you were disturbed (link to hebrew, with lots of spoilers) by the male-predominance in 'the departed', rest assured that almost all the female parts in that movie are in the 50% of extra material. 'infernal affairs' has even less women in it, and their role is even more diminutive.
i don't remember which u.s president said that the only thing new is the history we don't know, but there's something to it. it also seems that anything new has already been done in the 60s.
today i was reminded once more of norman mclaren's pas de deux, a classic milestone in visual effects, one which ties in very strongly with my tendency to explore time and space in my own work.
ok - this seems pretty fucked up. a friend just rang me and called my attention to the following g.m. superbowl ad:
a fake rating notice? a mock movie trailer? a sad robot all alone? and 'all by myself' as the backing music, kicking into the chorus just when the corny movie titles are over?
sort of reminds me too much of a little something i made back in 2004 with our own robot.
coincidence? you be the judge. i'd like to talk to the person who came up with the g.m. idea.
later, i discovered the full version:
update: this post has been updated since it was first posted - i've added embedded video for easier viewing. you can still follow the links, though, if you prefer.
the idea was that they recorded a soundtrack of people in the zoo asking them what the animals might be thinking (with additional acting and interviews with shut-ins), and then animated over that soundtrack with clay figures.
if you re-watch it, notice that in some cases, the soundtrack doesn't shift tone, but the animation shifts pose, creating a very tangible shift in the attitude of the character. in general, i think that this is a good movie to watch if you're into the whole relationship between sound and image in cinema (as is 'the perfect human' by joergen leth, but with a completely different tone).
then i found out that there were already two seasons of creature comforts in the uk which i missed (i guess i'm not really up to date), but which i now ordered on dvd from amazon.
and finally - watch this redubbing of creature comforts with some politicians' quotes.
just cam out of one of the most stunning music/video performances i've ever seen. makes me feel very lucky to be at the media lab.
words are particularly misfit to describe jean piché's work, so let's just keep it at that he really captures a lot of what i love about music and video art. if he plays in your town, go see him.
my favorite: express.
every new piece just convinces me more: michel gondry simply gets it. my latest discovery, 'lucas with the lid off' is another tour de force.
what i love about gondry's work is that it's intelligent without being smart-ass, it's subtle yet complex, and it decomposes (and comments on) the filmic medium withoug being sanitarily intellectual.
notice the light, shadow, coordinate systems, interior/exterior spaces, image planes, and sound layers all interact in this deliciously crafted music video.
it's one thing that a fucking recap of a regurgitation of a four-year-old side skit from a tv show becomes the must-see movie of the season even in so-called intellectual circles. i mean - go watch 'borat' if you truly feel that this is an essential big-screen experience. it's your money.
and i'm not even saying that i don't like borat. he's funny. i've watched him on youtube on many a bored night in the past, and i wouldn't even mind downloading this movie eventually if it wouldn't take so long.
but -- even as i appreciate and respect baron-cohen's incentive to milk this cash cow to its last drop (being as he seems a pretty smart person, i can't imagine that he enjoys it for anything but the money and the fame) -- i am really getting sick and tired of obnoxiously loud harvard types who after a few too many beers feel the incontrollable urge to shout 'izz naaahhys' and 'ahhh laaahhhhhyk' on mount auburn street, and subsequently double over in laughter at their original and refined sense of humor.
it's quite interesting to note that this is only the second script of william monahan (his first, 'kingdom of heaven', was produced in 2005). i've commented before about newcomer screenwriters, and recently i had another thought about that: anyone's first script (or first couple of scripts) is brewing in the writer's head for years. if he ends up writing a blockbuster, he needs to come up with just as many good ideas in one year. no wonder later scripts are not as great.
but last night i also thought how screenwriting is practically the only profession in hollywood where you can truly start at the top. i mean, what other cinematic trade can get you a blockbuster as your first project?
as another curiosity, this very local bostonian story was co-written by siu fai mak, a hong kong writer/director, who can count this as his first american movie.
so how does a hong kong native write a tale about tensions in south boston? this reminds me of a story james schamus once told an audience in jerusalem, describing the production of 'eat drunk man woman'. while schamus was struggling to get into the heads and culture of the chinese family he was writing, director ang lee gave the 'good machine' (now 'focus films') partner the following advice:
just find/replace all the names in the script with jewish american names, and write the story about a jewish family. it's exactly the same, trust me. then find/replace all the names back into the script.
schamus allegedly followed this advice and said it totally worked. i guess families are globally fucked up in exactly the same way everywhere.
too bad he accidentally forgot to change one of the names back to chinese - the youngest girl's friend at the fast food restaurant is, to this day, called 'rachel'.
motorola has sponsored a really cute animated ad for some mobile movie service (i assume) featuring a rabbit smoothly transitioning between the iconic shots of a dozen or so cinema classics.
just saw 'little miss sunshine' last night and i highly recommend it. as always - the less you know ahead of time, the better. having just watched the trailer, it definitely gives too much away.
michael arndt's script is bold, touching, and very funny, which made me immediately guess that this is his first script. one can now expect the pressure of his success to deem his future work boringly mainstream and safe.
don't know exactly how i came across it or what exactly it is, but it sort of caught on with me when i first watched episode 05: 'secrets of myspace at the workspace'. giving it the benefit of the doubt of having intentionally awkward characters and dialog, soup of the day is a pretty entertaining homegrown comedy.
when i looked for a real link to their website, however, i found it so annoying, horribly designed, and full of spoilers, that i refuse to link to it. you can google it youself if you want.
'the rules of attraction', 'i heart huckabees' and 'the three burials of melquiades estrada' have been added to my film list. 'a scanner darkly' has most definitely not been added.
as with these three, it continues to appear that most american movies i love - especially in recent years - turn out to be american / foreign coproductions.
update: added 'match point', too. also a coproduction it turns out.
the older i get, the more i get convinced that political debate does not reach its intended goal. that is, if the intended goal is for one party to persuade the other of its opinions. maybe the intended goal is just passing time, or entertaining. in which case, political debate works well enough.
people use so-called political debate mostly to reinforce their existing views. the only way people can really change their mind is by either studying (i.e. listening to someone else on a matter they have no knowledge or opinion of) or experiencing something first hand. this is why i increasingly believe that if i want someone to accept my views, i should lead by example, rather than explain why i think i'm right (or have people read my book list). the latter two will only work in the above mentioned two cases: you either don't claim knowledge on the matter, or you want to get more arguments for what you believe in anyway.
i'm starting to think that this phenomenon (not being able to be convinced by verbal communication) is an inherent human trait. call it a 'me-factor'. that this not-changing-your-mind is something etymologically important to us as humans almost the same way language itself is. not a big fan of evolutionary explanations, i'll just say that it might just be something deeply rooted in human nature to have to experience things yourself in order to shape your opinion. it's about dominance, perhaps. or about exploration. for humans, when they form their opinions based on experience, it feels a lot more like it's your own distillation of external facts as opposed to the redigestion of someone else's thoughts (to which we humans seem to be pretty opposed to). the satisfaction of reaching the opinion is much higher, as is our commitment to these new opinions.
propaganda movies pose a special case, which also explains their excess danger in the lineup of political tools. watching a movie seems to fall between the two extremes of verbal persuasion and first-hand experience. the fact that movies hold something of the 'magic of reality' or at least the pretense of objective representation (and i won't get into all that boring film theory stuff from college) makes the viewer believe they experienced something first hand. combining that with the 'me-factor' makes for a powerful mix.
still, films that are extremely different from your opinion will probably be filtered out. and the more educated masses are beginning to question the filmic medium's claim to objective representation, pushing political films more into the realm of 'someone else's opinion'. which is good.
just something i wanted to put out there for now.
i have just re-watched all episodes of the up series, still one of my favorite documentary projects ever made, tracking 14 people's lives from age 7 to today. it was the first time i watched '42 up' and i am eagerly looking forward to the just-released '49 up'.
if you're hooked on the show as i am (and if you're not, i strongly recommend that you start being), you will be interested to know that the '42 up' dvd includes a director's commentary track. this is a wonderfully open, at times regretful, always self-conscious but rarely apologetic, account of the making of this series with its ups and downs, its successes and failures, and most of all - director apted's loving and caring stories of his relationships with the people who star in the series.
if you're not yet familiar with this unique documentary endeavor, i think the best way to watch it is one episode a week or every 2 weeks, perhaps with a steady group of people. because of its strong repetivie nature, it is not so great to watch back-to-back. and also, the anticipation is really part of what makes this project work.
watching this series alone, or with friends, is bound to make you think about life, and isn't that what documentaries are all about? to my big surprise, i found myself mostly saying during 42 up: 'wow, their kids have really grown up since we last saw them'. like some old uncle.
rarely does an opinion column confuse me as did larry david's piece on 'brokeback mountain'. i'm still not clear what exactly he's trying to say, but i'm pretty sure he's trying to say something. i'll leave it to you to figure it out.
hebrew version on haaretz.
And I love gay people. Hey, I've got gay acquaintances. Good acquaintances, who know they can call me anytime if they had my phone number.
the interesting editing together with this strong cast creates a movie that is never dull, but left me with only a very slight post-viewing baggage, while i was expecting to be strongly moved.
in tolkien's words: 'there are some wounds that can never be wholly cured'. in mine: going back is never really an option. time and experience only really flow one way.
late last night, right a friend slipped us a pre-release dvd of von von von's self-documentary, 'von on von'. pretty damn hilarious. it's not even clear if you could call this a mockumentary, because this dude's whole life is like a mockuography.
von von von is supposedly the same dude who wrote a much-quoted college essay.
some quotes from 'von on von' (paraphrased):
i mean 40 million is comfortable, it's nice to have a limo idling outside, but you still have to look at the bill when you buy your girlfriend a new house. i wanted the kind of money where you don't have to worry about it anymore.
writing songs in new york is easy. they just come floating up from the streets. (pointing out the window of his penthouse) hey, there's one over there.
early in my life i realized that what i wanted to do in my life was to fly around the world and make love. then it struck me that a pop star does exactly that. that's when i started to take my music seriously.
watched 'revenge of the sith' today, and i didn't feel much other than compassion for the poor people who had to retouch this picture frame-by-frame. all-in-all it's a nicely executed unoriginal 75-minute-long computer animated fight sequence with a little too much bad acting and dialog thrown in. cut off 25 minutes and it would be perfect.
then i also found store wars today. pretty cute. also animated. acting - about the same.
message - mostly demagogy. notice how under 'taste' they didn't include any information except 'common sense dictates'. well common sense dictates a lot of stupid things.
the beat-up weakling with the southern drawl? the half-blind sage black cleaning guy played by ... no ... no don't tell me ... morgan freeman? the boxing match with the national insignia of germany (post iraq war evil russia?)? the respirator machine in the rehab center? the trailer park? the fucking cowboy hat? the evil manager, of course italian with the expensive suit and the gold jewelry? the lemon pie? the inn at the end of the road? the ghetto birthday cupcake with the solitary candle? the beat-down waitress? paying with change for something you really want? naturally, the boxing gym in the bad area of town. the boxes of letters, 'return to sender'? and the slow-motion of the injury?
the time magazine critics and i cross on the following masterpieces:
but what i love most about this movie is how it's able to describe the complexity of a three-part relationship by just keeping a still camera on three mostly silent actors. in some of the key shots everything that is to be said is said through the actors' body language and posture. and they're not even such great actors.
walking down the infinite corridor i was passing by a prominently (and perpendicularly) labeled men's room when a bunch of geeky high school students exited en masse underneath the big 'MEN' sign, putting on the best of their manly behavior, the kind that can only be displayed by teenagers in a slightly intimidating college surrounding.
if real life had slow-motion and bad disco music this would have been a wes anderson moment.
this weekend i've re-watched polanski's 'bitter moon'. this is my third viewing of the movie, with the last one being almost a decade away.
in my early twenties i thought that 'bitter moon' was the sexiest movie i could imagine. and yeah, it was also a little sad. today i find it less sexy and very very sad.
the acting and editing is getting a little outdated, but it's still one of the most powerful narratives about sex, love, lust, greed, matrimony, and desire that i can think of.
polanski is true to an artist's calling: taking our truths to extremes; not merely looking at the fire, but stepping in, coming back and showing us the burnmarks.
'bitter moon' also reminded me of a time when i felt that films were the highest form of human behavior. but i'm assuming it's only because it reminded me of the mid-nineties.
at one point gondry said (relating to the fact that he doesn't like to do too many commercials) that whenever he does something he tries to think what his high-school buddies with the punk rock mentality would think about him, back then. he imagines that he goes back to show them and he couldn't stand them "telling" him in his mind that he betrayed them. "i only want to feel that i didn't betray them". call it immature or naive, but i think it's a pretty good measure to keep as you grow up. maybe not your high school buddies, but i do think that there's no happiness in succeeding through a betrayal of the basic things you believe in.
But more than anything I couldn't help but notice how much fun the crew must have had making the movie. It is chock-full of just random jokes and ideas, some so psychedelic that they make no sense in the script except that someone was like "wouldn't it be cool if" and then the director and producers were just 'hey - go ahead and do that, if our employees have fun (and not just in the mission statement), the movie will be fun'.
This as opposed to pixar movies (including the great 'incredibles') that really give off a sense of hard work and a tight-run ship more than anything else.
as part of the master class (which wasn't really a master class at all), leacock showed an ad he made for at&t in the 60s or 70s, which i really wish i could put my hands on. in the same verité documentary style, we see an at&t employee trying to explain to a defiant old lady that she can't keep her old phone number. the lady avoids all eye contact as she walks into her kitchen past the camera and mutters 'well then i don't want my phone at all', 'but look mama' says the young engineer, 'there's nothing i can do - you moved to a different district, we can't give you your old number'. this goes on for a while without resolution, and eventually we cut from the frustrated situation to the at&t logo, reading 'at&t - part of your everyday life'.
after a hiatus (in which we shot the live action, and i was just busy), i've started to build a new miniature house for that music video. this time around it's a warehouse. watch it come together over the next few days.
also i heard a rumour that michel gondry will be checking out the project, which - while it's not really my own project - i still find mighty cool.
today was another work day on my miniature house for the stop-motion music video.
i finished the paint job, dirtied it up (too much) and made the windows and window panes, which was quite the strain on my patience, OCD or not.
sorry for the crappy cellphone camera pictures. real pictures will be up eventually.
on the official web site of the project you can see some photos from the very involved live shoot. it was quite surprising to work with very professional artists, who were not pretentious at all. professional + artists + not pretentious...i didn't know that existed. fun.
foreign films are great. they're so subtle.
but really, life's more precise than any script you can write. so let's hear it for cinema verité.
if you prefer size over quality, there's also a hi-res version that's a little grainier.
much of what you see and hear can be attributed to the fact that we just spent a night (not) sleeping in the car to save on hotel bills.
and the funny thing is that just because it's in a foreign language, these things are sometimes considered high art. if you ask me - 'y tu mama tambien' is basically this, in spanish.
the details are: thursday feb.3 4:30pm, pound hall 102.
i wonder if a second screening will be as impressive, the discussion should be fun nonetheless. chatting about how robots are going to change our lives has been a favorite pastime since homo sapiens started walking the face of the earth.
people tell me to wear a turtleneck and grow a goatie, but i'm not sure i can pull #2 off in time.
also, and my female accomplice concurred, it's definitely a male movie, not a chick-flick (hey - there's even a sentence there saying 'you're looking for a girl? ha! ain't we all?').
i loved the special effects, and the sound design was brilliant. whenever the hundreds of tons of steel almost skidded into a huge frozen rock, my testosterone made me a very happy person. it made me want to (quoting an old lover of mine) kill a large animal and carry it home over my blood stained shoulder.
oh, and next time i'm going for a square simple house with no towers or any such bullshit. because that roof was really a mean motherfucker. the seemingly nicely located 4 corners do not define a plane. close to the tower the roof is almost vertical, while at the other end it's much more horizontal. i'm thinking of maybe adding a rain pipe along the edge to tie it together a bit.
this month i'm helping out with a stop-motion compositing project here at m.i.t. yesterday i took a shot at designing and building a miniature apartment building for the set.
as part of the production email exchange, i got this link with the comment: 'if you'd like to see an example of how *not* to do compositing of live-action people into a non-live-action world, watch the trailer'.
nr. 1 turnoff in men or women: people who take themselves seriously.
on that note, cynthia did finally drag me to 'i ❤ huckabees' and she was right: i loved it. chances are that you will, too - but it's best not to know anything about the movie before you go (as it is with most movies).
it also made me inexplicably horny.
another tip - the strawberry something ice cream at j.p. licks, which was not only perfect for the weather, but i was also allowed to take into the movie by the nice and regulation-ignoring staff at the somerville theater.
added dogville to the film list
still haven't decided if i hated it or loved it, but since i am pretty sure that i hate most movies, this one gets the benefit of the doubt.
that's what happens when you still think that lending your r.e.m cd to someone who doesn't give it back is about the greatest loss you can imagine.
random thought #2 - the track from the thievery corporation reminded of of the one time that i was let in past all the lines of people waiting, and across the red ropes into a thievery concert, and had me get a close look at the vodka-by-the-liter drinking mafiosos of new york's unattainable high society.
some kids did a shot-by-shot remake of raider of the lost arc.
now that might seem like a smart idea when you're 11 years old. but 6 years later, when the film is finally shot, seeing all of your puberty in 90 minutes might not be the greatest of thrills.
a cult in the making, there's a one-off screening at the coolidge on monday.
will i go? no.
because instead of cheering for indiana jones who looks 11 in one shot and 17 in the next, i have to be in chicago dipping carrots in low-fat sauce with some nasa geeks.
god doesn't like me this week.
or maybe he's just angry at me for my new theory, which can be summed up as 'if god wanted me to be religious, he would have made me religious.'
thing was the airplane entertainment system kept crashing, so every 5 or 10 minutes you had to re-choose the movie and the crew only sort of knew where the movie stopped when the system went down.
'oh i wish i had some honey bunches of oats', says the well-trained american refugee. 'or some mountain dew red alert'. brands are american culture. and guess who's making a buck out of it. not you.
"i'm like a visitor in my own town. life went on without me. there's nothing there for me now.
nice column, tony style, although i would be hard-pressed to agree with his claim that there were "both sides being represented", and i outright laugh when i read jeff jarvis being called "logical", unless that was meant to be sarcastic.
Ironically, Moore ignores the fact that he too is making a hefty profit from this war. Like all propagandists, Moore fails to perceive himself as part of the problem.
no spoilers. just thoughts.
this is the best the average consumer can stomach: image, image, image, flash, simplified claim, flash, soundbyte, image. i mean, seriously, who knows this better than the white house and fox news?
my guess is - it will soar.
and since everyone and their mothers are busting balls about this movie that it makes you sick, and i definitely have nothing to add on this topic, i'll just quote tony:
youre a dog in a dirty fight. the other dog is definately deceitful and mistrustful, and ugly, and selfish, and solely interested in its own agenda. the other dog told the nation that there were definately weapons of mass destruction in iraq and that those weapons needed to be removed in order to protect america. and yet some liberals are trying to pretend that that dog's inaccuraccy is on the same level as yours.
today i feel like james stewart in rear window. my iced, sprained ankle is propped up as i'm trying to write my column about the mysterious disappearance of super blogger layne johnson.
see, i understand that you let an intern animate the little poodle. and here's something i didn't know about poodles: apparently their legs are made out of water-filled rubber.
a psychologist couldn't have set up a more interesting experiment: two countries sharing a common century-long history, totally blocked off for 40 years dictated by completely opposing political philosophy. then, in one stroke, one country is absorbed into the other, discarding all national symbols and just becoming part of something else. part of the enemy.
wondering what the single most influential movie i've seen in my life was, there was a simple answer: michael apted's "21". it suddenly hit me that for some reason, i didn't have that one on my film list.
now i do.
for good measure i also added "28 up".
always having had a weakness for the useless, there are few things more offputting in my eyes than people taking themselves seriously.
that's why i'm so happy that coffee + cigarettes is out at cinemas near me. ever since i saw that first benigni + wright clip in 1997 or so, i had a subtle obsession with this strange production.
these days i'm un-cool-ly off both.
Too bad most people who want to be filmmakers are sociopaths and control freaks. Myself included.
appropriate to today's color scheme (it was rainbow colored, in case you are reading this late), i watched eytan fox's 'yossi and jagger' tonight. it made me slightly homesick, but more importantly i found it to be a pretty decent movie for israeli standards and was really moved by parts of it.
jim cantalupo, near-anonymous head of one of the most influential organizations in the world, has passed away "suddenly and unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack" yesterday morning.
this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of the award-winning documentary super size me, opening in theaters may 7. honestly, the trailer is not very promising (as in 'could have told the story in 15 minutes'), but i'm willing to be surprised.
"in the next two years we will find out if it is possible to be creative in this great and loving country and to own what you create" (whoa on the overdramatization here)
looking for something completely different i ran into a clip i saw a while back, so i thought i'd link on to it as long as i know where it is. this very cool 15 second valentines video is called "combo" and was filmed in two single-shots by james jung-hoon seo of the late "aesthetics and computation" group headed by john maeda. there's also a slowed down version and more video experimentations to be found on james's site.
watching it again just now, i realize that this was shot in the supermarket just a block away from where i live now, a place i do much of my shopping these days. it's always weird and fun to recognize a familiar place that you saw a while back when it was still unfamiliar and trying to put youself back in a state of innocence - trying to feel what it felt like to not know the place. it's like listening to a language you know and trying to imagine what it would sound like if you didn't know the language. pretty impossible thought experiment.
p.s.: notice the cool date today?
admit it: "time" is the true god of relationships. it stands right there in bed with you and asserts its presence separating the first week of lovemaking from the second year of sleeping together. time, god, will make you break up from a partner that was perfect for you two years ago, even if the person hasn't changed. time has passed, and it will not leave without its due sacrifice. time brings you closer together and equally tears you apart. it leads your love life, but also crushes your relationships like flies.
added "l.a. confidential" to the film list. a very smooth gangster flick. nothing too pretentious, and the many characters on the set all have honest and credulous dilemmas. i've been told to watch this movie for years, and now i finally have. not on my top ten list, but definitely a fine way to spend two hours outside your own head.
as long as i was at it, also added "wonder boys" by the same director, curtis hanson.
well, well. who woulda thought, but this summer we will see yet another identical science fiction movie with all the same identical scenes and puns and computer graphics. and there's even a quaint mama-kid relationship with sexy hardcore action hero will smith.
just in case you want to see the by now standard 7-minute all-giveaway trailer, in which you will see absolutely every last interesting shot from the movie, be my guest.
How can our young people drink in through their eyes a continuous spectacle of intense and strained activity and feeling without harmful effects? Parents and teachers will do well to guard the young against overindulgence in the taste for the "movie".
pak's short films use robots as a vehicle to unveil our inability to cope with what we crave. this can be a child, a slave to do our dirty work, or the promise of immortality. the director envisions a future in which every additional dream-come-true opens the door to more questions as to the dark side of our human nature. i wouldn't call pak apocalyptic, but he definitely has his doubts as to the future of our relationship with the tools that we create.
added "leaving las vegas" and "midnight cowboy" to the film list (thanks gauri). also added "lost in translation" without other people's help.
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content here by guy hoffman .. as seen times since march 2004