Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Word Wednesday

The Swedish Chief

I'm currently reading "The Fifth Woman", by Henning Mankell. It's a Swedish crime novel about Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team, who are trying to catch a serial killer. I don't know too much about Sweden, except that it's cold, but I always imagine everything to be clean, with pine self-assembly furniture in light, airy houses.

The Wallander books give this impression too. Everyone is very friendly (apart from the murderer and some vigilantes), the trains run on time, and the police don't attempt to rough up suspects during interrogation. Nor is there any corruption, or undue pressure from politicians, unlike in the excellent Greek "Inspector Haritos" series.

Anyway, I'm 4/5ths of the way through it, so hopefully soon they'll catch the killer and stop the carnage, and peace and tranquility can once again return to the town of Ystad. Until the next book, of course.

Film Review

Talking about Swedish things, I finally managed to watch the whole of Ingmar Bergman's film "The Passion of Anna". It's in Swedish, but luckily there were Greek subtitles on the DVD. I've attempted this several times (in fact, I think I mentioned trying to watch it once before), but always manage to fall asleep, or lose the will to live, about half way through.

The plot, such as it is, is about a reclusive chap who's wife gave up and left him some years previously. His neighbours, who live so far away that he's never met them before, are an architect with a love of photography and his wife, who spends a night with our hero. The next thing you know (or did I fall asleep and miss a bit?), he's shacked up with Anna, who was staying with his neigbours while she recovered from a road accident that killed her child and husband. Then she leaves him. The end.

There aren't many laughs in this, and there are another three DVDs in the box set. I only got it because it was on special offer in HMV. One of them is apparently full of explicit sado-masochistic sex. I'll attempt to provide reviews, if I manage to watch any of them.

Brian's Verdict: Like the characters, drink copious quantities of whisky throughout. Keep the razor blades locked away.

The Matrix on Windows

And finally. I thought this was hilarious and very well done.


Chris Wood said...


(does bizarre ritualistic torch dance of celebration)

Chris Wood said...

That Matrix video was superb.

As to Bergman, I thought all of his films were in a Carry On / Animal House style? No? My bad.

Brian o vretanos said...


Blimely, that was quick! I've only seen two of Bergman's films, and neither of them were from what afficionados refer to as his "Gros Oot" period. I'll keep a look out for those...

Anndi said...

I like swedish berries...

Loved the video!

Bee said...

I'll have to come back to see the video because I am slaving away or wasting away or just away.

I have never seen any Bergman films, although I was once compared to him by someone we both know but now I realize it was an INSULT.

I like chocolate.

Kat said...

I love me some Wallander crime novels. I have read quite a few. My in-laws have a house in Middle-Sweden and we've been to visit quite a few times. Love it there.

Jean Knee said...

many times I have lost the will to live halfway through a film or novel

within 5 minutes of my MIL"S visit

the video wouldn't play for me, I'll try again.

for a different kind of girl said...

In the words of Chris Wood, that Matrix video was indeed superb.

I will not even consider giving the time necessary to sit through a Bergman film, and yet, I just killed off quite a lengthy stretch watching clips on Thank you, Brian.

Dan said...

Just ONE of Keanu Reeves great movies.

Brian o vretanos said...


I've never tried the berries - the only Swedish delicacy I've eaten are the meatballs.


I can't think who would want to insult you ;-)


The books are great. I was looking at pictures of Skane on Google Earth - it looks like an amazingly picturesque place.

Jean Knee:

Maybe you should try reading some less "deep" books?


That video site is far more entertaining than Bergman ;-)


The other one being "Speed".

Tracys Ramblings said...


Tracys Ramblings said...

I've never really thought about Sweden much but when I have I've always imagined the women in those frilly dresses, braids that curl upwards, and wooden shoes. It seems to me that it would be hard to be a sneaky killer while wearing those wooden shoes though.

Brian Dear, that movie sounds dreadful! Why would you put yourself through such torture? I suggest you go out and get Briget Jones' Diary (both movies) and Gone With The Wind immediately to save yourself from wanting to jump off a bridge from that movie!

Brian o vretanos said...


I think they wear clogs in Holland, because they have cobbles and everything's flat. In Sweden, I expect they wear tough leather boots, waterproofs and thick coats. The murderer is a woman who is 6ft tall and very strong, so she's able to torture and cruelly murder her victims.

I wanted to watch Bergman because people rave about how great he is. I suspect they say that because they didn't understand it and want to seem intellectual. His film of the Magic Flute was okay, as I remember.

I wouldn't want to watch Briget Jones. Once was enough.

mrs.cupcake said...

love the video

Dan said...

what about...
The Devils Advocate
Point Break
A Walk in the Clouds

I never saw the last one, someone said it was good.

Brian o vretanos said...

Mrs C:



I've only seen the Devil's Advocate. But you've got a point. I think we can add it to his list of good films.

Diva said...

I have the same idea about what life would be like in certain places. The homes, the atmosphere...