Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am only going to say this once, but if you'd prefer an actually factual account of what it is I do with my time, or some version of it, or at least a really similar outline...head over to my friend Alex's blog.  He's writing about what we ACTUALLY do here, and his entry "I Beat You Here, Obama!" is a much better story about the field study for our Copenhagen History class than I will ever write.

This is mostly because I consider (if you hadn't noticed) writing meanderingly about swans dying and the feeling of being an outsider better suited to my skill sets than documenting what happens on a daily basis.  Already, the almost six weeks of living here have become a generalized feeling, a sort of residual blur of Copenhagen and Denmark much more than a series of perfectly remembered events and outings.  The feeling changes many times a day, depending on how many times a Dane has bumped into me without saying "unskyld," how much coffee I've spilled on my shirt, and how many stairs I've fallen down, with my happiness usually proportional to the amount of time I've spent writing or reading in cafes about town.

Tonight, DIS "partially subsidized" (we'll see what exactly that means when I turn in my receipt tomorrow) a trip to the movies for my roommate and I.  We saw "Inglourious Basterds, which was an unusual experience on a few levels.  First of all, I had no idea what to expect, and had a surprisingly emotional reaction to the last half hour or so of the film.  Second of all, the scenes are performed in German, French, English, and occasionally Italian, and not always all at the same time.  Because this was a Danish theater, obviously, the subtitles were all in...Danish.  Meaning that I only understood, on my own, about a quarter of the dialogue.  

Fortunately, Mira was kind, and occasionally whispered translations to me-- she speaks all of the languages, and Swedish and Spanish besides.  I actually had a fun, if difficult, time trying to grasp at the situations where the spoken language was French or German.  I found myself reading the Danish subtitles pretty frequently, and to my surprise, I understood  a good 50% of the scenes through that-- and my rusty Spanish came in handy when I tried listening to the French.  I should mention that READING Dansk is a good dozen times easier than speaking it.  I understand a hefty amount of written Danish by now, but have yet to master the pronunciation, by Danish standards, of a single phrase.  I think Mira was a little taken aback-- and hopefully impressed-- with the amount I was able to glean for myself through the subtitles.  No offense to her native tongue, but Danish doesn't seem to be as nuanced or as direct as English, and that does make it easier to read.  I remember at one point, all Brad Pitt said onscreen was "No, you can't" or something, and the Danish translation was a good seven or eight words long to convey the same idea.

As for my thoughts on the movie, those are harder to articulate.  I've never seen something that so exuberantly revises history or so shamelessly eroticizes violence (except for other Tarantino films, naturally).  I was moved more than any other Tarantino film by the emotion of the idea, and I think a lot of the execution surpassed my own expectations.  The last third of the movie fell apart, in my opinion, but not to the detriment of the flabbergasting first two.  Overall, definitely worth seeing, and I don't think you can leave the theater without forming some strong opinion on it one way or the other.

P.S.  Since a few people reading want to hear my thoughts on the current/new season of "House," but even more people probably don't, I'll keep it short: still one of the best shows on television/not at all up to its own standard.  I more or less entirely agree with this short review by an enlightened TV critic.


  1. I am impressed that you can use "rusty" Spanish to understand even a little French. Those have got to be the two furthest removed from each other of any of the romance languages.

  2. I don't know about that! Maybe. I'm not a linguist, but my sister speaks French and I always studied Spanish, and we often taught each other here and there a bit of each and compared the two.