One book!

If you are to read one single book this summer – let it be David Nicholl’s “One Day”!

Åsa Bernlo

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The perseverance of a pedometer

The festival staff has been counting their steps for the last eleven weeks now. Shoes have been worn out, pacts have been formed and one after the other the plastic pedometers attached to our hips have been giving in and gone blank on us.

It all started out as a frantic hunt for the best score of the week. Then came the phase of picking the materials best suited for the purpose. Some pants gave better results than others; the question was if maximizing it would be considered doping? As winter gave way to spring, new ways of attaching the pedometer to nylon stockings and other undergarments were found and discussed at length. People around us were getting sooooo boooored with all the talk of steps and counting steps and our smug faces in general.

And then, suddenly the novelty of it was gone. The plastic cubes on our hips were just there. Silent. Sometimes irritating. Often, just there. Not even interesting to the security checks at airports. Just there. – Until yesterday, when the competition was coming close to the end and team no 1 slipped of and surprised the rest of us by walking the entire Göteborgs Varvet in an afternoon!

With a very scary determination, this was apparently something they’d been planning all along. Being a member of team no 2 – there is really only one way to tackle this sudden development. We have to smile and congratulate them on their great effort, while silently crying on the inside for not planning something equally sly ourselves, and start scheming for what autumn might bring…

Meanwhile – we can all prepare by a tour in their cunning tracks!

Åsa Bernlo

Hammer drill hell

I’m trying very hard to focus on different reports and budgets and…. Aghhhah…Not being interrupted by the piercing sound of someone going crazy with different kinds of power tools, on what sounds as a very, very stubborn wall/floor/gigantic block of marble somewhere very close to my desk.

I’ve tried to be patient. Tried to ignore it. Even tried to imagine the possibility of a new Rodin making his/her mark on the world in the room just above my head. But my patience is coming to an end here. The sound is jumping around in the building. Moving from one corner of my room to the next. And it’s changing. The tone is varying from a fierce high-pitched shriek to a denser, and bit more tolerable, groan. With a shade more rhythm to it, and performed at some duskily lit bar where senses could be dimmed by a bit of strong liquor, it might have been entertaining. But in broad daylight and with no dance qualities to it at all, it is just driving me mad.

So much so that I have actually started to care about the weather forecast. Not so much for the bride and groom to be. Sorry, Victoria and Daniel, however much I hope for the two of you to have a wonderful wedding – my plans for Midsummer are just far more important right now. And so I turn to http://www.yr.no for a bit of guidance and hope. Looking at the bright yellow sun-signs spreading all over the south of France is the next best thing to filling your ears with paper regain focus in desperate close-to-vacation-times such as these! So let there be sun and silence – not necessarily in that order…

Åsa Bernlo

Celebrations are in order

Judging from the seven films I’ve seen so far this Cannes it’s hard to believe that there are any independent, hard working and intelligent women in the world.

Judging from real life – there most certainly is!

On screen the female characters are either very young and naked, or very old and disappointed at life, most of them because no one is interested in seeing them naked any longer.

On screen, it seems, women have rarely anything better to do than find reasons to sleep with much older, and much more secure men. No wonder they can’t find time to have a career or read books or go to the supermarket. Unless they do it naked. That last part is not something I made up. Someone else did. Someone actually wrote a script where a very young, very attractive girl gets so confused getting out of the shower and having to answer the phone in a hurry, that she forgets to put on her clothes and walks out into the streets stark naked. She manages to get into a pair of pink boots and tie them – but the rest is just a haze to her. We are supposed to laugh at this. But it’s kind of hard to do that if you have at least half a brain and the least bit of faith in humanity. It rather makes you wonder what series of really bad choices the scriptwriter, producer and then director made in actually going through with that scene. And why no one had the sense to stop them while there was still time.

Fiction is fantastic. But when it time after time depicts a world that is about as far from reality that it is possible to get without loosing all respect for half of the world’s population – it just stops being interesting for the right reasons and starts being freakishly wrong.

The silver lining here is that there are endless examples of female talent in reality. Even on the big screen. The amount of effort it must take to get into character and give life to some of the horribly stupid scripts that are out there is admirable to say the least. And the numerous examples of fantastic producers, directors and other film professionals, male or female, who work on actually making sense, are amazing too.

The good thing about ignorance and unintelligence is that it makes for a very good backdrop, as it lets the good things in life stand out so much more clearly. So today we celebrate that at our party on the beach. That, and Nordic film in general, and the growing Dragon Award Best Nordic Film, and Cia’s birthday, and Eva’s brand new PhD, and producer on the move and festival friend Lizette Jonjic’s successful work with Hakon Liu on “Miss Kicki” (that got selected as one of Variety’s top ten critics’ choice!) and all those good things that gives one a chance to think long and hard on how to view the world!

Åsa Bernlo

Terrible Tuesdays

Tuesdays are, purely scientifically, the worst days of the week. They just rest there, in between the ever so productive and useful (ok, a bit tired) Mondays and the mild and happy Wednesdays – reeking with malignity, ready to throw any kind of trouble your way.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Maybe it’s just this Tuesday in particular when I have to deal with my former landlord and the fact that he left half a ton of ice and snow on his roof so that it eventually fell down on our parked car and left it a sorry heap of metal and broken glass?

Maybe it’s just that yesterday’s dinner at the county governor was so interesting and enjoyable that today’s first cup of coffee seems a bit pale in comparison?

Anyway – I’m bracing myself for what today might bring!

Making up for the possible horribleness of today I have a meeting with one of the festival’s board members, AnnKi, who always makes me feel happy and ready to deal with new things. She is truly a great person. And there is also the new urge to learn how to waltz (preferably in a gorgeous dress, in the sunset somewhere on a bridge, where it feel quite appropriate to sip on a glass of very dry and very cold champagne, thank you very much!) that sprung from hearing the absolutely fantastic band Tira Vento last night!

Ok – bring it on, Tuesday. Lets see what you got!

Åsa Bernlo

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Fog, females and simple facts

A thick fog is rolling in over Göteborg this afternoon and it’s cold, cold, cold!

Good thing we’ve got things to celebrate. Like International Women’s Day and coincidently Kathryne Bigelow becoming the first woman ever to be awarded an Oscar for best director with The Hurt Locker.

In some ways it feels strange that one should even think about it as something worth mentioning. A film is a film and a filmmaker a filmmaker, no matter what gender or colour of hair or breakfast habits or attitude towards fish, breastfeeding or golf they might have. But then again ignorance lurks in the most peculiar places. And ignorance is far from bliss in my opinion.

I once knew a guy who firmly believed that nothing written by any female writer could ever neither concern nor touch him. So he had made a very deliberate choice not to read anything written by a woman. He used to say this with a very convincing and mature tone in his voice. An achievement in itself as he can’t have been more than maybe 23 at the time. Even so, he got a great deal of attention for this. Some even nodded and looked as if he’d put the finger on something worth thinking about and taking to heart. And I guess there are more than enough books by men in this world to make it last for a good lifetime, but I can’t help pitying him anyway. Not only because what he said exposed him as the utter fool he so desperately tried not to look like, but because it’s also very likely that he is still that stupid as he must have missed out on half of the world’s knowledge and ideas by now.

Deciding on not caring, taking part or acting is about as intelligent as deciding on not breathing. There is a whole world out there ready to be enjoyed and argued with and sometimes hated for all the wrong or right reasons. Half of that world is made up of women. Ignoring us isn’t only rude it’s flat out dense. Ignorance is not bliss and until stupidity is erased then maybe we have to point out how very strange it is that there has never been a female recipient of a directing award at the Oscar’s before now. And the next time that something strikes us as odd – we have to point it out once more. Again and again.

Åsa Bernlo

Ps. Speaking of choices – here is one more idea. Take a look and decide what you think: The (second) Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See