Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Check Yo Self

My first run through of a complete three hour sample paper today and it was a bit of a shock to the system, mainly to my writing hand which is not used to that sort of punishment. I totted up my marks, and got thirty six marks on the multi-choice section which put me comfortably in sight of the minimum pass mark of forty even before I started on the longer written answers. I struggled with the question on serializable objects, so I need to do a bit more work on that tomorrow before trying another paper.

In other news, we've watched a couple of dvds from Lovefilm recently and they couldn't have been more different. Firstly was 'The Social Network', a dramatised account of the development of Facebook in the far distant dawn of time (eight years ago). It took a little while to get tuned into the way that everybody talksreallyquicklyallthetimewithoutpausingforbreath and every so often there is a scene at a party or night club with REALLY LOUD MUSIC and important plot developments muttered in the background and that's before you realise that half the movie is flash forwards to two different legal actions four years in the future. Or something. Anyhoo, it's a gripping tale that portrays Mark Zuckerberg as part genius and part borderline sociopath, who ends up surrounded with chancers, legal sharks and a financially naive best friend who acts as CFO of the company and ends up getting royally shafted by not reading the small print on a contract. Or something. This might sound like a negative review, but it isn't. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it is scary to realise how much the world has been changed in the last couple of years by something that started as nothing more than a cruel frat boy prank on an ex girlfriend.

The second film was Of Gods and Men, based on the true story of a monastery of French monks living in a small village in the Atlas mountains in Algeria. They lead a simple existence - growing vegetables, selling honey at the market and providing medical services to the impoverished local villagers, intertwined with the religious rituals of monastic life. When they are caught between the threat of brutal Jihadi terrorists and the resentful presence of the government militia who see the monks as the remnant of a colonial past, they are faced with a dilemma. Should they abandon their life and calling, and return to the safety of France or stay and hope that they will be left alone? The film is beautifully shot and almost glacially slow, allowing you to appreciate the simplicity of the life of the monastery, before gradually increasing the sense of impending dread as the outside world impinges. Worth seeing.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I really enjoyed The Social Network, though felt a bit uncomfortable realizing that it was a probably unfairly negative portrayal of someone who is still alive and not that far away in time from the events. But a fascinating story. Jesse Eisenberg is my favorite young actor these days, but my favorite performance was Justin Timberlake's wheeling-dealing Sean Parker.

Your review of Of Gods and Men really makes me want to see it. I'll put it on my Netflix queue.