Sunday, January 22, 2006

Caché and shitty subtitling

I went to Caché, a French movie on Saturday morning. I got free tickets from the IFI by responding quickly to one of their newsletters. The film itself was quite good all the way up the conclusion, or should I say the inconclusion. The movie is about a family who receive a series of video tapes of them, their house and other interesting locations (I don't want to give anything away) which basically freaks them out and leads them on a hunt for the perpetrator. The last few moments of the film reveal some vital information about who might have done it but rather than that leading to a dénoument (fuck it, I watched a French film at the IFI, I'm entitled to use words like that), the credits roll and you're left feeling cheated out of 2 and a bit hours of your life. Either that or you're left feeling smug and superior because you appreciate film as a medium and have no need for the cheap emotional kick of a plot resolution - it's enough to simply contemplate this "compelling, urgently relevant, insidiously unsettling masterpiece". If you felt the latter, then I hope you choke on your own goatee.

Such was the frustration that one audience member stood up at the end and said "before we all leave, does anybody know who did it?" A brave move in a room with a high percentage of berrets, neckerchiefs and overly-thick-framed black glasses

The other annoyance was the subtitles. Mostly they were OK but there is one scene where the white subtitles are on a white background and are incredibly difficult to read. It's 2006 for fuck's sake, why do we still have to put up with this crap?

Next time I go to a movie with crappy subtitles I'm asking for my money back, everyone should do the same.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Public Buggery

The death sentence is an ineffective deterrent. Most people think, "it'll never happen to me". People have an irrational belief in their own immortality, possibly because to believe otherwise would be unbearable. So, given the many other problems attached to the death sentence, it's just not a good idea and should be scrapped wherever it is still on the books.

With no death penalty, what is the harshest deterrent we have? Life imprisonment? Pretty bad but lacking a certain sharpness. Corporal punishment? Still used in some parts of the world but for some criminals it's just a rite of passage. So what's a real deterrent?

My guess is that your average criminal has a fairly healthy fear of buggery but without the same irrational belief that it could never happen to them. So what we need is to introduce public buggery as a punishment for serious crimes. Imagine the scene in the courtroom. The judge hears the guilty verdict from the jury and then, turning to the defendant, he places a pink cap over his wig and says "For the heinous crimes you have committed, I sentence you to be taken from here to a public place where you will receive a vigourous and unlubricated seeing-to by a man of not less than 8 inches." A scene which would strike fear into the hearts of the most hardened criminals.

There are several advantages to this. Unlike capital punishment, public buggery is not permanent and so a miscarriage of justice while unfortunate, is not such a disaster. Also, you could sell tickets and TV/video rights.

There are some problems though. There are those who would be only too happy to receive such a sentence and it would be terrible to have people committing serious crimes in the hope of receiving this punishment. So it would probably be necessary to make it available on the National Health. Every cloud has a silver lining - this would create jobs.

It's one of those 1 in a million ideas with no downsides!