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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Maybe We Should Teach Teenagers About Pornography

The Daily Mail (or Daily Fail, as I prefer to call it), printed a website article on Sunday 28th April, from the twisted and demented mind of national bigot and infamous tabloid hack Melanie Phillips - an individual, who is always up-in-arms over something or other. The article - which you can read  here  was commenting on an idea that is currently being discussed, over whether it is right or not to teach teenagers (children in UK High Schools, aged 14 and over) about pornography.

In typical Daily Fail fashion, Phillips was decrying how a nation such as ours could even contemplate teaching teenagers about pornography. To her, that is akin to teaching our youngsters how to smoke cocaine, or how to make a sophisticated nail-bomb. But then, everything in the world of the Daily Fail has to involve protecting kids from anything, everything, that is remotely harmful, even at the expense of sensible adult freedoms.

In the world of Melanie Phillips, all kids would be wrapped-up in cotton wool, from birth until the age of 18, locked in a room at their parents home, and be force-fed nothing more than passages from the Bible, water and gruel, and parents would be forced to teach kids that the world is a horrific, dangerous place in which every adult (and child) has to be feared, less they knife you to death, or attempt to groom you for some hidden, underground paedophile ring, where you'd be passed around a group of 20 or 30 Islamic men, like a plate of naked-and-bound after-dinner mints. They'd then be turfed out of the parental home at 18, and be told to get a job, and don't come back until you're a fully-fledged and mature adult.

Clearly, this is not the real world, but it is the one that Ms Phillips inhabits.

Anyone in the UK who has ever witnessed one of her "performances" on BBC1's political discussion show QUESTION TIME, will know exactly what I mean. This is a woman who, in 2011, won gay-right's charity Stonewall's infamous Bigot Of The Year Award, for claiming that by teachers and educational establishments teaching children about gay men and women, was akin to "the UK government brainwashing children", an "abuse of childhood", and part of a "ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour". She really is as bigoted and abhorrent as those words sound.

Anyway, I digress.

We all know about pornography. Most of us, irrespective of our gender, have discovered it by our teens. Some of us discovered it earlier, whether it be a picture of a topless woman or naked man in a pornographic magazine, or from a sex scene in a Hollywood film, most of us discover sex and pornography at a fairly early stage in our lives. And whilst sex, nudity and pornography are not the same things, they are all linked. One, in general, cannot exist without the others.

Now not all pornography is the same. That goes without saying. There is pornography, and then there's pornography! What seems to get Phillips up-in-arms is even the remotest concept that teachers even mention this dreaded word, let alone attempt to teach and educate teenagers about it. Considering the UK has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Western World, as shown by a 2001 UNICEF Survey discussed  here  on Wikipedia, the whole issue of pornography and sex education needs a radical overhaul. We can no longer keep denying kids from proper sex education, as the rates of teen pregnancy continue to grow, and then complain about it afterwards. There appears to be a direct causal link between pregnancy rates amongst teenagers and the lack of a decent sex education.

If we want teenagers to stop having sex so young, and to stop young teenage girls from getting pregnant, then we need to start having better, more detailed, and possibly more explicit sex-ed.

But back to the porn. Teenagers and kids (over the age of 8 or 9) are accessing porn. This can be in various methods, though a lot of articles and newspaper stories seem to imply that it's mostly done online, either via the Internet, or Internet-connected Smartphones. (And that's another bugbear of mine: what kind of young kid needs the likes of an iPhone or a Blackberry, for goodness sake?! Usually ones whose parents can't say "no" to their own offspring! However, that's another issue for another time.) Porn isn't all bad, but it does depend on what kind of porn you are accessing. There's also different kinds of porn: still images, animations, video clips, and full-length movies. I would argue that seeing a still image or picture of someone performing a sexual act, is less likely to disturb a young teenager, than a 90-minute DVD movie might do, in which you can watch in unedited, real-time the same act. This is obviously dependant on the teenager themselves, the detail of the activity in the image or film sequence, and their own maturity or lack thereof!

However, no one here - and especially Melanie Phillips - has attempted to define what we are going to label as pornography. Is pornography a picture of a topless women on Page 3 of THE SUN newspaper? Is it a glossy, airbrushed photo of a full-length nude in PLAYBOY? Is pornography the sex scene at the beginning of the film BASIC INSTINCT (1990, Paul Verhoeven)? Or is the hardcore clip of a couple in a non-consensual, BDSM-infused scene viewed on the Net?

Depending on who you speak too, will depend on the answer you get. Pornography is a picture or moving image that is designed to create a feeling of sexual arousal in the viewer. Well, to be fair, that covers a wide spectrum of stuff. And in this day-and-age of numerous sexual proclivities, be it BDSM, bondage, plushies, cock-and-ball-torture, sensory-deprivation, leather, lace, dog-collars, whipping, or genital mutilation, that's a large gamut of proclivities that could potentially be arousing to someone, somewhere. If you start thinking of all of the non-sexual stuff that people "get-off" on, then you can include things as wide-ranging as the smell of freshly baked bread, rubber clothing, feathers, lace, cutlery, sticky foods, and a million other potential items. In essence, what might turn on one person may be wholly unsexually stimulating to another. It's horses-for-courses, as they say. You'd be surprised about what objects can turn the human mind and body on! And it's not restricted to just the obvious things either!

With that said, why should we not teach teenagers about porn? Why should we not explain that this stuff exists, that it comes in a variety of different sorts and strengths? That some porn can be acceptable to the masses, whilst other porn may not? That porn can be both consensual and non-consensual? That it can be aimed at men, women, gay, straight, bisexual, or transgendered people? That porn can cover everything from a simple basic sex scene to a full-on, extremely brutal BDSM session?

Clearly, I'm not advocating that we start teaching kids about extreme porn, but I do think that we need to be more open-minded as a society. If we want our youngsters to be able to cope adequately with sex and sex within loving relationships, then we need to arm them with all of the knowledge that they may need. That doesn't mean just teaching them about the (rather useless) "birds and bees". It doesn't mean just teaching them the names of parts of the human sexual reproductive system. It means educating them on all aspects of what sex, love and romance entails. Giving them a full, rounded and as complete a knowledge as we possibly can, so that they can make informed choices. And yes, that may include discussing about pornography.

What's better: a child seeing porn by accident, and not being able to comprehend what it is they've just seen, or arming that same child so that when they see something, they are then free to be able to say "Actually, I don't want to see that" or "I know what that video clip was, and I can contextualise it"?

I certainly know what I'd prefer for our kids. Knowledge!

Despite what Melanie Phillips, and the minions at the Daily Fail seem to think, not all porn is bad. It isn't. Porn can be nice. Porn can be consensual, and erotic, and arousing, and useful. Porn can play a small part in a loving, consensual relationship. Porn can be fun, for both sexes. But there is also the other side of porn: the darker, edgier, more explicit and brutal side. The stuff that can be found online, in the darker recesses of the Internet, with clips taken out of context. With material that doesn't contextualise anything. It just shows you something, and portrays something brutal and shocking, with no frame-of-reference in which to place it.

Phillips acknowledges that:
Accordingly, this publication warns that the sex and bodies in pornography ‘are mostly unrealistic’, and that such material may involve coercing participants into performing sex acts. But it also suggests showing such images to children at age 14. Moreover, it states they might find some of the positions in such porn films ‘helpful’, while being made aware that ‘the so-called pleasure’ they see ‘may be anything but’.
How can informing teenagers that sometimes what you see in porn, is not what it at first might seem, a bad thing? Is this not teaching our kids to be media-savvy? Does that not count as educating our youth against the likes of say, advertising, whose sole purpose is to get you to buy stuff that you think you need, in order to be more intelligent, more valued, more attractive, and more desirable? Considering the media-and-tech-obsessed world in which we all now live, we need more media education not less.

Porn can appear to teach you that unless men have a 9-inch penis and a 6-pack for a stomach, or that unless women are blonde, shaved and have 42DD breasts, that you are all forever inadequate, unattractive, and therefore, undesirable as a mate. That no one will ever "want" or "desire" you, because you are not like the people that appear in porn. The fact that you haven't been airbrushed to within an inch of your life, may make you feel like you aren't perfect. Therefore you are inferior, lesser, worth less to society as a whole. It can also implicitly suggest that unless you do these kinds of acts, no one will want to be in a relationship with you, or worse still, that unless you do these acts, you are not a real man or real woman: that only real, decent people who are good, do these acts, and if you don't, then by extension, you aren't a good person either.

That's a form of coercion: the very thing that many (though not all) teenage boys can/have/do use to their teenage girlfriends, in order to get these young woman to have sex or perform sexual acts with them. The boy says something along the lines of "well, if you were really my girlfriend, you'd suck me off" or "a real girlfriend would let me have anal sex, because then she'd be showing me that she really loved me". Of course, that's all complete bullshit. That's NOT what a real boyfriend or girlfriend should do at all. In a real, genuine and loving relationship, people are equal. Neither partner forces or coerces the other into doing anything they don't really want to do. Real lovers ask, and if the other partner says "No", then that's the end of the story.Consensuality is the key word here.

That's what we should be teaching our youngsters: that porn isn't real. It's an artificially-created world, made mostly by adult men, mostly for the benefit and pleasure of other adult men. I know there are female porn writers and directors out there, such as Anna Span, Erika Lust and the like, who do make porn from a more female-centric point of view, or even films aimed at both men and women, but which focus less on the explicit, gynaecologically-detailed sex acts that feature in many mainstream (and non-mainstream) male-directed or male-authored pornography, and try to make the porn more about a loving, sensual relationship, where both parties are equally catered to and catered for, and are consenting and consensual participants. There's none of the angry and more demeaning and animalistic tone that is par-for-the-course in male-dominated porn, where the woman is usually compliant and the man the dominant.

We have to accept that kids will sometimes see stuff that we as adults or parents don't want them too. It's inevitable. Kids are curious. They have an innate thirst to know about things. Whether that be sexual stuff, or violent stuff, or stuff about drugs or death or medicine. As adults, we will never stop kids from not seeing something that we'd rather they hadn't. What we do need to do, though, is stop treating sex education and porn, as dirty subjects that can't be discussed and talked about, because we adults are too damn prudish.

Britain is quite a prudish nation.

Unlike some of our European counterparts, we Brits still don't like talking about, seeing or even thinking about sex, in any manner. It's a subject many seem to prefer to just wish it never existed. As such, I think that's why our Sex Education is so piss-poor in schools, and why our government's Education Minister (Michael Gove) is intent on coming-up with a new plan every single day, to constantly erode our kids education system. But that's not the issue under discussion.

When Phillips says:
But it is never safe to subject a child to pornography. At 14, a child is not mature enough to handle all the implications of healthy sexuality, let alone its perversions.
...she is deliberately skewering her argument: that all pornography is evil, and all aspects of sexuality are perverse. What a witch! Most sensible, and rational-adults know only too well, that sexuality does not need to be perverse. And a healthy sexual life, does not need to mean restricting yourself to just the "missionary position". Since when does sex equate to perversity? And since when are all 14-year-old's exactly the same, in terms of their maturity and intelligence? I've seen sophisticated and mature 12-year-old's, and incredibly immature and unintelligent 40-year-old's. Not everyone is the same. The only genuinely perverse thing I can see, is Ms Phillips's own argument. She is debasing all aspects of human sexuality, through her choice of words. She is demonising any adult who happens to enjoy a "healthy" sex life, because - in her view - a "healthy" sex life, is abhorrent in and of itself. How dare you enjoy sex! How dare you take the most natural act that humans can participate in, and have fun with it!

She goes on:
Among these "sexperts", there is a shocking confusion between adults and children. Exposing children in this way is to treat them wholly inappropriately as quasi-adults, supposedly able to apply adult values and considerations to behaviour which would trouble many adults themselves.
Except that the "sexperts" (as Phillips insists on calling these people) aren't confusing anything. A 14-year-old is a teenager. A teenager is a quasi-adult, albeit a young quasi-adult. And yes, we do teach teenagers to start applying adult values and considerations to their behaviours, because as parents/adults, we expect that as our kids grow up, they start to learn things such as that all actions have consequences, learning to abide by rules and laws, or that sometimes "no" means "no". We also want them to start becoming responsible young adults. We give them more and more leniency, and in return, if they behave responsibly, they are given more freedoms - just like the freedoms you have as a responsible adult.

So why has Phillips got such a bee in her bonnet, over something that, at face-value, actually seems pretty sensible?

Is it because she's like many of these idiotic adults that exist in the worlds of journalism and government, that we should all be teaching our kids nothing more than the infamous Three R's - which for my non-UK fans - is a horribly misguided acronym referring to teaching Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? (The fact that two out of the three "R's" don't even start with the letter "R" seems to have been forgotten in the creation of this silly concept, which actually arose from an article in a magazine published way back in 1818, according to Wikipedia, and stemmed from a speech made by Tory Education Minister, Sir William Curtis, in 1795.) Or is it because, Ms Phillips, and by definition, the Daily Fail also hates the idea of pornography becoming normalised, and by damning it at every opportunity, she feels that porn will just somehow magically disappear?

Whether we like it or not, pornography exists.

It's existed for thousands of years, and depending on which area of history you look at, stems right back to the 1100's in Japan, to the 1700's in France, or possibly even the Roman times! Whilst I am absolutely not suggesting that kids be given pornography to view, we do have to accept that kids are seeking it out. As such, the old adage that forewarned is forearmed does seem to apply here, and is pertinent. I'd rather kids be told about the existence of porn, of what it entails, of how it is created, by whom and for what purposes, so that when they do eventually see it, they aren't so shocked and disturbed by it.

Just as all of us who grew-up watching horror films, we steadily built up a tolerance threshold. You don't go jumping in with THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (2011, Tom Six) or SNUFF 102 (2007, Mariano Peralto), as the extreme nature of these works would be so shocking to us, that it would probably scar us forever more!

Pornography doesn't have to be seen as "the enemy", just like horror films don't need to be. Porn can be a pleasure, and doesn't have to involve demeaning or cruelty to anyone. In fact, horror films can be cathartic for many people, too. For me, growing up, I used horror films as a way to imagine that the people being killed on-screen, where the people who were making my life miserable and hard. I imagined that it was they who were being murdered and mutilated, and that gave me relief that I could get past whatever was troubling me. As I grew up, I still watched horror films but of a stronger nature. I wanted to be scared and shocked, but in a safe manner under which I had full control over. Unlike, say, a fairground rollercoaster ride, once you're on-board, you can't get off until the ride ends. Watching films let me take the risk at a pace I felt comfortable with, and at any point, I could leave the cinema screen or stop the DVD, if I so wished.

So, as we near the end of this article, what result do we end up with? When Melanie Phillips says:
In any event, children almost instinctively filter out from their minds much information that is too grown-up for them to understand. No chance of that, however, in many of today’s sex education lessons and teaching materials which introduce even pre-pubescent children to the full range of sexual practices, positions and perversions.
.. we have to assume that in her eyes, all human sexuality is evil, and therefore, all human sexuality must be eradicated, because it is evil.

Actually, no, that's not what should happen. Times change. What I learned when I was a child about sex, will be different to what my parents learnt, which in turn will be different to what young-teens learn today, in the 21st Century. Practices evolve. Education evolves. Children evolve. The Human Race also evolves. Through evolution, sometimes we need to evolve the manner in which we educate future generations. And if that evolution helps the next generation learn, then maybe we shouldn't be in such a haste to condemn it.

Thank You for reading.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

How To Ruin Your Reputation In 60-Seconds-Flat, or Why Suicide Is Never A Laughing Matter In Ad-Land!

Welcome Back, Folks!

I don't know if this story has made it outside of British and US media, but if not, then I'll fill you in.

Car firm Hyundai are desperately trying to do some major damage-control this week. A minute-long viral advert, made by Innocean Europe - an advertising creation company - for Hyundai's latest car - features a man attempting to commit suicide. The ad shows the man connecting a long hosepipe to the car's exhaust, then feeding the pipe into the car's driver-side window, before he then gets into the car, seals up the windows and turns on the ignition... and waits for the inevitable. If you want to see the ad, you can easily Google it. I won't link to it, purely because so many sites are removing it, and thus any links to the video go dead very quickly. However, anyone who wants to see it, will be able to find it easily enough. Just be aware, that it really isn't very nice!

Unfortunately (or fortunately), the "joke" of the ad, is that the emissions from the car's exhaust are 100% water, and thus contain no carcinogens. Hence, the man realises that he can't kill himself with this particular model of Hyundai. The ad shows the man living, but the ad's creation has caused a large and understandable furore around most parts of the globe.

It first came to attention, when a lady by the name of Holly Brockwell wrote a moving and powerful open-letter on her Blog which you can read  here.  In it, Ms Brockwell movingly explains that her father committed suicide in the same manner as that featured in the ad. When she saw the ad, she was understandably shocked and upset that anyone could even consider using the contentious subject of suicide, as a sensible, humorous, and innovative way to sell a product to the world-at-large. To really rub salt into the wound, Ms Brockwell works as an ad executive, though not for Innocean I should point out, so knows full well how advertising executives "create" new ideas to market products, and what subjects would be verboten in ad-land.

Thankfully, since her open letter went viral (much like the ad itself), Innocean and Hyundai have had to pull the ad, and try and do some serious damage-limitation. Hyundai claim they knew nothing of the ad, never authorised it, and were only aware of it, once Holly's blog article started doing the rounds across the Western world's media.

If you look through some of the 400-odd comments at the end of Ms Brockwell's blog, most are sympathetic and tolerant of her complaint. However, a fair few are not. Some have complained that Ms Brockwell is making a mountain out of a molehill, and fussing over nothing. Some have even been extremely unpleasant, labelling her as "mad", "stupid", and "ignorant" because she has dared pen her open letter in the first place. Others don't understand the fuss at all, and think Ms Brockwell should simply "get over it".

I don't think Ms Brockwell has done anything wrong. In fact, I think what she has done, is actually very moving. No one wants to ban something that is in poor-taste, but there's a time and a place. I have no problems with some poor taste films - such as John Waters' classic comedy PINK FLAMINGOS (1971). It's a hilarious and sick and twisted comedy, about a couple trying to be "The most disgusting couple in all America".

The difference with that film, though, is that it's my decision to watch it, and having read about it, I know what to expect. It was my decision to watch it, and I had full control over whether I watched it in full, or in part. I know about its extreme content, and thus I can't then complain if I get offended by some of the sick material that Waters' has chosen to include.

Advertising is not something most of us have any control over. Whether it be in magazines and newspapers, on TV, or on the Internet, ads spring up without any kind of warning. Sometimes those ads may be ads you would - if you had the option - material that you would actively reject viewing/reading. How many times have you received spam or targetted ads, promoting sex aids, "available" women, or legal highs? But in an age when ad makers are resorting to ever more shocking tactics to get your attention, and often your money too, sometimes ad makers go too far.

I think it would be fair of me to say, that most people would not object to some adverts using "shock tactics" to get your attention. Charities often use shocking or distressing images, to solicite donations. The Red Cross, Comic Relief (here in the UK), Unicef, and WaterAid have all shown ads featuring the poor and impoverished citizens in places like Namibia, Gambia and Ethiopia. Other charities like those dealing with Cancer or The Samaritans, may also sometimes uses uncomfortable material, to get their message heard. The ads aren't always easy to stomach, but there is a justifiable reason for such material being broadcast. Sometimes, we as human beings, need to be shocked into action. (There's an ad currently doing the rounds in the UK right now, with the tagline "Up Yours Cancer"! In the UK, "up yours" is a slang term using the two-fingered "v" sign, meaning "fuck you" or "fuck off"!)

But as I've said, there's a time and there's a place.

Using the fairly explicit and distressing images of a man trying to commit suicide, by exhaust fumes in an enclosed space, is not the time nor place. It's crass and morally repugnant. How anyone in their right mind could think that using such imagery, let alone the actual concept, simply to get people to buy a car, is beyond me.

I've talked before about whether films can ever go too far. At least with films, you make the distinct and detailed choice to watch them, and they often come with certificates that explain their content and suitability for us. Adverts, however, do not. They just appear, and we either ignore them, or look at them to see what they are about.

In this instance, though, the advert has completely backfired on Hyundai and Innocean. It should be stressed, that at no point does Ms Brockwell ever ask for the ad to be banned. She doesn't. She simply asks how any ad executive could think that featuring suicide and suicidal methods to try and sell automobiles can be considered good or clever. And as I sit here writing this article, I too am wondering how anyone thought that this idea was both clever and actually worth greenlighting? Someone had to say "Yes, let's do this"! And others had to get the money together, actually hire the camera crew, cast a man as the victim, and then go and film the damn thing. Ads don't generally get made in a few days, by a couple of people. They're often made by teams, after weeks or months of pitching ideas around. Ads are often conceived months before they ever get to air.

Yet, at no point in time, did Innocean think "Um, guys, hang on a minute. Do we really think the public will be okay with this ad?". In fact, it seems that no thought was put into this ad's execution at all.

What makes this worse, is since the ad was pulled, Innocean have released a rather inept Public Relations statement, which you can read  here. Although they apologise, I don't think they realise just how utterly stupid their decision to release this ad has been. It's one think to do something that reflects badly on your own company, but they made this ad for Hyundai. Prior to this, Hyundai were just another car manufacturer. Now, they're going to be forever known as that car company: the one that did the ad featuring a guy trying to kill himself! Unfortunately, although the ad has been pulled, it's online forever, and it will be impossible for this ad to ever be permanently erased. As anyone knows, anything you post online, is going to remain there long past the day you die. Items online never expire. They almost transcend time.

I feel a little sorry for Hyundai, but certain questions need to be asked here:
1) Who asked for the ad to be made?
2) Who came up with the idea, and approved it?
3) At what point in the ad's creation and execution, were Hyundai notified of the ad's content?
4a) If Hyundai were notified, did anyone from their organisation do anything to stop it?
4b) If Hyundai weren't notified, why weren't they notified?
5) Once the ad was completed, were Hyundai told about the theme and content? Again, if so, who at Hyundai approved it, and if not, why were Hyundai not informed?
6) If Hyundai had no knowledge of the ad until its eventual release on Thursday, why weren't they told?

Lastly, now that the ad has been pulled, what are Hyundai and Innocean going to do to rectify the damage they've now caused? Because, in my view, damage has been caused. Not only to Hyundai's perception by the public, but to advertising executives too. Damage has also been caused, albeit not intentionally, to Holly Brockwell. I'm not suggesting that she needs to be given damages, but maybe Hyundai or Innocean could maybe make a significant donation to Mental Health or Suicide Prevention charities, as recompense, in Ms Brockwell's name or in honour of the death of her father? At least, that might help the damage-limitation process, in the eyes of the world's public and media. Otherwise, right now, no one's going to enter a Hyundai dealership for the forseeable future, because of one 60-second screw-up that should never have been made, let alone released for viewing!

Holly herself says:

My dad never drove a Hyundai. Thanks to you, neither will I.

I think that says it all.

This is a catastrophic mistake in advertising, not too far from the likes of Tobacco giants convincing us that smoking was both healthy and cool; American Apparel trying to make sales in local stores, just days after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, or McDonalds launching their new McAfrika burger in branches of the Golden Arches restaurants in Norway, during a point in African history, when an actual famine had left more than 10 million Africans dying of starvation.

There's a time and place for everything. I just wish that Innocean staff had truly considered what they were doing properly, not just aiming to outdo every other advert-maker in the cleverness stakes.Sometimes being daring, provocative, controversial or dangerous is the worst thing you can do. Srđan Spasojević, director of the infamous SRPSKI FILM / A SERBIAN FILM (2010) knows that all too well! And that's a film I've talked about a lot on my blog.

Take care out there!

ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this article, according to AdWeek, Hyundai were warned about the ad and that it may be seen as being "tasteless". No one from Hyundai nor Innocean responded to requests for responses to the article. Clearly, there's more to this story to come. Read the AdWeek article - here.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

KONTROLL (2003) - The Greatest Movie You've Probably Never Seen!

Welcome Back, Everyone,

Okay folks, I would like to ask for your help please, if I may.

There's a superb Hungarian comedy/thriller called KONTROLL from director Nimrod Antal, that I've been a big fan of for a few years now. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to get a decent copy of it. And by decent, I mean a film in a 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen print, with properly translated and accurate English subtitles, plus some solid, meaty extras.

Outside of Hungary, English fans are unlikely to be able to get a decent version of this film, which is criminal, because this film is genuinely fantastic. Set amongst the daily lives of a bunch of misfit Hungarian Metro (Underground Railway) staff, we follow them as they deal with ignorant, bitter, and angry passengers, constantly looking for any and every way to not pay for tickets. During their travels, they encounter a mysterious woman dressed as a bear, a shadowy, hooded figure that is secretly bumping-off the passengers, and a teenage antagonist who loves nothing more than making the Metro staff's lives a misery.

As Bulcsu, the leader of the Metro Staff gang that we follow, actor Sándor Csányi gives a great performance as man trying to come to terms with his life and where it is going. When he meets the mysterious woman in the bear suit, he falls in love, but it soon transpires that not everything is quite as it seems.

Part comedy, part thriller, part existential drama, this is a jaw-dropping piece of cinema. Including a stellar synth score by Neo, this film occasionally shows-up on late-night Channel 4 or Film4 here in the UK. Sadly, most DVD releases have been appalling. Incorrect ratios, poorly-translated (or mistranslated) subtitles, no or minimal extras.

Why not just import the Hungarian DVD or Blu-Ray releases, I here you ask?

Well, I would do, but have you tried obtaining films from Hungary via the internet? Unless you are fluent in Hungarian, then it's a bit of a nightmare. To make matters worse, the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD release is impossible to get hold of, and appears to have been made a Limited Release of just 1000 copies. It rarely gets sold on places like eBay, and every site I've tried, has comeback telling me they can't get it. Worse still, although the DVD release contained English subtitles, the new Hungarian Blu-Ray release of the film, in a brand-new, remastered 1080p HD print, has decided that the Blu-Ray will only contain a Hungarian soundtrack with removeable Hungarian subtitles!

Well, I want more people to see this film, and I want UK audiences to be given an English release that is worthy of the film's awesomeness! So please, click  here  and sign a petition I've started. I've already contacted a couple of UK film distributors to see if they will consider the film also, but I know that the more people I can gain to prove that a UK Blu-Ray release will be worth their time, the better the chances of us actually seeing it released here.

The US Trailer is shown below...


... which I hope gives you a reasonable example of what it's all about. But for one of the best examples, watch the sequence below... (WARNING: The clip contains very strong language, so it's not really safe for work, or for viewing by under-15's!)


This clip was NOT uploaded by me, but I hope that the clip will be acceptable as a "fair use" clip under the UK Copyright, Designs And Patents Act 1988, and will not result in any breach of copyright. So enjoy these clips, then please go and sign the petition, because this film deserves to be seen by so many more people, in the English-speaking World!

Friday, 5 April 2013

A Quick Update!

Welcome Back,

My apologies for having been away for awhile. Work has gotten in the way of blogging. Anyway, with thanks to the  Melon Farmers  for this fascinating article from Luke Martin, who has written about the perils of computer game classification that confuse and confound their audience. You can read the article here at VoxelArcade . It raises some interesting issues that apply as much to console and computer games, as they do to DVD's and Blu-Ray's.

I'll be back soon, with another thorny discussion for you to dig your teeth into. For the meantime, though, be seeing you.