Monday, January 31, 2005

Weekend; mental institutes in noir

(This is not about Godard's film - which, by the way, is one of his best. Clearly. What an overrated director!)

We spent a nice weekend together with Ottilia, who lives with her mother. She has clearly an affinity towards Kauto, her half kid brother. Of course she's sometimes irritated when Kauto yells or tries to grab her hair, but it seems that Ottilia loves the little brat. We went shopping on Saturday and bought the vacuum cleaner and had coffee and ice cream. Then we went outside and made some snow men (is that the exact phrase in English?). I made a troll out of snow and then I made him a TV set and even a remote control to keep in hand! Ottilia wanted to play shop and used the cardboard box that came with the cleaner as a counter. Almost everything she had for sell cost nothing! I tried to tell her that she couldn't be a real entrepreneur if that was her attitude. Then I had to back up and say: "But of course you can play it like this." Why be so harsh? Ottilia sure knows that things must be paid for.


I had to stop reading Margaret Millar's "The Iron Gates". One of her weakest. It was interesting to note, thought, that the mental institute belongs to the iconography of noir literature, especially that branch that is written by women. The other example is "The Snake Pit" by Mary Jane Ward (it's translated in Finnish in 1948) that was filmed with Olivia de Havilland (by Anatole Litvak, if I remember correctly). Any other mental institure noirs from the fourties and fifties? (Okay, sixties, too.)

I started reading "The Man with the Golden Arm" by Nelson Algren. It's the first Algren translated into Finnish. It's interesting so far, but Algren uses lots of space to give backgrounds for his characters and their environments. Someone like Elmore Leonard would do it in bits of dialogue and one snappy paragraph. But definitely a noir novel, that one.


I mentioned the Avionrikkoja blog last time. I couldn't resist. I had to snap back at the stereotypes the guy uses. The guy should a) get a divorce, b) go to a shrink.

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