Quick look at Friend Request Pending

What happens when you get to know a man, talk with him, have fun enjoying his company? Clearly you want to meet him again and ask – if he’s on Facebook. This is quite normal, isn’t it? But it’s not if you are – say – a woman of the mature generation who isn’t inexperienced when it comes to men. But who is just about to dive into the mysteries of the internet as a whole and Facebook and it’s chat function in particular.


„‚Hi‘ is a bit mid 90s, isnt’t it?“ Foto: We Are Colony/ Screenshot: pb


In „Friend Request Pending“ Mary is that women – lovely played by Judi Dench – who talks with her friend Linda (Penny Ryder) about social networks and of course about Trevor. The choirmaster (Philip Jackson) is the man Mary is wooing in a heartwarming way that combines all old romantic feelings and the opportunities the modern world offers to stay in touch with people you care about most.

The short film directed by Chris Foggin and written by Chris Croucher only has one big problem: it is only 12 minutes long.

„Friend Quest Pending“ is available on We Are Colony, a site dedicated to independent films. Read my previous blog entry here.


The Fifth Estate –

It’s not an attack on Wikileaks

Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) and Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch,r)
Foto: Constantin-Film/ http://www.constantin-film.de/kino/inside-wikileaks-die-fuenfte-gewalt/

Whoever has been living under a rock for let’s say the last couple of years and hasn’t ever heard anything about the online platform Wikileaks will have trouble understanding what the film „The Fifth Estate“ is all about. And whoever thought that the film will take revenge on Wikileaks‘ founder Julian Assange, will be disappointed.

Maybe all visionaries have something in common. They believe in an idea, they fight for with all their powers and sometimes with every means they can get their hands on. Because they deeply believe that what they are doing is right. That is what makes them special. Others can’t really get what this is all about, because they do not understand. Julian Assange is a visionary, inspired by his believe that all information should be accessible by everybody. That’s why he established Wikileaks, why he has fought and is still fighting for his believes against everything and every person, including his nearest friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg – thoughtlessly hurting feelings and causing disappointment on each side.

Making things visible that are not visible

Director Bill Condon concentrates his work on the relationship between Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg. And if this isn’t enough to get along with – you know that Assange wasn’t amused when works for the film started –  „The Fifth Estate“ tries to make things visible that are not visible: Websites, Mails, Chats, Computercodes and a lot of other tech-stuff most of the public has only a faintest idea of what those things are really made for. And so there are many flashing lines, different windows on computerscreens (they often work on Thinkpads by the way for anyone interested), a huge sterile looking office, an empty snow covered field, with a few camp fires and people hovering before their laptops when they are not too busy traveling round the world.

Brilliant leading actors

What is holding all the different scenes together is the brilliance of the leading actors: Daniel Brühl always grounds his Daniel Domscheit-Berg even when his enthusiasm is about to pull him away from his ordinary life which he finds boring but which defines him deeply – there is a scene when Julian accompanies him to Daniel’s parents who are so normal and so typically German that you as a German almost can see your own parents shining through –  and which urges him to end the friendship with Julian Assange.

Benedict Cumberbach – who was the baddie in the latest Star Trek film, is about to be Alan Turing in the film „The Imitation Game“, will hit the cinemas in „12 Years a Slave“, „August: Osange County“ and gives voice to the dragon Smaug in „The Hobbit“ before Christmas (and we all are desperately waiting for him bringing Sherlock back to our telly) – Benedict Cumberbatch is hardly visible as a person.

Benedict is Julian Assange

Because he does what he always does as an actor: getting under the skin of the figure he is about to play, stepping totally aside and bringing the character to life with the brilliance of an actor who is said to be one of the best of his generation. His white hair, his totally changed face, contacts that cover the natural colour of his eyes is combined with totally unfamiliar gestures, reactions, different body language what all together helps Benedict Cumberbatch really being Julian Assange, at least the Assange of this film. A restless, hounded, highly intelligent computer expert who is at the same time lonely, isolated and very fascinating, who brutally pisses off his best and trusted friend although he earns him so much. „All I have got is a webside, a couple of fake email addresses. And you. Do I have you?“ Assange asks Domscheit-Berg at the beginning.
Cumberbatch gives his Assange every feeling from a cold and calculating machine-like behavior to a soft and very vulnerable human being – and he manages all this brilliantly within a second and with very little expressions. But as so often you see the change in Benedict’s eyes. With all this Cumberbatch rules the film and dominates it but he doesn’t dominate an also brilliant Daniel Brühl.

„If you want the truth, you’ve to seek it out for yourself. That’s what they’re afraid of. You.“, the fictional Assange says in an fictional interview that’s wrapped around the film. The film – like in real life – he accuses of being an attack on himself and Wikileaks. But the film isn’t an attack at all. Partly based on the memories of Daniel Domscheit-Berg (who supported Daniel Brühl in his preparation for the role) and taking his point of view, the film can not be objective or even a documentary.
„The Fifth Estate“ is above all a good and thrilling entertainment. And maybe it will get some to find out more about Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

You find the German version here.

If part of this article sound weird this is due to the fact that I’m no native speaker, so don’t be too harsh.

 Feel free to share this blog entry but please quote and link properly.

DVD-Empfehlung: Third Star

Benedict Cumberbatch als James
Dass es keine leichte Unterhaltung ist, ahnt der Zuschauer nach den ersten Szenen. Ja, da ist eine Geburtstagsfeier, die Gäste sind fröhlich, der Tisch ist gedeckt, das Zimmer geschmückt. Aber die ganze Fröhlichkeit, das Lachen wirkt unecht, aufgesetzt.
Denn James Kimberly Griffith (Benedict Cumberbatch) ist unheilbar an Krebs erkrankt. „Ich werde heute 29“, sagt seine Stimme am Anfang des Films aus dem Off. „Ich werde keine 30.“ (Übersetzung von mir) Während er weiterredet, seine Familie vorstellt und seine besten Freunde, die nach und nach eintreffen, ist der Zuschauer längst ergriffen. Ergriffen von dem unwirklichen Familientreffen, das man zusammen mit James als Außenstehender erlebt. Erst als sich der zusammen mit seinen Freunden zu seinem Lieblingsplatz auf der Welt aufmacht, Barafundle Bay, kippt der Film und wird erschreckend real.

Konzentration auf den Kranken

Eine Realität, in der jeder der Freunde zwar seine eigene Lebensgeschichte mitbringt, die aber ganz klar auf James‘ Schicksal konzentriert ist. Er ist es, um den sich die anderen kümmern, den sie auf einem eigens gebauten Fahrzeug schieben, den sie tragen, weil er schon lange nicht mehr richtig gehen kann und den sein Gehumpele genauso anstrengt wie seine Schmerzen, die er mit unterschiedlichen Medikamenten versucht, erträglicher zu machen. James weiß sehr genau, dass seine Schmerzen immer schlimmer werden und er weiß, dass er so nicht weiterleben will. „Ich nehmen Medikamente gegen die Schmerzen und Medikamente um die Nebenwirkungen der anderen Medikamente zu bekämpfen. Mein Leben besteht nur noch aus Schmerzen. Dafür lohnt es sich nicht zu leben“, sagt er unter Tränen am abendlichen Lagerfeuer und macht klar, dass er sich in der geliebten Bucht das Leben nehmen wird.
„Third Star“ ist ein eindringlicher, leiser Film, der tief berührt, ohne in kitschige Gefühlsduselei abzugleiten. Das liegt an den Nebendarstellern (JJ Field, Tom Burke, Adam Robertson), die James‘ Tragik, sein Schicksal, mit dem er sich außerhalb des Lebens stellt, erst richtig zur Geltung bringen.

„I ate healthily, but there was 

no snacking, no drinking,

no bread, no sugar, no smoking. 

Afterwards I had a pork belly roast.“

(„Ich habe gesund gegessen. Aber es gab keine Süßigkeiten, 
keinen Alkohol, kein Brot, keinen Zucker, keine Zigaretten.
Hinterher habe ich einen gebratenen Schweinebauch gegessen.“
Benedict Cumberbatch über seine Rolle. Quelle: Glamour) 

Das liegt aber freilich auch Benedict Cumberbatch‘ Können. Seine Fähigkeit, mit wenigen Gesten, mit kleinen Bewegungen zu trauern, zu blödeln, sich zu ärgern, sich kindlich zu freuen oder auf Kommando zu weinen, sind auch in diesem Film überwältigend. Cumberbatch spielt nicht, er schlüpft in die Haut der Figuren, verkörpert sich sprichwörtlich. Sein James ist abgemagert, zerbrechlich und rührt zu Tränen.

You find the English version of this blog entry here.

Grundlage für diesen Tipp ist die Original-Version der DVD.