Thursday, January 19, 2012

JenniferMy translation of the local newspaper's review of the recent movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo":
Despite a slight surrealistic feeling when the actors speak English while the surroundings and everything else is in Swedish, the American version of "Men who hate women" is really good. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig have chemistry between them and Drottninggatan in Uppsala has an important role.
Right, let's take that last part first, the part that reads "...Drottninggatan in Uppsala plays an important role." As readers of this blog may remember (here's the relevant post), we who live in Uppsala, and especially those of us who travel by bus, were inconvenienced for more than a month last year by the filming of this movie. People I met on the bus were happy to grump about it a little, but also seemed secretly pleased of course. Who isn't pleased when one's beloved hometown gets some face time in a Big Hollywood production?

Except... Drottninggatan doesn't play Drottninggatan, and for that matter Uppsala doesn't play Uppsala. The three-block stretch of Drottninggatan that appears in the movie plays the entire small town in which a parade happened in the early 1960s. (Hence a little bit of extra time was needed to remove modern road markings, street signs, etc.) The existence of the street is important to the story, sure, but the events don't take place in Uppsala, and in fact these scenes could have been filmed almost anywhere (anywhere that the architecture was right, of course). To say therefore "Drottninggatan in Uppsala plays an important role" is perhaps a wee bit of an exaggeration... if not wishful thinking...

(Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to see the movie in the theater, and to cheer, only inwardly and silently of course, when Uppsala shows up!)

(And allow me one quick "I'm showing off my Swedish" note: on the movie poster above there's a tagline at the top: "What is hidden in the snow comes forth in the thaw." In Swedish it is an aphorism and sounds better because it's shorter and rhymes: "Det som göms i snö / Kommer upp i tö."

(Oh, and two further bits of amusement: Haven't or don't want to read the book? Check out the New Yorker's parody, "The Girl who Fixed the Umlaut," which focusses on the heroine's technical genius. Haven't or don't want to see the movie? I recommend "The Girl with the Tramp-stamp Tattoo," which imagines the heroine as a ditzy Valley Girl type rather than a punk-goth type.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Snow, Runes

JoeIt was a crisp, sunny day in the midst of a grim, muddy winter. We celebrated by tromping through a bit of horse pasture to see our pair of local runestones. It turned out to be a good time to see U 897 (pictured, on the right): the light dusting of snow was enough to bring out its rather faded lines but not enough to make the field impassable. In the summer, the stone is covered in dense vegetation; in the spring and autumn, the pasture is treacherously muddy.

Coincidentally, just yesterday morning I wrote up a bit on the other runestone in this same field.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Booms

Joe I think we mentioned previously that New Year's is one of the big three annual fireworks days here in Sweden. New Year's is unlike either the first Sunday in Advent, when Uppsala has a large municipal fireworks show, or Walpurgis Night, when large neighborhood associations all over town have medium-sized displays. Swedes, or at least Uppsalabo, ring in the new year with a barrage of individual displays. There's generally a light peppering one or two nights beforehand, then on the day itself we'll hear increasingly frequent booms in the distance. But when midnight hits, suddenly there are fireworks going off everywhere.

Living right on the edge of town as we do, it's a pretty impressive display even from our balcony. This year, though, the night was cold and clear, and there was no snow on the ground, so it seemed like a good time to check out the nearest little gathering up close (we've previously seen evidence that the local football field sees pretty heavy use as a launching pad, we've just never gone over there as it was happening).

Video of the proceedings is above. The cluster of lights in the lower left hand corner is the local neighborhood children, who marched up to the field bearing torches just five minutes before the stroke of twelve. The foreground is the (semi-official?) neighborhood display at first, with some random locals joining in as it progresses. In the background there were at least half a dozen other displays going at the same time (you can see bigger stuff from at least two other locales in Norby in the video, plus a few small items from the farmhouse down the road). The best part is the unintentional ground display that starts at about 20 seconds in — don't worry, no one was injured!