Scandinavian film festival

Why do the Swedes put barcodes on their ships? So they can Scandinavian. (Sorry about that). More seriously, this looks like a good haul of films.

Top Picks

Trailer Icon 03 The Other Side of Hope (Opening Night)
Wikström is a man wanting to change his life, and decides to invest in an unprofitable restaurant. Meanwhile, a Syrian refugee named Khaled arrives in Helsinki, desperate to seek asylum. After his application is rejected, Khaled decides to remain illegally and seeks refuge behind Wikström’s business, sleeping in the storage space. When eventually discovered, an unlikely friendship is formed, one that will change both of their lives irrevocably.
☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆ The Reel Bits

Celebrity artist Simon Brahe is “The Man” of the Copenhagen arts scene, he’s got a trendy studio apartment, a team of unquestioning interns and has nailed his look of silk pyjamas, which he wears everywhere. Until his world is shaken by the appearance of his estranged and very handsome son, Casper. Casper is a celebrated and internationally renowned street artist operating under the name “The Ghost”. Simon becomes convinced his son is out to usurp him, especially when Casper begins garnering the attention and acclaim that Simon holds so dear, including from Simon’s girlfriend Darling.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

After suffering from the trauma of WWII, Touko Laaksonen finds no peace at home in Finland, a country where homosexuality is illegal. With the help of his sister, Touko finds work in an advertising agency, but becomes worn down by his inability to express his desires. Touko spends his nights drawing his fantasies instead; men with strong jawlines, clad in uniform and – frequently – leather. The sketches eventually draw worldwide attention, though not without an escalating risk of persecution.
☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine

Based on extraordinary true events. With the time for mediation between Norway’s passive government and the Nazi’s envoy fast running out, and an attempted coup by collaborator Vidkun Quisling underway, King Haakon is faced with a momentous choice: should he recognise Quisling as Prime Minister to prevent bloodshed, or abdicate in the hope of inspiring civilian and military resistance, even with the loss of life that may entail?
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Zaid is an upper-class successful Danish surgeon of Muslim heritage. He has a Danish wife and lives in one of Copenhagen’s most fashionable areas – far from the dangerous and congested neighbourhood where he grew up. But when his criminal brother is found murdered, Zaid is pulled back into the brutal world he escaped so many years ago. Finding no help in local detective Claus, who dismisses the case as ‘another Muslim gang-related attack’, Zaid realises he must be the one to avenge his brother and clean up Copenhagen’s underbelly. As he delves back into the depths of the darkland, the film takes us on a synth-filled, neon coloured journey through Copenhagen’s nightlife.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

A tender coming-of-age story, Little Wing centres on the resourceful Varpu as she struggles between fitting in with her friends and her family. Varpu is a young girl navigating the transition into adolescence while living with her emotionally immature mother. Vapru is burdened with being the stronger member of the family, and is in many ways wiser than her mother. Her increasing desire for answers about the world pushes her to look for answers beyond her small apartment. Her first instinct is to look for her estranged father, whom she has no memory of. Despite this, she hopes it might illuminate something about herself if she can only track him down. She teaches herself to drive, and then sets off on a road trip to find her dad.
☆☆☆☆ Cinema Scandinavia
☆☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Described as the ‘Mozart of Chess’, Magnus shows an interest for intellectual challenges at a young age. He is a deeply introverted child, and his father, Henrik, understanding his son’s mathematical mind, introduces him to chess as an outlet. Magnus quickly moves up the ranks, and at the age of thirteen becomes the third-youngest grandmaster of chess, ever. He quickly starts preparing for the title of World Chess Champion. As we watch him prepare, where his competition use computer programs and analysts to master the game, Magnus has the unique talent of visualising the game in his head, and where others have a lavish entourage, Magnus brings his parents and sister. Magnus is the eye-opening journey of this young man’s natural talent.
☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

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When the hawks cry …

Watch as right-wing commentators Tucker Carlson and Ralph Peters go to war over who’s defending American values. Carlson suggests making common cause with Vladimir Putin; Peters says Carlson sounds like Charles Lindbergh defending Hitler in 1938; Carlson gets huffy and reminds Peters of his fervent support for the Iraq War; Peters blames Rumsfeld and the Bush administration.

This is the end game of 15 years of feverish “I’m a patriot and you’re an appeaser!” politics on the right. I generally try to turn the heat down in political debates, but I wish this lot many more such arguments. This crapulence was repulsive from the first moment it kicked off in the lead-up to the second Iraq War, and it is crapulent still.

Update: When The Hawks Cry II

Posted in Politics - international | 7 Comments

Helen Rose Parish 4 June 1926 – 29 June 2017 – a eulogy

Helen Parish Funeral 7Jul17 (1) from Ken Parish on Vimeo.

As the first of the four offspring of Helen and Cecil Parish, my job is to deliver the first section of a two part eulogy, commemorating but most of all celebrating the life of our mother Helen Rose Parish nee Cadigan. My brother Gordon will deliver the second part and sister Susan will deliver a poem composed by her jointly with elder sister Lynne.

My own contribution is unavoidably impressionistic and maybe even a little fragmented, because I have lived in Darwin for almost 34 years now, mostly talking with mum and dad by phone and only seeing them every year or two during holidays usually lasting a couple of weeks or so.

Mum grew up in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, in a semi-detached house at Grove Street, Bondi. Born on 4 June 1926, she was one of three children of Denis and Rose Cadigan (nee Smith).  Her dad (my grand-dad) fought in the First World War with his brothers. Remarkably all of them survived, although grand-dad came home with a plate in his head from a significant bullet wound. He was unable to work full-time after that and spent much of his life as a TPI or Totally and Permanently Incapacitated pensioner. It can’t have been easy for mum and the other Cadigan kids (Gordon and Beryl), growing up on Struggle Street in the affluent eastern suburbs, even though they weren’t quite as rich and snobby as they are now.

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Posted in Life, Personal | 4 Comments

65,000 people in Hyde Park casually create one of the great Bohemian Rhapsody performances

Just had to put this up here, because it’s wonderful:

These people were waiting for a Green Day concert when Bohemian Rhapsody started playing over the speakers …

Posted in Music, WOW! - Amazing | 2 Comments

Last week’s minimum wage hike risks job losses

My latest column at The CEO Magazine asks whether Australia’s 3.3 per cent minimum wage increase will cause any job losses. It focuses on a few pieces of research, including a new study of Seattle’s minimum wage hike, older work by ALP frontbencher Andrew Leigh, and one of economics’ most famous papers – the 1994 minimum wage study by David Card and Alan Krueger.

The Card and Krueger paper is a rare and widely admired paper which changed a lot of minds in economics. Before it, most economists tended to believe minimum wages cost jobs; after they had digested Card and Krueger, some began leaning the other way. Card and Krueger started with a good natural experiment and then controlled for a bunch of variables in what a lot of economists see as a very thorough manner.

What this and other economics papers don’t give you is a rock-solid conclusion about the job effects of the minimum wage.

What they gave me instead was a renewed appreciation for what you might call the Feynman Social Science Problem: in many situations, it’s very hard to isolate the relevant variables in an economic study with enough certainty to reach a conclusion. The famed physicist Richard Feynman took this to the extreme when he called social science a pseudo-science:

“I might be quite wrong, maybe they do know all these things. But I have had the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes … I see how they get their information and I can’t believe that they know it – they haven’t done the work necessary, the checks necessary and [taken] the care necessary.”

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Posted in Economics and public policy, Employment, Politics - national, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Computer game bludgers: SHOCK

Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men

by Mark Aguiar, Mark Bils, Kerwin Kofi Charles, Erik Hurst


Younger men, ages 21 to 30, exhibited a larger decline in work hours over the last fifteen years than older men or women. Since 2004, time-use data show that younger men distinctly shifted their leisure to video gaming and other recreational computer activities. We propose a framework to answer whether improved leisure technology played a role in reducing younger men’s labor supply. The starting point is a leisure demand system that parallels that often estimated for consumption expenditures. We show that total leisure demand is especially sensitive to innovations in leisure luxuries, that is, activities that display a disproportionate response to changes in total leisure time. We estimate that gaming/recreational computer use is distinctly a leisure luxury for younger men. Moreover, we calculate that innovations to gaming/recreational computing since 2004 explain on the order of half the increase in leisure for younger men, and predict a decline in market hours of 1.5 to 3.0 percent, which is 38 and 79 percent of the differential decline relative to older men.

Posted in Cultural Critique, Economics and public policy, Geeky Musings, Innovation, IT and Internet | 9 Comments

Quirky cultural customs: the causes of death

Have you ever reflected on what a strange concept the notion of a ’cause of death’ really is? We use the term so often that it wouldn’t quickly register as a cultural oddity, but it really is a quirky beast and has an odd history.

I have a bit of a professional interest in this because health economists like to use administrative data on causes of death (which go back a long time and cover many countries) and we like to derive all kinds of things from the scribbles that doctors put down on death certificates, usually to argue we should spend more on something that causes lots of death. So the musings below are not entirely geeky: billions depend on how you think about causes of death. Continue reading

Posted in Death and taxes, Ethics, Geeky Musings, Health, History, Libertarian Musings, Medical, Science, Social Policy | 9 Comments