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Friday, October 17, 2003

Almost 6 months since I wrote in this blog. Time to either resurrect it or kill it off. All those authors who say never read/listen to your critics are right. One person says my blog is boring and I grind to a halt. How pathetic !

The last few weeks have given me ample opportunity to sample the best of the Belgian medical services. I had a miscarriage and Claudio had a near fatal car crash (and is still in hospital with a broken pelvis). Yes almost at the same time. The Belgian health system vs NHS - discuss. Have to say that the Belgian system wins easily. From the patients perspective: a room shared with only one other person, a TV and video player, own bathroom, personal telephone, appointments with specialists with no waiting list etc. Have to say that hospital food is universally unappealing and unnourishing though. Claudio has taken to calling me an requesting I pass by our favourite restaurants for a take out. Better resourcing makes all the difference. Performance indicators do not.

This week I had an invitation to a private screening of the German film "Goodbye Lenin" about a German family in East Berlin at the time of the fall of the wall. It's excellent - a good summary of the history from the perspective of one family, funny, sad, using various film techniques and a great comment on the social/personal construction of reality.

Afterwards we had a "lecon de cinema" from Alain Berliner, the Belgian film director responsible for the excellent "Ma Vie en Rose", which was interesting and insightful but far too late after the film - the following "reception" was also a bit late and the East German-themed cocktail snacks were definitely a no-no. Ten points to the EC and UGC Cinemas for launching this kind of evening, 2 points for the poor structuring of the evening and nul points for the cocktail snacks.

Berliner's discourse reminded me of an interview with Alan Parker on the DVD I recently rented of his film "the Life of David Gale". It's fascinating to hear a film director explain how they construct their vision of the story and how they use light and music to reinforce their themes. I heartily approve of this trend to include interviews with film-makers and actors on DVDs although most I have seen are rather tedious montages of out-takes and ego-massaging luvvie commentaries.