The Null Device


A PDF document showing the "EURion constellation"; this is a constellation of five 1mm circles found on European and British banknotes, and recognised by colour photocopiers. (The piece doesn't show exactly which five circles are the constellation, though if it's there, it shouldn't be too hard to find it.) I'm not sure whether the pattern used on US banknotes (and now recognised by commercial image-processing software) is the same or different, or what other anti-copying patterns are used on other currency. Though if each country had its own, it would use a lot of CPU cycles to detect. (via jwz's comments)

copy protection crime currency drm eu tech 3

Last night I went to see Goodbye Lenin!, the German comedy about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, at the Cinema Nova; I really enjoyed it. It was intelligent and very funny, and managed to also be a very human film without drowning the audiences in Hollywood-style schmaltz. The way they used small details (like styles of clothing and furniture and drab, Communist-era consumer products) to highlight the differences between East and West was interesting. And the score by Yann Tiersen (who did Amélie) was also quite evocative.

Some have accused this film of being too soft on the Communist régime. It does have some scenes of Communist military police suppressing a demonstration (though, looking at the scenes, they don't seem any more brutal or totalitarian than, say, the S11 demonstrations in 2000, or the US "Miami model"). In my opinion, these complaints are unfounded. The film does not paint the old East as a lost utopia; there are allusions throughout it of the totalitarian nature of the DDR. The reason it doesn't beat the viewer about the head with gulags and Stasi torture chambers is because it's not that kind of film.

All in all, I enjoyed it much more than Lost In Translation. The main difference is that the latter seemed to belong to the Andy-Warhol-filming-someone-sleeping-for-6-hours school of arthouse cinema, where films are deliberately tedious to give discerning audience members a chance to differentiate themselves from the excitement-hungry multiplex-going masses, whereas the makers of Goodbye Lenin! actually set out to be entertaining, and did so without dumbing it down for the broadest possible audience.

berlin film germany goodbye lenin! yann tiersen 1