Monday, 31 March 2008


The Ninth Gate is a 1999 film based on the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Spanning several genres, The Ninth Gate is a mix of mystery, horror thriller, and neo-noir, and additionally portrays facets of the rare book business. The film was co-written and directed by Roman Polanski, and stars Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, a rare-book dealer hired by a book collector (Frank Langella) to validate a copy of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book by 17th century author Aristide Torchia.

The film premiered in Spain on August 25, 1999 and was a critical and commercial failure in North America as most critics felt that it fell short of Polanski's best known supernatural thriller, Rosemary's Baby. The Ninth Gate managed to turn a profit with a worldwide box office gross of $58,401,898, well above its $38 million budget.[1] It has since enjoyed a small cult following.

Plot outline

Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is a rare-book dealer whose only motivation is financial gain. Wealthy book collector Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) hires Corso to validate The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book by 17th century author Aristide Torchia, one of only three surviving copies, now in Balkan's possession. The book contains nine engravings which, when correctly deciphered and the interpretations properly spoken, are alleged to summon the Devil. Balkan suspects the book may be a forgery, and hires Corso to travel to Europe, assess the other two known copies, discover whether any are genuine, and if so, acquire them for Balkan at any cost.

Balkan's copy of The Nine Gates had previously belonged to Andrew Telfer, who committed suicide shortly after selling the book to Balkan. Telfer's widow Liana (Lena Olin) wants the book back, as Telfer originally bought the book for her. Liana seduces Corso in a failed attempt to reacquire her book. Corso's business partner and book store owner Bernie (James Russo), whom Corso had asked to hide the book, is murdered in the style of one of the engravings in The Nine Gates. Like The Hanged Man, Bernie is found hanging by one foot upside down.

Corso travels to Toledo, in Spain, and talks to the Ceniza brothers (Jose Lopez Rodero), twin book restorers who show him that some of the book's engravings are signed "LCF." Prompting Corso to guess who the initials refer to, the Cenizas agree when he responds with "Lucifer." Corso next goes by train to Sintra, in Portugal, and visits Victor Fargas (Jack Taylor), whose copy Corso compares with Balkan's, noting several variations in the engravings. The next morning, Corso is awakened by a mysterious young woman (Emmanuelle Seigner) with whom he has been crossing paths; she then leads Corso back to Fargas' home to find him murdered and the engravings ripped out of his copy of The Nine Gates. Later, the unnamed woman displays supernatural ability when she rescues Corso from an attack by Telfer's bodyguard (Tony Amoni).

In Paris, Corso tracks down the third surviving copy owned by Baroness Kessler (Barbara Jefford). He records additional differences in her copy before she is killed and pages from her book are removed. Corso, now believing each copy of The Nine Gates to be genuine, suspects that the secret to opening the nine gates can be found in a combination of all three copies. Telfer steals Balkan's copy at gunpoint from Corso, who (on overpowering & bludgeoning her bodyguard) follows her to a mansion to witness her using it to lead a Satanist ceremony. Balkan suddenly interrupts the ceremony, kills Telfer, takes the torn out engravings and his own intact copy, and drives away believing that Corso is correct and all three copies are genuine.

Realizing that Balkan is responsible for the deaths of Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler, Corso locates Balkan and witnesses him preparing to open the gates himself. However, because one of the engravings he uses is a forgery, Balkan's invocation fails and he dies consumed by flames (before Corso finishes him off by a bullet in his skull using Telfer's own gun). The mysterious girl has sex with Corso and directs him back to the Ceniza brothers' shop. There he discovers the final authentic engraving, which includes a likeness of the mystery girl herself, thereby allowing Corso to identify the correct location and travel through the ninth portal, to an unestablished fate, at the film's conclusion.

Cast and characters

Frank Langella as Boris Balkan and Johnny Depp as Dean Corso.
Johnny Depp as Dean Corso
Frank Langella as Boris Balkan
Lena Olin as Liana Telfer
Emmanuelle Seigner as The Girl
Barbara Jefford as Baroness Kessler
Jack Taylor as Victor Fargas
Jose Lopez Rodero as Pablo & Pedro Ceniza and 1st & 2nd workmen
Tony Amoni as Liana's bodyguard
James Russo as Bernie

Initially, Polanski did not think that Depp was right for the role of Corso because the character was 40-years-old. The director was thinking of casting an older actor but Depp was persistent and wanted to work with him.[citation needed] Hints of friction between Depp and Polanski while working on the film surfaced in the press around the time of its North American release. The actor said, "It's the director's job to push, to provoke things out of an actor."[2] Polanski told one interviewer, "He [Depp] decided to play it rather flat which wasn't how I envisioned it. And I didn't tell him it wasn't how I saw it."[2]

The actual name of The Girl is never revealed (when asked her name, she replies "Guess"). While there is speculation that she is the Devil, at the movie's end she is pictured on the missing page from the book riding a Beast, implying she is the Whore of Babylon.

Roman Polanski received the screenplay by Enrique Urbizu that adapted the book, El Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The filmmaker was so taken by Urbizu's script that he read the novel. He liked the novel because, "I saw so many elements that seemed good for a movie. It was suspenseful, funny, and there were a great number of secondary characters that are tremendously cinematic."[3] Pérez-Reverte's book featured several intertwined plots and so Polanski decided to write his own draft with long-time screenwriting partner, John Brownjohn (they had collaborated previously on Tess, Pirates and Bitter Moon). The source novel contains numerous literary references and a subplot concerning Corso’s investigation into the original manuscript for a chapter of The Three Musketeers. Polanski and Brownjohn jettisoned these elements and focused on one particular plot line: Corso’s pursuit of the authentic copy of The Nine Gates.

Polanski approached the subject matter with a certain amount of skepticism as he said in an interview, "I don't believe in the occult. I don't believe. Period."[4] He wanted to have fun with the genre. "There is a great number of cliches of this type in The Ninth Gate which I tried to turn around a bit. You can make them appear serious on the surface, but you cannot help but laugh at them."[4] For Polanski, the appeal of the film was that it featured "a mystery in which a book is the leading character" and its illustrations "are also essential clues."[5]

While reading the book, Polanski thought of Johnny Depp as Corso. The actor became attached to the project as early as 1997 when he met Polanski at the Cannes Film Festival promoting his directorial debut The Brave that was in competition.[6] Initially, the veteran filmmaker did not think that Depp was right for the role of Corso because the character was 40-years-old. Polanski was thinking of casting an older actor but Depp was persistent and wanted to work with him. Corso's disheveled look was modelled after Raymond Chandler's famous sleuth, Philip Marlowe according to the director.[4]

Polanski cast Frank Langella as Balkan after seeing him in Adrian Lyne’s version of Lolita. Barbara Jefford was a last minute casting decision because the German actress originally cast was struck with pneumonia and another actress couldn't learn the lines. Jefford came in with only a few days notice, learned her lines, and affected a German accent.[3]

Filming took place in France, Portugal and Spain during the summer of 1998.


The Ninth Gate premiered in Spain on August 25, 1999. On its opening weekend in North America, the film debuted in 1,586 theaters and grossed $6,622,518. While eventually only making $18,661,336 in North America, it went on to make $58,401,898 worldwide, well above its budget of $38 million.[1]

Most critics felt that the film fell short of Polanski's best known supernatural thriller, Rosemary's Baby. The Ninth Gate holds a 39-percent rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes (and a 26% among the "Cream of the Crop" critics). In Roger Ebert's review for the Chicago Sun-Times, he felt that the film's ending was lackluster, "while at the end I didn't yearn for spectacular special effects, I did wish for spectacular information–something awesome, not just a fade to white."[8] Elvis Mitchell in The New York Times criticized the film for being "about as scary as a sock-puppet re-enactment of The Blair Witch Project, and not nearly as funny."[9] However, Philip Strick's review in Sight and Sound magazine was more sympathetic, recognizing that it was "not particularly liked at first outing – partly because Johnny Depp, in fake grey temples, personifies the odious Corso of the book a little too accurately – the film is intricately well-made, deserves a second chance despite its disintegrations, and in time will undoubtedly acquire its own coven of heretical fans."[10]

After the film's release, Artisan Entertainment sued Polanski for allegedly taking more than $1 million from the budget, pocketing refunds of France's value-added tax instead of turning them over to Artisan's completion bond company.[11]


1^ a b "The Ninth Gate", Box Office Mojo, May 18, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
2^ a b Schaefer, Stephen. "The Devil and Roman Polanski", Boston Herald, March 10, 2000.
3^ a b Hartl, John. "The Ninth Gate Marks Return for Polanski", Seattle Times, March 5, 2000.
4^ a b c Howell, Peter. "Polanski's Demons", Toronto Star, March 3, 2000.
5^ Arnold, Gary. "Polanski's Dark Side", Washington Times, March 11, 2000.
6^ Archerd, Army. "Polanski opens Gate", Variety, February 10, 1998.
7^ Phares, Heather. "The Ninth Gate", Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
8^ Ebert, Roger. "The Ninth Gate", Chicago Sun-Times, March 10, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
9^ Mitchell, Elvis. "Off to Hell in a Handbasket, Trusty Book in Hand", New York Times, March 10, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-09.
10^ Strick, Philip. "The Ninth Gate", Sight and Sound, September 2000. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
11^ Shprintz, Janet. "Artisan Sues Polanski, Alleges He Took Money", Variety, July 18, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-05-22.

External links


The Club Dumas is a 1993 novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The book is set in a world of antiquarian booksellers echoing his previous work, The Flanders Panel.

The story follows the events of a book dealer, Lucas Corso, who is hired to authenticate a rare manuscript by Alexandre Dumas, père. Corso's investigation leads him to seek out two copies of a rare book known as De Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis (The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows). Along the way, Corso encounters a host of intriguing characters on his journey of investigation, including devil worshippers, obsessed bibliophiles and a hypnotically enticing femme fatale. Corso's travels take him to Madrid (Spain), Sintra (Portugal), Paris (France) and Toledo (Spain).

The book is full of details that range from the working habits of Alexandre Dumas to how one might go about forging a 17th-century text, as well as insight into demonology, and the nature of social constructionism.

Roman Polanski's film The Ninth Gate was adapted from Pérez-Reverte's novel, simplifying some aspects of the plot and removing the Dumas connection entirely.

Plot summary

A man commits suicide in a mysterious opening, which is presented without any context. This man is later revealed to be Enrique Taillefer, a publisher of cookbooks and a Dumas enthusiast.

The reader is introduced to Lucas Corso, a mercenary book-dealer who specializes in acquiring rare and valuable editions for anonymous buyers and other book dealers. Corso is a master at manipulation, and the narrator describes his every mannerism. Corso visits the narrator, Boris Balkan, to get his opinion on the authenticity of a manuscript he has acquired, apparently a chapter of The Three Musketeers called The Anjou Wine.

Corso then meets with the owner of the manuscript, his occasional friend and fellow bibliophile, Flavio La Ponte. La Ponte was given the manuscript by its previous owner, Enrique Taillefer, immediately previous to his suicide. Corso and La Ponte drink in their favorite bar, and mention eccentric book-collector Varo Borja.

In Madrid, Corso visits the beautiful widow of Taillefer, Liana Taillefer, who is intelligent and manipulative. She seems curious about The Anjou Wine and skeptical that Corso's possession of the manuscript is legitimate. Liana shows Corso her late husband's books and the novel he was working on, a trite and poorly-written adventure called The Dead Man's Hand. Before leaving, Corso speculates privately that she was having an affair prior to her husband's death. On his way out, Corso sees a sinister man with a scar driving a Jaguar.

Corso spends a night alone, fantasizing about his ancestor, who fought on the losing side of the Battle of Waterloo. He reminisces about an ex-lover, Nikon, who left him long ago.

Corso goes to Toledo to visit the very successful Varo Borja, who shows him a very rare book called The Book of the Nine Doors: one of three in existence, it is a book which contains clues and a formula for summoning the devil. The author, Aristide Torchia, printed it in 1666 and was subsequently burned at the stake, along with all the copies of the book, by the Inquisition.

Although Borja's book is one of only three remaining copies in existence, Borja nevertheless believes there is only one real copy,with his copy being a very exact forgery. After showing him his vast collection of occult books, Borja then gives Corso an odd but very lucrative assignment: find the other two copies of The Book of the Nine Doors, and compare them. All Corso's expenses will be paid, and Corso is to acquire the copy he determines to be the original — no matter what the cost, and by any means necessary.

Corso does a bit of research, and the reader is treated to a history of Dumas' private life, as well as the sinister character Rochefort from The Three Musketeers, whom Corso compares to the man with the scar. Corso visits Balkan again, this time in a cafe where Balkan is giving a lecture, and they discuss the villains in The Three Musketeers, including Rochefort, Milady, and Richelieu. Corso meets La Ponte again, and in a bit of self-reference, they playfully pretend they are characters in a mystery novel.

Lucas Corso visits the "Ceniza brothers," experts in book restoration and probable world-class book forgers, and they discuss methods of book forgery. Liana Taillefer visits Corso in his hotel room and attempts to seduce him in return for "The Anjou Wine;" however, he sleeps with her and sends her on her way without giving her the manuscript, earning him an enemy for the rest of the story.

Corso takes a train to Lisbon and meets a young woman in her twenties with striking green eyes, who was also at the café listening to Balkan's lecture. A backpacker, she mysteriously identifies herself as "Irene Adler," the name of an antagonist in the Sherlock Holmes stories. They part in Lisbon as Corso visits the owner of a second copy of The Book of Nine Doors, Victor Fargas. Fargas is an aged and obsessive book collector who is the last of a prominent Sintra family. Now he lives alone in an empty mansion with no furniture, selling what is left of his famous library of rare antique books to pay for food and property taxes.

Corso compares the two copies of The Book of Nine Doors and notices slight differences in a few of the illustrations. (Pérez-Reverte includes one set of all nine illustrations in the book.) While most plates are signed by the Torchia, on some of the variants the signature of the picture's author is a second name, "L.F." On his way back to the village from Fargas' place, the man with the scar, whom Corso now refers to simply as "Rochefort," makes an appearance. After a brief appearance of "the girl" (formerly known as Irene Adler), Corso meets a corrupt policeman he knows named Amilcar Pinto to arrange a burglary of Fargas' home in order to acquire the book. That night the girl calls Corso in his hotel with news that Fargas is dead. They visit Fargas' home, find The Book of Nine Doors has been burnt in the fireplace, and also find a drowned Fargas in his own fountain. Corso and the girl then leave for Paris, the location of the third copy of the book.

In Paris Corso meets with Achille Replinger, an antique book seller, who verifies the "The Anjou Wine" manuscript to be genuine and discourses on the history of Dumas' writing habits. The girl and Corso talk, and the girl brings up the devil as Corso thinks about Nikon. As they walk they see La Ponte with Liana Taillefer. Corso returns to his hotel and meets with a concierge he knows, Gruber, asking him to find the hotel where Liana is staying. That night the girl visits Corso in his room and they talk about Lucifer and the war of heaven — at one point she implies she is actually a witness to the events of the fall, potentially a fallen angel herself.

The next day Corso visits Baroness Freida Ungern, a widow who controls the Ungern Foundation, which in turn owns the largest library on the occult in Europe, including the last copy of The Book of Nine Doors. Baroness Ungern and Corso share a flirtation as they discuss the books on the occult she has written as well as the personal history of Torchia. The girl calls Corso while he is in the library and alerts him to the presence of Rochefort outside. Baroness Ungern translates the captions of all the illustrations in The Book of Nine Doors for Corso and the reader, and Corso notes the differences in this third set of plates. Later Corso drinks in a restaurant and analyses the difference in the three sets of illustrations, discovering only the mismatched plates are the ones signed "L.F." On the way back to his hotel he is assaulted by Rochefort, who is successfully repelled by the girl. Corso takes the girl back to the hotel and they spend the night together.

By morning Gruber has located Liana Taillefer and his friend La Ponte, and Corso goes to their hotel and assaults La Ponte just before Rochefort shows up and knocks Corso unconscious. Corso awakes to find Borja's copy of the book missing along with The Anjou Wine, and La Ponte realizing he has been used by Liana Taillefer for that manuscript. Soon afterwards, they find Baroness Ungern has been killed in a fire at her library.

By assuming Liana is playing out her part as Milady and Rochefort as her henchman, Corso deduces Liana has escaped to Meung, the setting for The Three Musketeers. Corso, La Ponte, and the girl confront Liana, who confirms she is indeed emulating Milady, immediately before Rochefort shows up and holds them at gunpoint. The thus-far unseen Richelieu-equivalent summons Rochefort via phone, and Corso is taken to the castle where The Three Musketeers was set.

Richelieu's identity is revealed, and he describes the motives of Liana, Rochefort, and Liana's late husband Enrique. He then introduces Corso to The Club Dumas of the title, a literary social group for very wealthy Dumas enthusiasts, who are all at the castle for an annual banquet. However, much to Corso's chagrin, Richelieu seems confused when confronted with the plot surrounding The Book of Nine Doors- the two plots are actually completely unrelated. Although invited to stay, Corso leaves the party confused.

Corso, the girl, and La Ponte drive back to Spain, where Corso knows he must confront Borja. On a hilltop overlooking Borja's mansion, the girl reveals to Corso her true identity, as a fallen angel who rebelled against God and has wandered the Earth ever since. Corso accepts this and his growing attachment to her.

Corso arrives at Borja's home, realizing that his employer is the perpetrator behind the murders and arsons. Borja has apparently gone completely insane, having dismantled a great deal of his occult book collection in the name of "research" in an effort to summon the devil and "gain knowledge." Borja explains his methodology and the symbolism in the ritual before he executes it. The ritual goes awry, as one of the prints needed to properly complete it is a forgery of the Ceniza Brothers. Borja meets an intensely painful demise, instead of Satan himself.

After his showdown with Borja, Corso returns to the girl and it is implied they continue their relationship.

Literary references

The Club Dumas is a bibliophile's fantasy. Almost every page includes a literary reference, or a description of a rare edition of a famous work. Lucas Corso also comes across a number of books on the occult, most of which are inventions by Pérez-Reverte. The fictional works, The Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows and Delomalanicon have histories intertwined with many real authors and other historical figures.

Real books

The works Alexandre Dumas, père, from whom the book derives its title, influence nearly every element of the plot. The books mentioned are:
The Three Musketeers. Edition by Miguel Guijarro in four volumes, with engravings by Ortega.[1]
The Countess de Charny. Edition by Vicente Blasco Ibanez, in eight volumes, part of the "Illustrated Novel" collection.[1]
The Two Dianas. Edition in three volumes.[1]
The Count of Monte Cristo. Edition by Juan Ros in four volumes, with engravings by A. Gil.
The Forty-Five.[1]
The Queen's Necklace.[1]
The Companions of Jehu.[1]
From Madrid to Cadiz.
Queen Margot.
Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge. Apparently originally titled The Knight of Rougeville.
Also mentioned are works by Dumas' ghostwriter Auguste Maquet, especially Le Bonhomme Buvat or the Conspiracy of Cellamare, and Le Siècle, the magazine in which The Three Musketeers originally appeared between March and July 1844.
Other works mentioned are:
Richard Adams, Watership Down.[2]
Georg Agricola, De re metallica Latin edition by Froben and Episcopius, Basle, 1556.[3]
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy.
the works of John James Audubon. A hypothetical find that would make Corso and La Ponte very wealthy.
the works of Azorín.
Berengario de Carpi, Tractatus.
Luís de Camões, Os Lusíadas. First edition in four volumes, Ibarra 1789.[3]
Jacques Cazotte, The Devil in Love.
Miguel de Cervantes, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda, an edition "signed by Trautz-Bauzonnet" or "Hardy".
Francisco Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros, Complutensian Polyglot Bible. Six volume edition.[3]
Simone de Colines, Praxis criminis persequendi, 1541.[3]
Jacques Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire Infernal, 1842.[3]
Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes stories including A Study in Scarlet and A Scandal in Bohemia.
Nicolaus Copernicus, De revolutionis celestium. Second edition, Basle 1566.[3]
Corpus Hermeticum. Cited as mentioning the Delomelanicon.
Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan.
Martin Delrio, Disquisitionum Magicarum, 1599/1600. A three-volume work on demonic magic.[4]
Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers. Spanish edition translated by Benito Perez Galdos.[1]
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.
Albrecht Dürer, De Symmetria, Paris/Nuremberg 1557, in Latin.[3]
any version of Faust
Francesco Maria Guazzo, Compendium Maleficarum.[4]
Patricia Highsmith, Carol.[2]
Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[1]
Pope Innocent VIII, Summis desiderantes affectibus.
Athanasius Kircher, Oedipus Aegyptiacus. Rome, 1652.[3]
Heinrich Kramer, Malleus Maleficarum. 1519 Lyon edition.[4]
Pierre de La Porte, Memoirs. Written by "a man in the confidence of Anne of Austria".
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick. The book forms the initial basis of the friendship between Lucas Corso and Flavio La Ponte.
Prosper Mérimée, Corsican Revenge.[1]
John Milton, Paradise Lost.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.
Marco Polo, The Book of Wonders.
Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, Rocambole. In forty volumes.
Nicholas Remy, Daemonolatreiae libri tres.[4]
Lucas de Rene, The Knight with the Yellow Doublet[5]
Roederer, Political and Romantic Intrigue from the Court of France.
Fernando de Rojas, La Celestina.
Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood.
Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche.
Hartmann Schedel, Nuremberg Chronicle.[3]
Ludovico Sinistrari, De Daemonialitate et Incubis et Succubis. 1680 manuscript, London 1875 printed edition.[4]
Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma. Supposedly translated by the narrator.
Eugène Sue, The Mysteries of Paris.[1]
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.[2]
Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend Edition by Nicolas Kesler, Basle 1493.[3]
Vulgata Clementina.[3]
Michel Zevaco, The Pardellanes.[1]

Fictional books

Occultist works published by Aristide Torchia in Venice:
The Nine Doors to the Kingdom of Shadows. Venice, 1666. The book Corso is looking for, which contains reprints of illustrations from the Delomelanicon.
Key to Captive Thoughts, 1653.
A Curious Explanation of Mysteries and Hieroglyphs.
The Three Books of the Art, 1658.
Nicholas Tamisso, The Secrets of Wisdom, 1650.
Bernard Trevisan, The Lost Word, 1661. A fictional edition of an actual 14th century alchemy treatise.
Other occultist writings:
Asclemandres. A book mentioning the existence of the Delomalanicon
Delomelanicon, or Invocation of Darkness. A long-destroyed book containing a formula for summoning the devil, written by Lucifer himself.
De origine, moribus et rebus gestis Satanae.[3]
Disertazioni sopra le apprarizioni de' spiriti e diavoli.[3]
Leonardo Fioravanti, Compendi dei secreti, 1571.[3]
Restructor omnium rerum.[3]
Non-fiction books written by Baroness Ungern:
Isis, the Naked Virgin.
The Devil, History and Legend.
Other fictional works mentioned are:
Books by Boris Balkan:
Dumas: the Shadow of a Giant.
Mateu, Universal Bibliography. A 1929 rare books guide used by Corso and his rivals.
Julio Ollero, Dictionary of Rare and Improbable Books.
Books by Enrique Taillefer:
The Thousand Best Desserts of La Mancha. A cooking book.
The Secrets of Barbecue. A cooking book.
The Dead Man's Hand, or Anne of Austria's Page.. Taillefer's unpublished novel, cribbed largely from Angeline de Gravaillac.
Amaury de Verona, Angeline de Gravaillac, or Unsullied Virtue, published in the 19th century in The Popular Illustrated Novel.
Books by an unnamed Nobel prize winning auhtor:
I, Onan
In Search of Myself
Oui, C'est Moi.


1 a b c d e f g h i j k Appearing in the the library of the recently deceased Enrique Taillefery
2 a b c Recommended by Corso to barkeep Makarova
3 a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Appearing in Victor Fargas' collection.
4 a b c d e Appearing at the Ungern Foundation library
5 Appearing in Boris Balkan's library.
Retrieved from ""


Sunday, 30 March 2008


"Vanity, definitely my favorite sin"
- John Milton (Al pacino) in Devil's Advocate



Over hundred of monks arrested after a raid in Ngaba Kirti Monastery – 28 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
After days of unrest and protests in Ngaba County since 15 March, which saw the death of at least 23 Tibetans, arrest and injury of over hundreds, the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) forces arrested over a hundred monks from Ngaba Kirti Monastery during a raid of the monastery this afternoon, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)...
Elderly woman brutally beaten during Township meeting – 27 March 2008 [Press Release]
Following the protests by monks in Drango (Ch: Luhuo) County on 24 March, leading to the death of an 18-year-old monk and the subsequent solidarity protest on 25 March 2008, the local authority has expelled a large number of monks from Chogri Monastery and arrested some nuns of Nanggong (Tib translit: nganga sgong) Nunnery, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). Sources also reported disappearances of many lay people from the area...
Protest erupts after prayer for deceased in Drango County – 26 March 2008 [Press Release]
Following a peaceful protest in Drango County (Ch: Luhuo xian), Kardze "TAP", Sichuan Province, on 24 March 2008 which resulted in the death of one Tibetan and another left in critical condition after People's Armed Police (PAP) fired indiscriminately into the protesting crowd, the monks of Drango Gaden Rabten Nampargyalpeling Monastery organized a special prayer session for the deceased in the morning of 25 March...
Death toll rise to 79, over 1200 arrests and more than 100 disappear in Tibet – 25 March 2008 [Press Release]
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has been closely monitoring the situation inside Tibet particularly since 10 March 2008 when the first peaceful protest led by Tibetan Buddhist monks broke up in Lhasa on the 49th anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day...
One shot dead and another in critical condition in Drango protest – 24 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
According to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), at least one Tibetan protester was shot dead and another left in critical condition following indiscriminate firing by the People's Armed Police on the protesting Tibetans in Drango County, Kardze "Tibet Autonomous Prefecture" today afternoon...
Pictures of Tibetans protesting in Chigdril County, Golog "TAP", Qinghai Province, on 17 March 2008 – 24 March 2008 [Photo Release]
TCHRD obtained fresh pictures of Tibetans protesting against Chinese government on 17 March 2008, in Chigdril County, (Ch: Juizhi Xian), Golog "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" ("TAP"), Qinghai Province...
Hundreds of Tibetans protested in Chentsa, Malho "TAP", Qinghai Province – 23 March 2008 [Press Release]
Tibetan MPs and many others join TCHRD’s Solidarity Movement! – 23 March 2008 [Press Statement]
Fresh ultimatum issued in Gansu for Tibetans to surrender – 21 March 2008 [Press Release]
Tibetans facing massive arrest drive in Tibet – 20 March 2008 [Press Release]
Middle school student shot dead in Ngaba County – 20 March 2008 [Press Release]
Join TCHRD movement to end killings, arbitrary arrests, inhumane torture and enforced disappearances in Tibet – 20 March 2008 [Press Statement]
More protests reported from Achok Tsenyi and Dzoge Monastery in Tibet – 19 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Hundreds of Tibetans protested in Kanlho, Gansu – 19 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Atleast three Tibetans shot dead in Kardze Protest – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Hundreds protest in Amdo Bora – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Thousands of Tibetans Protested in Sertha County, Kardze – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Photographic evidence of the bloody crackdown on peaceful protesting Tibetan at Ngaba County, Sichuan Province, on 16 March 2008 – 18 March 2008 [Photo Release]
New cases of arrests and detentions reported from Lithang – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
500 Hundred monks protest in Kanlho, Gansu Province – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Thirty Tibetan protestors arrested in Toelung Dechen County – 18 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Hundreds of Tibetan devotees protest in Amdo Golog – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Fresh Pictures of Tibetan protesters' dead bodies and crackdown by the Chinese security forces. – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Tibetan students demonstrate in Tsoe City – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Fresh Pictures: University students join the protest demonstration in Lanzhuo, Gansu Province, eastern Tibet – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Fresh demonstration broke out in Amdo Mangra – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Sporadic protests reported from Meldrogungkar and Phenpo Lhundup – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Around 40 middle school students arrested in Marthang – 17 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Mass abductions in midnight raids by Chinese security forces in Lhasa – 16 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Students staged a protest in eastern Tibet – 16 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Eight dead bodies brought into Ngaba Kirti Monastery – 16 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
Fresh Protest broke out in Rebkong – 16 March 2008 [For Immediate Release]
At least seven shot dead in demonstration in Ngaba County – 16 March 2008 [Press Release]
News Just in: Fresh protest by Amdo Ngaba Kirti monks – 16 March 2008 [Press Release]
Fresh protests in Amdo Labrang – 15 March 2008
Death toll mounts as Tibet Uprising Continues: TCHRD calls upon UN to send a Fact Finding Mission – 15 March 2008
Fresh Pictures: thousands of Tibetans demonstrated in Amdo Tashi Kyi Labrang, Sangchu County, Gansu Province in North Eastern Tibet on 15 March 2008 – 15 March 2008
Mobile phone pictures depict intensity of demonstration in Amdo Labrang – 14 March 2008
Tension intensifies in Lhasa – 14 March 2008
Tibet reeling under tense situation- Nuns of Chutsang Nunnery join the protest – 14 March 2008
Picture identities of visiting monk students of Sera Monastery arrested on 10 March 2008 from Barkhor Street, Lhasa, for their pro-Tibet protest. – 12 March 2008
TCHRD fears torture and inhumane treatment on the arrestees from Barkhor protest on Tibetan Uprising Day – 12 March 2008
Scores of Tibetans arrested for peaceful protest in Lhasa – 11 March 2008

Saturday, 29 March 2008


Morgan AeroMax enters limited production

Considering how often Morgan radically changes the design of their vehicles, the company has shown up rather often on our pages as of late. Last week, the Morgan LifeCar was shown in Geneva, and while we are impressed by the concept that the enigmatic British company was able to crank out, the AeroMax isn't a concept, but a real vehicle that is now officially in production. Originally announced in 2006, the AeroMax successfully blends modern and retro in both design and engineering. Featuring a frame made from ash wood, a body pounded into shape from aluminum and a 4.8-liter, 367 horsepower V8 engine from BMW, the lightweight sporting coupe can accelerate from 0-60 in just about 4 seconds and keep going to a top speed of around 170 mph.

Despite the seemingly low-tech construction methods, this is the first Morgan to feature an automatic transmission and a Canbus wiring setup. Other standard features include Electronic Brake Distribution with ABS, tire pressure monitoring and dual power rear windows which open like wings allowing access to the available leather luggage. According to Morgan's website, all 100 are already spoken for, but they've started a reserve list in case any orders get canceled. If you want one, better get on that list soon.


March 24, 2008 -- BRUCE Willis could be distancing himself from his reputation as a shot-and-a-beer guy. The Post's Braden Keil reports the action star is a partner in the Bowery Wine Co., which opens to the public this weekend at 13 E. First St. "It's upscale and loungy," says owner Chris Sileo, formerly beverage director at The Plaza. "We'll have high-end, light fare that will include paninis, salads and desserts." Willis and his pals, "Sopranos" regulars Vincent Curatola and John Ventimiglia, already christened the place at a private party last week, where the "Die Hard" star took his place behind the bar.

If you're interested here's the adress:

13 E. 1st St.(Bowery & First Ave.)
East Village


An intimate memoir of Che Guevara by his widow is making the rounds of New York publishers this week as the 40th anniversary of his death approaches.

Aleida March tenderly describes the man behind the revolutionary icon in her manuscript, "Evocation." Her book details her experiences falling in love, marrying and raising four children with Guevara, who was killed in Bolivia at age 39.

March, the second wife of the Argentine-born rebel, was convinced to finally tell her story by respected Italian filmmaker Alessandro Cecconi.

She reveals that after a romance that began when they were guerrilla comrades in the Cuban revolution, Che wanted their 1959 wedding to be small and private. But Raul Castro found out and threw a big party. Unfortunately, he neglected to invite his own brother, Fidel, who was miffed.

"Nobody told Fidel, because of the clandestine way in which the party was planned, and he arrived complaining that nobody had invited him," March writes. "He left soon afterward."

Che gave his bride a bottle of Flor de Roca perfume by Caron, "which, of course, I never forgot," she reminisces. But Che wouldn't let her keep the many gifts sent to them, giving them away to the poor.

"On his trips, he would receive gifts from his hosts, some of them very expensive," March writes. "He would get presents for me as well, and he would give them away if he considered them too ostentatious."

She was given a color TV only to see Che pass it on to a factory worker. "And back then, it was sort of an unimaginable item," March says, adding: "Once, after a trip to Algeria, he received a barrel of an excellent wine. When he arrived home, he told me to give it to the army barracks near our home. I would not always unconditionally obey his mandates. Knowing that wine was one of the few treats he allowed himself, I kept five liters."

Che had a dry sense of humor, she writes, adding that he once teased her in a postcard from Morocco, "I was planning to stay faithful to you, but you should see these Moorish girls!"

One of the most heart-rending stories March tells is how Che dressed in disguise to visit his own children before a secret trip to Bolivia to foment revolution there. "When the kids arrived, I introduced them to an Uruguayan old man, 'Ramon' [Che], a 'friend' of dad's. They never imagined this 60-year-old man could be their daddy," March writes. "For both Che and me,it was an extremely painful moment.

"The kids played with 'Ramón' all day. Then, Aleidita [then 7] hit her head after running wild, and Che [a physician] took care of her. Soon afterwards, she came to me to tell me a secret he could overhear: 'Mommy, this man is in love with me!'

Che was captured by CIA-led Bolivian soldiers on Oct. 9, 1967, and killed the next day after telling his executioner, "Shoot, coward. You are only going to kill a man."


«THE COSMOS ROCKS» is Queen's newest record, coming out next September, followed by a world "tour" after it's release.

The band new line up: Paul Rodgers (voice), Brian May (guitar), Roger Taylor (drums).

Fifteen years after Freddy Mercury's death is it time to say:

"The King is Dead, Long Live The King...or should we say...Queen ?


Curtis poses topless for AARP magazine

WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who turns 50 this year, has posed topless for the latest edition of AARP magazine.

The daughter of screen icons Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis is best known for her roles in "Halloween," "Trading Places," "A Fish Called Wanda," "True Lies" and "Freaky Friday.

"She will be seen topless on the cover of the May/June issue of the magazine, which is geared to Americans ages 50 and over."

I want to be older," Curtis told the magazine. "I actually think there's an incredible amount of self-knowledge that comes with getting older. I feel way better now than I did when I was 20. I'm stronger, I'm smarter in every way, I'm so much less crazy than I was then. ...Getting older means paring yourself down to an essential version of yourself.

"Curtis said that philosophy extends to her sense of personal style, too.

"I've let my hair go gray. I wear only black and white. Every year I buy three or four black dresses that I just keep in rotation. I own one pair of blue jeans. I've given away all my jewelry, because I don't wear it," she said.


For those who know Flora, an introduction is unnecessary. Her music has interwoven the life fabric of anyone with a passing interest in Latin and American jazz music for over 25 years.

Her once-in-a-generation six-octave voice has earned her two Grammy nominations for Best Female Jazz Performance and Downbeat magazines Best Female Singer accolade on four occasions. Her musical partners have included Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie and Airto Moreira, with whom she has collaborated on over 30 albums since moving with him from her native Rio to New York in 1967.

Her musical genius was inbred thanks to a Russian émigré father who played violin and a mother who was a talented pianist in her own right. Before leaving Brazil to escape the repressive military regime of the time, she had mastered piano and guitar and liberated an exhilarating vocal talent.

In New York, she and Airto became central to the period of musical expression and creativity, which produced the first commercially successful Electric Jazz groups of the 70s.

Blue Note artist Duke Pearson was the first American musician to invite Flora to sing alongside him on stage and on record. She then toured with Gil Evans about whom she says, this guy has changed my life. He gave us a lot of support to do the craziest stuff. This was the beginning for me. Her reputation as an outstanding performer gained her work with Chick Corea and Stan Getz as part of the New Jazz movement that also contained the nurturing influence of sax man Cannonball Adderley.

Shortly after, Flora started in earnest to re-educate discriminating musical minds, after linking up with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Joe Farrell to form "Return To Forever" in late 1971.

Two classic albums resulted - "Return to Forever" and "Light as a Feather" - nodal points in the development of fusion jazz. When Chick decided to drive further still down the electric road, Flora and Airto chose their own path. Airto by this time had already begun to create his own legend by playing with Miles Davis in 1970, before helping to found the jazz wellspring that was "Weather Report".

Her first solo album in the US, Butterfly Dreams was released in 1973, which put her right away to the Top Five Jazz Singers on the Downbeat Magazine Fame Jazz Poll.

Flora went on to contribute to some of the greatest recording of the seventies - Carlos Santana, Hermeto Pascoal, Gil Evans, Chick Corea and Mickey Hart all benefiting from her vocal and arranging skills. In the mid-Eighties, Flora and Airto resumed their musical partnership to record two albums for Concord - "Humble People" and "The Magicians" for which she received Grammy nominations. In 1992 she went one better by singing on two Grammy winning albums - "Planet Drum" with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart (Best World Music Album) and the Dizzy Gillespie "United Nations Orchestra" (Best Jazz Album).

The launch of the highly combustive Latin jazz band Fourth World in 1991 with Airto, new guitar hero Jose Neto and keyboards and reeds supreme Gary Meek, marked a new era in Flora's career. The band signed to new UK-based jazz label B&W Music - and Flora consciously set out to win over the next wave of listeners.

Gigs at the Forum and collaborations with leading UK DJ/producers Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge led to Flora and Airto as guests on several influential contemporary recordings, including the James Taylor Quartets "Supernatural Feeling" and Urban Species "Listen". Gilles subsequently spent time in the studio remixing "Now Go Ahead and Open Your Eyes" with help of hot new producer Tyrrell and London session drummer and producer Andrew Missingham.Flora's 1995 world tour started in traditional style with a month a Soho's Ronnie Scott's Club with a new band that includes Gary Brown on bass, Helio Alves on keyboards and regular Fourth World rhythm and psychedelic guitar player Jose Neto, along with Puerto Rico master of congas Giovanni Hidalgo and, of course, Airto, joined Flora to take her new album "Speed of Light" on the road.

Recorded across two continents and featuring some of the top names in contemporary jazz such as Billy Cobham, Freddie Ravel, George Duke, David Zeiher, Walfredo Reyes, Alphonso Johnson, Changuito, Freddie Santiago and Giovanni Hidalgo, the album demonstrates emphatically that Flora is ready to shape the sound of the nineties. With important writing and performing contributions from Chill Factor and Flora's daughter Diana Booker. "Speed of Light" makes the connection between her experimental beginnings with Chick Corea and Gil Evans and the new "head" music being produced by jazz players out of the London and New York "Trip Hop" scenes.

Whilst this is certainly music for the head, it is the heart that responds to Flora's extraordinary voice. Open your ears and you will fly.

In 2002, with two new releases by Narada Records, the jazzy "Perpetual Emotion" and the world music "Flora Sings Milton Nascimento", once again Flora takes the listeners to the edge of their imagination.

In September of 2002, Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso named Flora Purim and Airto Moreira to the "Order of Rio Branco", one of Brazil's highest honors. The Order of Rio Branco was created in 1963 to formally recognize Brazilian and foreign individuals who have significantly contributed to the promotion of Brazil's international relations. The order is named after Barão do Rio Branco, Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1902 to 1912, famous for his role in negotiating the national borders of Brazil and referred as the "Father of Brazil's Diplomacy".

The album "Speak No Evil" was released in January of 2003. This is Flora's third album with Narada Records. After listening to the album, George Duke had this to say: "Flora is one of those rare talents that truly understand how to phrase lyrics and melody". Then he said, "she can swing - and she can sing!"

Flora's new album entitled "Flora's Song" was released by Narada Record on June 28th, 2005. "Brazilian Jazz at it's best with colors and rhythms of world music. Rhythms of my soul mixed with the sounds of my heart communicating with words that express the times, trials and tribulations of the world right now as I perceive it."



Friday, 28 March 2008


A tramway museum is operated by the transit company, Carris, in the shadow of the Ponte de 25 Abril bridge (a suspension bridge modeled after the Golden Gate Bridge, with the addition of a lower deck for a rail line). The collection includes many preserved Lisbon trams-- however, the ones operating are just as old as those in the museum collection! The museum is located at the same site as one of the major tram/light rail yards so the photos below depict the entire site, active yard and museum equipment.

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