No stars in ‘Star Wars’ jump into hyperspace

Updated 15 January 2013
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No stars in ‘Star Wars’ jump into hyperspace

PARIS: Remember that dazzling moment in the “Star Wars” movies when the Millennium Falcon goes into hyperspace and a kaleidoscope of stars streaks past the ship? Sadly — like a lot of things in sci-fi movies — that really wouldn’t happen, a team of British science students have calculated. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia would not see any approaching stars as they accelerate through the galaxy because of the Doppler effect, students at the University of Leicester said.
This is the phenomenon by which the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation shortens or lengthens depending on whether the source is nearing or moving away from the person who is perceiving it. The classic example of the Doppler effect is the siren of a fire engine or ambulance, whose pitch changes relative to the bystander as it races down the street.
Because the Millennium Falcon is speeding toward the stars, the wavelength of the stellar light would shorten, which means it would move out of the visible part of the energy spectrum and into the X-ray range, the students calculated. On the other hand, cosmic microwave background radiation — the backwash of radiation from the Big Bang which created the Universe 14 billion years ago — would lengthen in wavelength and suddenly become visible.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.