A Better Way Of Life – ELYSIUM

23 09 2013

Elysium (TriStar Pictures - 2013)

If you were offered the chance at having a better life than you do now, would you take it? well in many a sense it depends on what do you do now. If you prefer your current life you may not take it, but if it is the case that you are living quite poorly like many third world countries you would probably have the salesman’s hand off. But let’s just say that you do want a better way of life, so you say yes to the salesman’s offer. He then says it involves moving are you ok with that? Probably, then he tells you have to move into space on a giant space station, what would your answer be. Well I have always thought that I would probably go insane if I went into space, but on Elysium, it looks quite nice.

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I have been looking forward to this film for a while. Why? Well because it was directed by Neill Blomkamp. The man to date has only directed one feature film, but it was Amazing, that film being District 9 and so as a result when I found out that he was making a new film, I was both pleased and excited. While the Elysium is neither a sequel nor a prequel to District 9, it is set in a similar theme and deals with similar themes.

Neill Blomkamp

In the distant future (141 years from now) the earth is disease ridden and overpopulated. The wealthy left the earth to live on Elysium to preserve their way of life. The people on Elysium also have access to top-notch medical equipment which can heal anything. Back on earth meanwhile the residents of the earth live in poverty. Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) grows up in an orphanage and makes a friend named Frey (Alice Braga). Max grows up with hopes of going to Elysium so he can take Frey there. When he grows up he is trying to make an honest living after some time as a convict, which is particularly hard when the police are ruthless robots. While working at a robotics factory he succumbs to radiation poisoning and is let go. He has only a few days left to live.

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Meanwhile, several shuttles attempt to land refugees on Elysium, the stations defence secretary, Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) uses sleeper agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to shoot them down but one manages to get through, everyone on the shuttle is apprehended though within minutes. Delacourt is brought in front of the president of Elysium who does not like that civilians were killed or the use of sleeper agents and so Delacourt is given a warning. She goes to see John Carlyle (William Fichtner), the head of the robotics firm who built Elysium and asks him to cause a system reboot to put her in charge.

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Max, down in the dumps after being fired decides to do a job for notorious smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) and has his body fused with an exoskeleton machine which enhances his abilities to that of a robot. Along with 3 other soldiers including a good friend, they attack Carlyle, to obtain pass code information to get into Elysium; instead they collect the reboot code. The group are attacked while trying to escape from a now reinstated Kruger and his henchmen. Max manages to survive and finds Frey who is trying to look after her dying daughter.

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Max wakes up after getting healed from a stab wound and goes on the run from Kruger, who after finding his location takes Frey and her daughter captive. Max finds out from Spider that the information he got from Carlyle could make everyone on earth a citizen of Elysium. Max bargains with Kruger who takes all three of them to Elysium, however a scuffle on board ensues and the ship crash lands on Elysium, Kruger’s face is wrecked and Max, Frey and her daughter are apprehended.

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Doctors on Elysium attempt to extract the data from Max, but Max manage to escape and looks for Frey and her daughter. Kruger receives treatment in a matter of seconds and his face is completely restored. He kills Delacourt, has an exoskeleton attached to him and hunts for Max so he can use the data to rule Elysium. Kruger’s men cause chaos on Elysium and Spider manages to sneak on board. Kruger and Max confront each other and a fight ensues with Kruger dying after Max throws him off a ledge. Spider and Max manage to get to the main hub on Elysium and load up the data which kills Max. As a result everyone on Earth becomes a citizen and medical pods are dispatched all over the world to deal with the sick including Frey’s daughter on Elysium. E1

Elysium’s special effects are some of the best I have seen in recent years. This is mainly from the robots who don’t look very sci-fi-ish, they look more sort of the now instead of the future. Other forms of special effects include the outside images of Elysium where you can actually see what it is like on the surface with things like houses as well as the great scale of environments such as the inside processing plants and the curvature of Elysium itself when looking at the buildings and landscape. While down on Earth, most of the landscape is realistic due to it being shot on location but the ships, while looking very industrial and dilapidated like the spaceship in District 9, look like you can go up to them and actually touch them. It is important in many respects to remember that Blomkamp used to work in Special Effects and so he knows how important the right effect is but also how to produce them.

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The film’s cast are a nice pleasant mix of different personalities. Max has that redeeming feature of him of someone who is trying to do the right thing in a bad world and this is shown by him trying to get back in people’s good books after some time as a criminal. While his job like many people’s is low pay and down trodden, he just gets on with it and tries to make the best out of it knowing how important it is and how much of a rare opportunity it is. But he is also determined and this helps him greatly when he attempts to get to Elysium and is willing to go to the extremes to achieve the right outcome.

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Frey has the character of someone who is very caring and so you can see how important she is to Max. Her daughter Matilda (Emma Tremblay) meanwhile sees to be like some philosopher when she tells the story of the Hippo and the Meerkat, almost like Willow Smith in I Am Legend, it is a nice part, but a bit confusing. Delacourt meanwhile is cold and calculating and has a bit of a superiority complex but there is a redeeming feature in her as someone who may actually have a caring side. Spider is a great character and has a very warm essence around him, an essence that you care for him and are pleased when he is around.

Jodie Foster, Emma Tremblay, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Wagner Moura

For me though, no one stood out better than Sharlto Copley. As Kruger you can tell that he is a dangerous man, a soldier, a warrior and he is willing and can do anything to achieve the outcome he wishes. but he is not a stable man, as in he is not mentally stable. Throughout the film, particularly when he got involved with Frey and her daughter, you can see more of a psychopathic idea coming out of him, but towards the beginning you wonder if he is a robot? He is brutal and harsh and likes to cause as much chaos as possible, because he thinks he can get away with it. When he goes up to Elysium, he causes as much chaos as possible and you can tell that if he were to run the station, he would probably make the civilian population his slaves.

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Watching the film, it is hard to ignore the level of graphic gruesome effects that the film has. lots of occasions of blood splatter as well as body damage that just looks gruesome and horrible. But in many a sense it is required to show how things work including how the exoskeleton is attached and Kruger’s facial reconstruction. I am not for one second saying it is ok to do that kind of thing all the time, I am just stating that it gives a level of understanding about how the world of Elysium works and feels and acts as another point when looking at how bad the world has become.

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While watching this film, you do wonder how it is going to turn out. On the eve of the film I was wondering if it was going to be along similar lines to District 9 as the film does have those tones about it. People having a better life than others because they are privileged and in many sense I was right as the population of earth is sort of trodden on for the benefit of those above. The people on Elysium have mansions with gardens and swimming pools all to them selves and ride in ships made by Bugatti and have the best medical care possible while those on earth are lucky enough to have running water and a roof over their head, if even that. When you see how cruel the robot police are and find out that the corporation that build them are involved with Elysium, and when air traffic in a whole are is locked down by those on Elysium. You wonder if those who run Elysium also run Earth and when people try to get on Elysium via ships, you can see their desperation to get there because of how bad Earth has become, but you also see how cruel the people of Elysium are denying people who need Medical Attention for one as well as how far and how efficiently they will go to prevent their way of life being snatched from them. And so I was beginning to think that the film would have some kind of attack scene with earth ships attacking Elysium, or if the Robots were going to be reprogrammed to attack it, but instead you get something completely different and almost unpredictable as it is not the case of whole armies rescuing the down trodden, it is the freedom fighters.

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Elysium is definitely a film that should not be overlooked, it is very enjoyable on all levels as it is not just an action film. You may want to pass it off as a sci-fi action film but it also has a lot of emotion and drama to it as well including a bleak idea of the future and the selfish attitudes of those who are willing to keep others beneath them to keep hold of their own way of life.

GENEPOOL

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Your Choice 5 (Part 2): Future Classics

20 09 2013

Your Choice 5

Earlier in the week I announced the start of the next and possibly the last (for now) Film Vote, the annual event where my lovely readers get to choose what film I review. As previously announced the theme for this year is Classics and Future Classics. We have seen the classics, it is now time for the Future Classics, film that have been released 2000 onwards to which have great possibility of becoming Classics in their own right in the future. So here is the choice you have:

13 Assassins (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2010)

13 Assassins: Directed by Japanese Horror Master Takashi Miike (One of the Greatest living Directors), 13 Assassins follows a group of warriors led by Kōji Yakusho (My 2nd Favourite Actor) who are attempting to Assassinate an up and coming leader of the nation who plans to end 200 years of peace and bring back the age of war. While technically being a remake of Eiichi Kudo‘s 1963 film, 13 Assassins is one of the best films released this Century. In my opinion, it is the best Period Piece since Seven Samurai. With an epic sense of Drama, Action and possibly the longest battle in movie history at 50 minutes long, 13 Assassins is one film you cannot and will not afford to miss.

District 9 (TriStar Pictures - 2009)

District 9: The first feature film from Neill Blomkamp which went on to be nominated for 4 awards at the 2010 Academy Awards including Best Picture, District 9 is a one of a kind Science Fiction film. Starring Sharlto Copley as the man instructed with removing Aliens from an Area of Johannesburg, he later becomes the number 1 target after gaining knowledge of Alien Technology. The film’s story draws upon and acts as a reminder to events that had occurred in District Six of Cape Town during the Apartheid Regime. With some amazing special effects, action and tension that does not stop growing until the film’s conclusion, this is not just some Science Fiction film, it is more than that.

Ice Age (Blue Sky Studios - 2002)

Ice Age: Produced at a time when the CGI Animation industry was already dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Ice Age arrived out of know where by new Studio Blue Sky Studios and blasted away its competitors. The film follows a group of Mammals as they attempt to get a human baby back to its parents while trying to avoid the perils of the Ice Age. Ice Age would go on to be the first film in a series that would go on to gross almost 3 Billion Dollars worldwide. While studios like Pixar and DreamWorks continue to make films, they have yet to produce something as good if not better in my opinion than Ice Age.

King Arthur (Touchstone Pictures - 2004)

King Arthur: Released at a time when Medieval Fantasy films were taking control of Cinema, King Arthur arrived and focussed on much more than just Giant Battles. Based on the ancient legend, King Arthur and his men are on a mission to protect their nation from the arrival of the Saxons. Starring Clive Owen, Keira Knightley and Stellan Skarsgård, King Arthur is one incredible film.

Sherlock Holmes (Silver Pictures - 2009)

Sherlock Holmes: Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, Sherlock Holmes follows the master detective as he fights supernatural and dark powers to save England from the tyrannical mastermind Lord Blackwood played by Mark Strong. While not being heavy in the special effects front as another film released in 2009, Sherlock Holmes was definitely the best at Drama and Story with a twist of Comedy thrown in that will keep a smile on your face throughout, but does not stop the Action getting as tense as it does. With greatly designed scenes, a soundtrack that you want to tap your feet to, Sherlock Holmes is a film for everyone to enjoy.

Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal Pictures - 2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman: One of two films released in 2012 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the original tale, Kristen Stewart stars as the Fugitive Princess led through a magical world by Chris Hemsworth trying to run away from the tyrannical queen Charlize Theron. With an all-star cast and a level of detail that other films of its genre can only hope to achieve alongside a soundtrack that fits it well and a sense of scale and beauty over long distances, Snow White and the Huntsman is a magical journey like no other. It’s like the majestic beauty of Pan’s Labyrinth meets the size and scale of RAN.

Welcome to the Punch (Momentum Pictures - 2013)

Welcome to the Punch: A script rated as the third greatest un-produced script, finally released just this year with executive producer by Ridley Scott. Starring James McAvoy as a British police detective with his mind on capturing wanted convict Mark Strong who injured him a few years earlier with help from the Amazing Andrea Riseborough. With a cast of some of Britain’s finest actors, Welcome to the Punch is one gritty action packed thriller with essences of Mystery, Thriller and Intrigue. One of very few British crime films around these days, this is definitely one that no one should overlook.

So there are the choices, for you to choose from, so onto voting. The voting process for this vote is the same as the previous post. Here are the details again: Choose which film you would like to see reviewed (or if unsure, you can choose 3) by clicking in the required fields on the poll and then click vote. While the poll does block previous voters, you can always get over that by using another computer, so if you really want to see your choice win, just keep doing that. The poll will be open from now until the stroke of midnight into the new year this coming December 31st. So, take a look at the choices above choose one (or two or three if unsure), and place your vote. Don’t forget to vote in the Classics Vote if you have not done so already, check back soon for updates on the vote as well as in the New Year to see which has won. Thank You.

GENEPOOL





King Arthur

18 09 2013

Excalibur

The battle before the dawn,

The new leader arose,

Arthur he was born,

Only few would oppose.

Brought up in secret,

His father died,

Who would be the new king of merit?

How would they decide?

Tasked by a wizard,

A sword in stone,

To many it felt anchored,

But to Arthur it did not weigh a tonne.

Camelot was his home,

A strong Fortress,

A country now his to roam,

He was not callous.

Out in the lake he could see,

A lady with a gift,

A blade that could down a tree,

And battles that would end swift.

Peace would not last forever,

And the country fought itself,

Poison quicker than an Adder,

His life was almost nought.

Floated off down a stream,

To a far away kingdom,

A place like a dream,

His wounds no longer bedlam.

Now a long forgotten Legend,

A king’s story,

But his return is destined,

For the British will be free.

GENEPOOL





Your Choice 5 (Part 1): Classics

16 09 2013

Your Choice 5

About this time every year since 2010 I have given my readers the opportunity to choose a film for me to review. On the previous 4 occasions (ok, one of them was mid 2011), I have reviewed High School Musical, Cloverfield, The Host, Slumdog Millionaire and Star Wars Episode 1. Now we arrive at the 5th vote, but over the course of the series, the voting numbers have gone down and so I have decided that after this vote, I might give it a break for a year or so and then bring it back eventually (or maybe do it next year anyway if this year does well or if I want to, but more likely I will only bring it back next year if the votes from this year go up from previous years). So because of this, I have decided to do something really big this year. Classics and Future Classics. I have chosen 7 films which are highly regarded as some of the best films produced in the entire history of Cinema, but that’s not all. I have also chosen 7 films produced this current century (2000 onwards) which I think have great potential in becoming classics themselves. For this post we are going to concentrate on the Classics, check back later in the week for the Future Classics.

Easy Rider (Columbia Pictures - 1969)

Easy Rider: Directed by Legendary Actor Dennis Hopper and starring both him and Peter Fonda, Easy Rider is a road movie about two bikers going on a journey across south of America. A landmark film of its time and helped to get the wheels turning for New Hollywood Era. the film explores many issues that were happening around America at the time including Drug Use and the Hippie Movement. The film’s soundtrack is also of particular note as it used music from bands including Steppenwolf and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Easy Rider is quite possibly the Greatest Road Movie of all time.

Jaws (Universal Pictures - 1975)

Jaws: Steven Spielberg‘s 4th film as well as in many ways being the archetype film for all future Summer Blockbusters, this classic film about a monstrous Shark who comes and terrorizes a small town in America, is one of the most critically acclaimed, successful, well-remembered and much-loved films of all time. Based on the book of the same name by Peter Benchley, and starring Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, the film looks to the more human side of the film than like with some other monster movies who just look at the Monster. The film also has one of the cinema’s most well known pieces of music produced by John Williams who would later work on Star Wars. Almost 40 years on since it was produced Jaws still captivates movie goers around the world and on many occasions, may still scare people into not going back in the water.

Jurassic Park (Universal Pictures - 1993)

Jurassic Park: 18 years after frightening people with Jaws, Steven Spielberg would once again captivate audiences with one of the worlds most ground-breaking, modern films. Based on the book of the same name by Michael Crichton, the film follows a group of explorers played by Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum who travel to a safari park where Dinosaurs have been brought back to life, what could possibly go wrong. With another excellent score provided by John Williams and special effects that shook up an entire industry and still to this day are pretty much unmatched in sheer scale and the experience it gives, Jurassic Park has thrilled audiences world wide and has created a Legacy that continues to live on to this day in the hearts of many a movie goer.

The Hidden Fortress (Toho Co., Ltd. - 1958)

The Hidden Fortress: From Legendary Director Akira Kurosawa comes The Hidden Fortress. Released four years after Seven Samurai, the Hidden Fortress is a classic in its own right. Starring Legendary Japanese Actor Toshirô Mifune, the film follows the journey of a couple of fools as they are enlisted by a General to help escort a princess through enemy territory. The films score was produced by Masaru Satô who in the space of 44 years working with Toho would produce 300 film scores. 19 years later the film would become a huge influence to director George Lucas when he produced his first Star Wars film, but in many a way, The Hidden Fortress is better than Star Wars.

The Lion King (Disney - 1994)

The Lion King: Produced at a time when Animated CGI films had yet to make an appearance, this animated musical would become on of Disney’s most well-loved classic films. The film follows young lion Simba on his quest to take his father’s place and prevent his uncle from taking over the land (I had to look that up as I personally have not seen The Lion King). The film was scored by Hans Zimmer, one of his earliest successes and at the time of its release became the second highest grossing film after Jurassic Park. While films of this style don’t really exist anymore these days, films like The Lion King continue to make an impact to audiences worldwide.

Top Gun (Paramount Pictures - 1986)

Top Gun: Directed by the Late Great Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, Top Gun follows Navy Pilot Maverick as he is given the chance to train to become one of the best pilots in the navy at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons school. An action film with scenes of Drama intertwined, the film is amazing shot with many amazing airborne shots as well as those that are more grounded on Earth. included with that is one Amazing and well-remembered soundtrack by many moviegoers that like the film has essences of both Drama and Action. Top Gun is a shining example of Action and Drama films but also a crowning achievement for Tony Scott.

Zulu (Paramount Pictures - 1964)

Zulu: Directed by Cy Endfield and starring Stanley Baker and the breakthrough performance of Michael Caine, Zulu is one of the great War Films. Set during the events of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift where 150 British soldiers defended their small outpost against the might of 4000 Zulu Warriors. With an amazing cast of actors, great scenes almost unparalleled to any other film produced to date and a soundtrack which consisted of both studio produced music from John Barry and the voices of the actors playing the Zulu Warriors many of whom were descendants of those who fought in the great battle. Zulu is a one of a kind film that should be viewed by all, one of the real Greats.

So those are the films of the first part of this vote to choose from. So how do you vote, well that’s easy, just choose which film you would like to see reviewed (or if unsure, you can choose 3) by clicking in the required fields on the poll and then click vote. While the poll does block previous voters, you can always get over that by using another computer, so if you really want to see your choice win, just keep doing that. The poll will be open from now until the stroke of midnight into the new year this coming December 31st. So, take a look at the choices above choose one (or two or three), and place your vote. Check back later this week for part 2, in the meantime, get voting, Thank You.

GENEPOOL





My Week: 30/08/2013 – 31/08/2013

13 09 2013

My Week

Friday: With the week feeling that it is going quickly (or that could be me getting older), but not as quickly as it is taking to write this. But yes the week was quickly coming to an end, even quicker for some as they had either already left or were about to leave. But still, it’s important to get the most out of the week. I began by writing my Sketch/Monologue thing for the camp concert during breakfast, remembering to wake up first. I had ingested a lot of serial during the week, something I don’t normally do, but I liked ingesting cereal. On from this was the last word on Philippians from David before having a quick word from Jim about what I wanted to do that evening for the concert and ask for his assistance with it. Me, Hannah, Beth, Josh and Matt then had a game of Alhambra before lunch. It was in some way a fun game despite how annoying the currency was, but still somewhat fun. Other campers played Football before Lunchtime.

Because we were sitting outside I was able to retain my big comfy chair for Lunch. This is usually the day that I go somewhat mad after not having Red Meat for a while, this time I was able to keep calm. Shortly after lunch John M left so we all said goodbye, much like we did for Phil on Thursday just this time round we did not have the group hug. The afternoon was made up of more game time as some of us played King of Tokyo before finally having a game of Dixit Odyssey followed by Coup before a brief tea time.

During tea which took the form of Corn on the Cob so we did not spoil our stomachs for the BBQ, we took possession of our own copies of the camp photo and started to pass them around so we could have them signed and while I had them signed by my close friends and other long-term friends, I also had them signed by those who I had hoped I became friends with. Something I stated in a video interview, I made so many amazing new friends and hope that they feel the same way. Following on from tea we had a brief (late) talk from Adam who did his talk in two parts, one involved discussion, the other was a general talk. Then it was time to get ready for the concert.

The concert was one of the best years to date. Several exhibitions of music, a camp variation of Les Misérables which was amazing due to the size, scale and planning of it all, a barber shop quartet (and keyboard player), some Jazz and other forms of music too. My monologue went ok, bit shorter than previous years, I talked about how people should make a cup of tea, and there were some bits of comedy also from Kiran and Simon doing puns and the Cinderella which was very funny. An Amazing concert overall, absolutely amazing. I have already started planning what I hope to do for next year after being inspired by the performances.

Then we went down to the Bonfire for a BBQ (and people singing songs from Disney films). There was also some great Chicken soup, have not had that for years, but it was lovely nonetheless. Some people then went for the Midnight Walk while others decide to play Carcassonne. I decided to go to bed as the next day I would have a long distance to travel. On the way back to the tent I could see the blazing fire still going and in the woods and eventually near the road I could hear the midnight walkers.

Saturday: Camp eventually reached its climax on the Saturday. When I reached the barn after I woke up I could see some people were awake while others were sleeping on the sofas with blankets draped over them. While I would’ve happily stayed up all night, I probably would not have been in good form to go round London. Breakfast was 30 minutes later due to the hijinks and japes people got up to the previous night. People were still waking up and we had another go at the Superman themed song.

Following on from this was the morning share time, a time for people to share what they enjoyed and what lies ahead for them. Even I for the first time went up and talked. I mentioned how this was one of the best if not the best camp to date while trying to hold back the nervousness of presenting this. I mentioned how it was a great camp to make new friends but also how the camp had brought me closer to God. Some people cried while presenting while others were able to hold them back. After this we split up into different groups and did some more sharing before a quick round of prayer. Following on from this I packed my stuff up, said my goodbyes and went back to Dorking train station for my lift home.

The train home was generally ok. I managed to read some more of HUNGER before I arrived in London Victoria, got a Wasabi for lunch (something I always try to get while in London) before going on a relatively short journey back to Euston, found out my train times, got a Milkshake, got on the Pendolino and started the journey home. I was able to continue reading HUNGER for most of the journey and had a quick 30 minute nap before arriving in Lancaster.

I did of course have to carry all the heavy bags I had across the bridge to get some money out of the cash point before crossing the bridge again to get a Taxi. I then arrived home safe and sound, texted family and friends to let them know I got back OK, played with the cats for a bit before going online, onto Facebook to upload my Photos from the week.

This year’s Camp was Amazing. To begin with it was hard not having my close and long-time friends around, like Josh and Hannah, but in a way this allowed me the opportunity to make new friends, something I generally find hard to do due to my extreme shyness, but in the end I was able to pluck up the courage to talk to new people and make new friends. Friends who I have either not met before or have but did not know them all that well; and this made me very happy and I hope that these people who I now think of as friends consider me also (as stated on a video interview by Rebecka). While there were still some I did not get a chance to meet, that gives future opportunities to make more friends. While camp has ended and that is sad, it is a sign of how great and enjoyable a year it was and while in many cases I may not see many people until next year, there are opportunities to meet up between now and then, and I look forward to those opportunities.

GENEPOOL








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