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Reply #30 posted 03/02/13 5:29pm

DiminutiveRock
er

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cborgman said:

deebee said:

I don't think there's any question about whether these kinds of things have been done in the past. It's undoubtedly the case that they have - and I agree those examples show that up nicely. And, likewise, it's clear that people making movies, etc, want to appeal to their target audience, so they give it a certain kind of bias.

But that still leaves us with the underlying question: why is it this particular kind of bias that appeals to said audience, and not some other kind? What does that tell us about the society and the times we're in that people are willing to accept certain ideas, and why is that so? And what effects does it have to reinforce such ideas -- i.e. what kinds of (political) actions does it help make imaginable, legitimate, necessary, etc?

Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, etc -- they're selling certain ideas, which could be challenged (and are being challenged, even in America). But how was it that those ideas came to be so 'saleable', and what does that tell us? And what's at stake when people start banging these particular drums now, in terms of legitimising certain foreign policy actions, etc?

Movies and media representations are one part of a larger, more complex picture, of course; but I do think they're always 'saying' something, and in the case of what some of these recently lauded movies are saying, I don't think it portends well.

i hear you and to a point i agree. movies can be used as a political tool, and have been. birth of a nation stands out in historical terms in a horrid way. the anti-muslim propaganda film that was all over the news several months ago is a rather shameful and more modern example. one that could easily be seen as a modern birth of a nation. the name escapes me though... murder of innocents? something like that.

i just dont see argo as being anywhere near those though. argo is actually really respectful in it's approach, considering it barely even touches on the conditions the actual hostages were subjected to by their iranian captors. i was kind of waiting for 2freaky to elaborate before pointing that out, but... it is pretty difficult to see argo compared to a modern BOAN when they dont even really go into the hostages taken.

and its pretty much impossible to imagine a scenario in which argo is being biased towards canada

or propagating a sense of anger towards them.

the center of the story, and the interest for the audience lies in the caper. the funny and novel concept of the hostages pretending to be a film crew and the setting up the fake film to cover the operation is what argo is about.

if argo was really concerned with the political and national themes beyond the essential basics, arkin and goodmans characters wouldnt even be in the film, much less have them as the two supporting characters. the reason this movie was made at all was the novelty of the cover story, which is the entire second act of the movie in it's three act structure. the political structure is merely the basic structure of the plot, which is why it's seen really only in the first 10 minutes and the last 15. (and the last 15 is almost complete fiction to give it the thrill-ride ending it needs)

it's really not all that political of a film to begin with. zero dark thirty is far more political, and even then... not that much when you look at it compared to say all the presidents men or nixon.

.

[Edited 3/2/13 12:32pm]

YES^ It is always about the story. The kind where people can pull off what seems to be a near impossible task and get away with it. Whether you are rescuing hostages or robbing a bank or a slave enacting revenge - people largely enjoy this type of plot and by and large they are very entertaining.

Again, ARGO is not a political film - but its setting is historical and it is based around real incidents. With reference to this film in particular, I disagree that it was trying to say anything politically profound or significant.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
~ John Wooden
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Reply #31 posted 03/02/13 5:29pm

OlSchool

DiminutiveRocker said:

cborgman said:

i ask this not to say people havent, or argue...

but how many of you have actually seen argo?

i understand the urge to read an article and base your opinion on it, but... this is one of those things that rumors get started when people dont know the actual context. this happens a lot with books and movies.

I saw it - but my guess is that many posting on this thread haven't, which is evident by their posts.

I agree. I saw it as well and soon as I saw someone call it a political film or propaganda, I knew some of the responses were based on what they read or heard.

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Reply #32 posted 03/02/13 6:30pm

cborgman

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OlSchool said:

DiminutiveRocker said:

I saw it - but my guess is that many posting on this thread haven't, which is evident by their posts.

I agree. I saw it as well and soon as I saw someone call it a political film or propaganda, I knew some of the responses were based on what they read or heard.

once it was called racist, i thought "are we even talking about the same movie anymore?"

"I am almost never wrong"
"it is hard being the smartest person in the room but it is a cross i am willing to bare."


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Reply #33 posted 03/02/13 8:02pm

bluesbaby

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cborgman said:

look...

movies are fiction. that's why they're not documentaries.

as someone who has written 5 scripts that are loosely based on or inspired by real events, let me assure you that you will find no movie in the history of film that is 100% acurate to the history they are based on/inspired by. i also say that as a walking wikipedia of film knowledge.

it's called dramatic license, and its what makes a script flow. you move events within the timeline, you change character details, you cut and combine characters, conversations get edited and rewritten, plot details get changed... if you end up using every detail and aiming for complete accuracy, you end up with a very boring 3-5 hour film.

even documentaries edit out details and events to tell you the larger story.

if you think you have ever seen a movie that was 100% accurate to the events that inspired it, you are mistaken.

within this years nominees alone; lincoln, argo, the impossible, the sessions, and zero dark thirty all did this. there probably at least 1 or 2 more i am forgetting.

zero dark thirty gives the false impression that we learned important things through waterboarding that led to osama bin ladin being found and killed, which is not true. it doesnt make it less of a good movie.

and people got up in arms about the lack of historical accuracy of django unchained too. django unchained doesnt even pretend to be realistic. it's a tarantino fantasy, and one his vengeance porn films.

i dont want to blow anybody's minds, but when they showed hitler and theater full of nazis being killed via a firey death in "inglorius basterds" (or whatever the incorrect spelling the film uses)... that never happened.

its fiction...

or as i like to call it when it is discussed by my characters in my scripts:

"fictionalized reality"

.

[Edited 3/2/13 0:55am]

Are you trying to tell me that Amityville Horror is not real? No one said "get out!"? OH NO!

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Reply #34 posted 03/03/13 3:24am

deebee

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DiminutiveRocker said:

cborgman said:

i hear you and to a point i agree. movies can be used as a political tool, and have been. birth of a nation stands out in historical terms in a horrid way. the anti-muslim propaganda film that was all over the news several months ago is a rather shameful and more modern example. one that could easily be seen as a modern birth of a nation. the name escapes me though... murder of innocents? something like that.

i just dont see argo as being anywhere near those though. argo is actually really respectful in it's approach, considering it barely even touches on the conditions the actual hostages were subjected to by their iranian captors. i was kind of waiting for 2freaky to elaborate before pointing that out, but... it is pretty difficult to see argo compared to a modern BOAN when they dont even really go into the hostages taken.

and its pretty much impossible to imagine a scenario in which argo is being biased towards canada

or propagating a sense of anger towards them.

the center of the story, and the interest for the audience lies in the caper. the funny and novel concept of the hostages pretending to be a film crew and the setting up the fake film to cover the operation is what argo is about.

if argo was really concerned with the political and national themes beyond the essential basics, arkin and goodmans characters wouldnt even be in the film, much less have them as the two supporting characters. the reason this movie was made at all was the novelty of the cover story, which is the entire second act of the movie in it's three act structure. the political structure is merely the basic structure of the plot, which is why it's seen really only in the first 10 minutes and the last 15. (and the last 15 is almost complete fiction to give it the thrill-ride ending it needs)

it's really not all that political of a film to begin with. zero dark thirty is far more political, and even then... not that much when you look at it compared to say all the presidents men or nixon.

.

[Edited 3/2/13 12:32pm]

YES^ It is always about the story. The kind where people can pull off what seems to be a near impossible task and get away with it. Whether you are rescuing hostages or robbing a bank or a slave enacting revenge - people largely enjoy this type of plot and by and large they are very entertaining.

Again, ARGO is not a political film - but its setting is historical and it is based around real incidents. With reference to this film in particular, I disagree that it was trying to say anything politically profound or significant.

I agree these movies are tremendously entertaining. My purpose is never to reduce things to the notion that this or that filmmaker is a bad guy with a malicious intent, or to say that people are bad for enjoying this stuff, or anything like that. (I, myself, enjoy watching trashy, popcorn-guzzling fare like Homeland - whose politics, if I think about them, are bloody awful! lol)

But I think these things are certainly political - not always in the sense of beating you over the head with some overtly political message, but in the sense of the questions I'm posing further up the page about what kind of worldview they're inviting us to take as a given, and how does the world in the here and now, in real life, look when we try looking through that lens? And, for me, it's useful to try and bring these things, which are taken as a given - almost like the 'scenery' the drama takes place in front of - out into the light, and try to ask what ideas are being conveyed.

But not to guilt-trip anyone for being entertained; just to encourage everything out into the open, since we're all up to our eyes in it.

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
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Reply #35 posted 03/03/13 4:52am

deebee

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cborgman said:

deebee said:

I don't think there's any question about whether these kinds of things have been done in the past. It's undoubtedly the case that they have - and I agree those examples show that up nicely. And, likewise, it's clear that people making movies, etc, want to appeal to their target audience, so they give it a certain kind of bias.

But that still leaves us with the underlying question: why is it this particular kind of bias that appeals to said audience, and not some other kind? What does that tell us about the society and the times we're in that people are willing to accept certain ideas, and why is that so? And what effects does it have to reinforce such ideas -- i.e. what kinds of (political) actions does it help make imaginable, legitimate, necessary, etc?

Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, etc -- they're selling certain ideas, which could be challenged (and are being challenged, even in America). But how was it that those ideas came to be so 'saleable', and what does that tell us? And what's at stake when people start banging these particular drums now, in terms of legitimising certain foreign policy actions, etc?

Movies and media representations are one part of a larger, more complex picture, of course; but I do think they're always 'saying' something, and in the case of what some of these recently lauded movies are saying, I don't think it portends well.

i hear you and to a point i agree. movies can be used as a political tool, and have been. birth of a nation stands out in historical terms in a horrid way. the anti-muslim propaganda film that was all over the news several months ago is a rather shameful and more modern example. one that could easily be seen as a modern birth of a nation. the name escapes me though... murder of innocents? something like that.

i just dont see argo as being anywhere near those though. argo is actually really respectful in it's approach, considering it barely even touches on the conditions the actual hostages were subjected to by their iranian captors. i was kind of waiting for 2freaky to elaborate before pointing that out, but... it is pretty difficult to see argo compared to a modern BOAN when they dont even really go into the hostages taken.

and its pretty much impossible to imagine a scenario in which argo is being biased towards canada

or propagating a sense of anger towards them.

the center of the story, and the interest for the audience lies in the caper. the funny and novel concept of the hostages pretending to be a film crew and the setting up the fake film to cover the operation is what argo is about.

if argo was really concerned with the political and national themes beyond the essential basics, arkin and goodmans characters wouldnt even be in the film, much less have them as the two supporting characters. the reason this movie was made at all was the novelty of the cover story, which is the entire second act of the movie in it's three act structure. the political structure is merely the basic structure of the plot, which is why it's seen really only in the first 10 minutes and the last 15. (and the last 15 is almost complete fiction to give it the thrill-ride ending it needs)

it's really not all that political of a film to begin with. zero dark thirty is far more political, and even then... not that much when you look at it compared to say all the presidents men or nixon.

.

[Edited 3/2/13 12:32pm]

I'm not really thinking of 'political tools' or 'propaganda' - and certainly not noxious Birth of a Nation-style fare. With those, we're being beaten over the head with an overtly ideological message which leaves us in no doubt. What interests me far more are the kinds of examples where ideological content is embedded in the very 'scenery' or background of movies (and other forms of media), and remains tacitly accepted and unexamined as the overt drama plays out in front of it. I rather like the point the French philosopher Louis Althusser made when he argued that ideology never stands up and says, "I am ideological!" People can be knee-deep in it, whilst still thinking they're happily outside it, on 'neutral' turf.

I'm more interested in that as a general point than in any particular critique of Argo as something unusual or unusually objectionable - and I agree that Zero Dark Thirty's much more worrying. That said, two more thought experiments might show how the general point applies in this case. One: imagine 'the caper' being lifted out of its context here and plonked back down in front of some entirely different backdrop - they're trying to avoid being detected by some nefarious crime boss or something. An entertaining film, perhaps, but, let's face it, we're not going to see it winning any Oscars. I'd say the background content, here, is far from insignificant: the almost incredulous juxtaposition of what sounds like some crazy Hollywood-scripted escapade and the political stage it plays out on is at the heart of the whole thing!

And, two: imagine playing the movie to an Iranian. Would s/he see only the caper - identifying as readily with the daring CIA man and the 'neutral' American diplomats? Or would s/he likely pick up on the politics embedded in the setup, and at the very least be aware that different ways of framing this action were possible?

[Edited 3/3/13 6:45am]

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin
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Reply #36 posted 03/03/13 11:36pm

DiminutiveRock
er

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deebee said:

DiminutiveRocker said:

YES^ It is always about the story. The kind where people can pull off what seems to be a near impossible task and get away with it. Whether you are rescuing hostages or robbing a bank or a slave enacting revenge - people largely enjoy this type of plot and by and large they are very entertaining.

Again, ARGO is not a political film - but its setting is historical and it is based around real incidents. With reference to this film in particular, I disagree that it was trying to say anything politically profound or significant.

I agree these movies are tremendously entertaining. My purpose is never to reduce things to the notion that this or that filmmaker is a bad guy with a malicious intent, or to say that people are bad for enjoying this stuff, or anything like that. (I, myself, enjoy watching trashy, popcorn-guzzling fare like Homeland - whose politics, if I think about them, are bloody awful! lol)

But I think these things are certainly political - not always in the sense of beating you over the head with some overtly political message, but in the sense of the questions I'm posing further up the page about what kind of worldview they're inviting us to take as a given, and how does the world in the here and now, in real life, look when we try looking through that lens? And, for me, it's useful to try and bring these things, which are taken as a given - almost like the 'scenery' the drama takes place in front of - out into the light, and try to ask what ideas are being conveyed.

But not to guilt-trip anyone for being entertained; just to encourage everything out into the open, since we're all up to our eyes in it.

Hmmm... when you are watching a show like "Homeland" (I watch it too smile ) Do you really think they are meeting in the Vice President's office or if it even really looks like that? I never take scenery or anything that is being created for TV/film entertainment as a given. There are sets built, locations scouted, props carefully placed, costumes carefully designed, all to make the experience SEEM real to an extent, but we know it isn't - right?

I mean, is art a given? If filmmaking is to be regarded an the art form of story-telling, then isn't it the end result the artist's interpretation? When we come upon any work of art, we do not always necessarily agree with the ideas the artist is conveying. People should always make their own informed judgements about the topics which the artist is putting forth in his/her work Whether it is a film, a painting, a book, a mural, music and song lyrics, a pencil drawing, graffitti, etc.

From what I understand, Affleck was forthcoming about what he embelished of the story/book the film was based on and if the Canadians were pissed, well, OK, perhaps maybe their being offended is justified.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
~ John Wooden
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Reply #37 posted 03/04/13 7:26am

Empress

Argo was a good movie and I really enjoyed it a lot, but being a Canadian, I knew the story was changed to make the Americans look the heros when in fact, it was my fellow Canadians. I wasn't surprised by this though as it's typical of Americans to want to take credit. I remember when this was happening and it was all over the news for months on end. I've always known the Canadians are the ones who really got these folks out.

Ben made a very good movie, but he knew if he gave more credit to the Canadians, the Americans would not be overly interested in seeing the film. It is what it is, unfortunately.

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Reply #38 posted 03/04/13 7:34am

Mistadobalina

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Empress said:

Argo was a good movie and I really enjoyed it a lot, but being a Canadian, I knew the story was changed to make the Americans look the heros when in fact, it was my fellow Canadians. I wasn't surprised by this though as it's typical of Americans to want to take credit. I remember when this was happening and it was all over the news for months on end. I've always known the Canadians are the ones who really got these folks out.

Ben made a very good movie, but he knew if he gave more credit to the Canadians, the Americans would not be overly interested in seeing the film. It is what it is, unfortunately.

now you in Canada should do a film about how Canadians sent the first man to the moon and finally killed Osama Bin Laden, and see how the US reacts smile "oh it's not a documentary.. this is entertainment... but it is indeed inspired by true events!" seriously, think about it. BULLSHIT nuts

The Compromise Theory:
Based on my analysis, I believe the government faked the plane crash and demolished the WTC North Tower with explosives.
The South Tower, in a simultaneous but unrelated plot was brought down by actual terrorists.
Is it a deal?
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Reply #39 posted 03/04/13 8:39am

cborgman

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Mistadobalina said:

Empress said:

Argo was a good movie and I really enjoyed it a lot, but being a Canadian, I knew the story was changed to make the Americans look the heros when in fact, it was my fellow Canadians. I wasn't surprised by this though as it's typical of Americans to want to take credit. I remember when this was happening and it was all over the news for months on end. I've always known the Canadians are the ones who really got these folks out.

Ben made a very good movie, but he knew if he gave more credit to the Canadians, the Americans would not be overly interested in seeing the film. It is what it is, unfortunately.

now you in Canada should do a film about how Canadians sent the first man to the moon and finally killed Osama Bin Laden, and see how the US reacts smile "oh it's not a documentary.. this is entertainment... but it is indeed inspired by true events!" seriously, think about it. BULLSHIT nuts

if that was well written, i would go see it.

i watched CSA (confederate states of america) which supposes a world in which the south won in the civil war.

the general concept of a secret canadian operations team that actually killed OBL and secretly sent the first men to the moon sounds entertaining if you added a few more similar concepts and put a good script writer on it.

"I am almost never wrong"
"it is hard being the smartest person in the room but it is a cross i am willing to bare."


-OnlyNDaUsa
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Reply #40 posted 03/04/13 7:06pm

DiminutiveRock
er

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cborgman said:

Mistadobalina said:

now you in Canada should do a film about how Canadians sent the first man to the moon and finally killed Osama Bin Laden, and see how the US reacts smile "oh it's not a documentary.. this is entertainment... but it is indeed inspired by true events!" seriously, think about it. BULLSHIT nuts

if that was well written, i would go see it.

i watched CSA (confederate states of america) which supposes a world in which the south won in the civil war.

the general concept of a secret canadian operations team that actually killed OBL and secretly sent the first men to the moon sounds entertaining if you added a few more similar concepts and put a good script writer on it.

Agreed. If it is a well-written, well-crafted film - I'd see it too.

And in essence, isn't this what Tarrantino does with Django and Inglorious Basterds? Albeit, he does not base these films on real incidences - but puts them in historical settings

shrug

[Edited 3/4/13 19:11pm]

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
~ John Wooden
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Reply #41 posted 03/05/13 11:58pm

Mistadobalina

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^

based on historical settings, not on singular historical events. makes a difference.

and of course fictional specualtion can be entertaining, I've enjoyed films on what if the Germans had won WWII or what if Lee Harvey Oswald would not have been shot

so if the outlines are clear no one can be trapped into believeing that Hitler really won, or that Canadians really went to the moon.

that is not so with Argo. sooner or later this film will be accepted as official history within most Americans shrug

The Compromise Theory:
Based on my analysis, I believe the government faked the plane crash and demolished the WTC North Tower with explosives.
The South Tower, in a simultaneous but unrelated plot was brought down by actual terrorists.
Is it a deal?
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Reply #42 posted 03/06/13 7:59am

DiminutiveRock
er

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Mistadobalina said:

^

based on historical settings, not on singular historical events. makes a difference.

and of course fictional specualtion can be entertaining, I've enjoyed films on what if the Germans had won WWII or what if Lee Harvey Oswald would not have been shot

so if the outlines are clear no one can be trapped into believeing that Hitler really won, or that Canadians really went to the moon.

that is not so with Argo. sooner or later this film will be accepted as official history within most Americans shrug

So.... then most Americns are misinformed?

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
~ John Wooden
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Reply #43 posted 03/06/13 8:27am

cborgman

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DiminutiveRocker said:

Mistadobalina said:

^

based on historical settings, not on singular historical events. makes a difference.

and of course fictional specualtion can be entertaining, I've enjoyed films on what if the Germans had won WWII or what if Lee Harvey Oswald would not have been shot

so if the outlines are clear no one can be trapped into believeing that Hitler really won, or that Canadians really went to the moon.

that is not so with Argo. sooner or later this film will be accepted as official history within most Americans shrug

So.... then most Americns are misinformed?

it certainly didnt start with argo.

hell... 1 out of 10 americans STILL think we found WMDs in iraq, according to a 2011 study. no movie did that.

i say this as an american, and i love america, but: america (in general) is dumb as hell.

"I am almost never wrong"
"it is hard being the smartest person in the room but it is a cross i am willing to bare."


-OnlyNDaUsa
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Reply #44 posted 03/06/13 10:01am

Empress

DiminutiveRocker said:

cborgman said:

if that was well written, i would go see it.

i watched CSA (confederate states of america) which supposes a world in which the south won in the civil war.

the general concept of a secret canadian operations team that actually killed OBL and secretly sent the first men to the moon sounds entertaining if you added a few more similar concepts and put a good script writer on it.

Agreed. If it is a well-written, well-crafted film - I'd see it too.

And in essence, isn't this what Tarrantino does with Django and Inglorious Basterds? Albeit, he does not base these films on real incidences - but puts them in historical settings

shrug

[Edited 3/4/13 19:11pm]

Yes, this is exactly what Tarantino does. Love him or hate him, his movies are not based in fact.

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Reply #45 posted 03/06/13 2:40pm

luv4u

Moderator

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moderator

Empress said:

Argo was a good movie and I really enjoyed it a lot, but being a Canadian, I knew the story was changed to make the Americans look the heros when in fact, it was my fellow Canadians. I wasn't surprised by this though as it's typical of Americans to want to take credit. I remember when this was happening and it was all over the news for months on end. I've always known the Canadians are the ones who really got these folks out.

Ben made a very good movie, but he knew if he gave more credit to the Canadians, the Americans would not be overly interested in seeing the film. It is what it is, unfortunately.

yeahthat

Edmonton, AB - canada

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