“Ampersand – Who’s Who” by misscoreywoods Like most people, I’m fortunate enough to have a problem I’m good at solving. I’m terrible at planning, I get distracted easily, and my ideas are innately disorganized. But I’m good at doing more than one thing at once. I’m good at tying up loose ends. I’m good at making a mess. And I’m good at finding the right people for a particular job. So I make a list of all the things I want accomplished, and I make myself cross off the things I already know how to do. Then, I look at the list and see what things I’m good at doing without too many complications. I know what
This week I watched Ampersand (2004), a film that has been somewhat of a rarity in its release on DVD in the U.S. The film is set in Paris, France during the darkest days of World War II. The story revolves around the lives of a group of German soldiers, including Walter, a young soldier who has been exiled to the front lines due to failing to appear in a Nazi-run trial. Walter is assigned to a unit led by a brutal, sadistic sergeant who has a single-minded goal of killing every last one of the enemy. As the war rages on, the unit is joined by another German soldier, Albert, who is accused of being a deserter. Though it seems unlikely that a
I’ve included a few of my favorite actors in this blog post, and I hope that you have fun finding and learning about the faces behind your favorite movies. Some are still working, some are retired, but all of these men and women are incredible, and it’s an honor to have them on my blog.
Now it’s time to meet another major character from the forthcoming Y: The Last Man series, who may become an immediate fan favorite: Ampersand, the tiny Capuchin monkey featured in the teaser. Being you would expect, Ampersand will be Yorick’s constant companion throughout the series, and as the world’s only other human male, you might assume there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s sort of the series’ mascot, and something more: read on at your own risk, since there are some big spoilers ahead… assuming the series sticks to the original plot, of course.
The life of the monkey who would have later been known as Ampersand started in tragedy: born in captivity, his mother died giving birth to his stillborn twin, and he was doomed to die as well… but something within him made him cling to life, and his sheer will alone allowed its survival. Once adult, he was selected as a living specimen for some groundbreaking scientific experiments, and was shipped to Yokogata, Japan, in the care of Doctor Matsumori (simply called “Dr. M” by his coworkers). The monkey tried to escape twice from the lab, and nearly succeeded, if it wasn’t for Dr. M’s security chief, Toyota, who recaptured him every time. Matsumori deeply respected the creature’s strength, his will to live, but this didn’t prevent him from injecting him with his experimental serum, something that might have killed the beast if things went wrong… and there was a high possibility that they did. Against all odds, the monkey survived a whole week, and was thus entrusted to Toyota’s cares: following Dr. M’s orders, she shipped the monkey to the United States, to a laboratory in Boston where another scientist, Dr. Allison Mann, usually picked her test subjects from. During the flight, however, the lock on the monkey’s cage was damaged, and he managed to escape… and as he noticed that another Capuchine like him was right besides him, he freed him too, as soon as they arrived to the airport’s luggage deposit. Here, two workers were supposed to send one monkey to Boston from Japan, and the other from Boston to New York, but they were unable to tell them apart, now that they were out of their cages. For a lucky trick of fates, the two monkeys switched places, and instead of reaching Boston’s lab, Ampersand was sent to a small apartment in New York, where he received his name.
The other monkey was a pet trained by a charity association, one that was supposed to become an animal assistant to quadriplegic people: Ampersand took his place, and Yorick Brown, the young man who was supposed to complete the monkey’s training, found himself with an untrained animal, and an utterly uncooperative cohabitant, who made a mess of his apartment and constantly threw his feces all over the place. The relationship between Yorick and Ampersand (named after the graphic symbol “&”) wasn’t exactly easy, but with time the monkey grew attached to “his” human… even if he kept his terrible attitude and still refused to obey to any order, even if he perfectly understood them. Tings got a little weird the day all male mammals on the planet died in the same moment… all of them, but Ampersand and Yorick. The situation was inexplicable, and even if Ampersand didn’t get most of it, he understood something was wrong: he even became more obedient in the face of emergency, and allowed Yorick, dressed in a gas mask and a long coat to hide himself, to carry him around without trying to escape (not much, at least). First, Yorick believed he was immune to anything that had killed all the other men because of some lab accident he had had some years before, and that he had passed his immunity to Ampersand through proximity: he visited his old lab partner to confirm this theory, but found him dead instead, and Ampersand even helped him chase off some cats that were feeding off the corpse of his friend. The situation, in reality, was the other way round: it was Ampersand who had been made immune to the “disease” by Dr. M’s serum, and he had made Yorick immune as well by throwing all those feces to him, thus passing on to him whatever was in his organism. The truth, however, would have been discovered only much, much time later…
Ampersand is a very clever, but obnoxious and chaotic monkey, an animal that does all he can to make Yorick’s life more difficult, but who loves him passionately… very deeply. Ampersand is readily liked by everyone in the tiny party traversing the globe in quest of answers, but he’ll come out to be more than just a mascot for the group, and he’ll turn out to be the key to the whole scenario…
As an example:
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