Thursday. 11/11/2021

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Chiara Rimella

Change of direction

Netflix’s announcement during its own Japan Festival this week that it would invest in plenty more Nippon content was already enticing – and it has become all the more interesting now that Palme d’Or-winning director Hirokazu Koreeda (pictured) has confirmed that he will be among those developing projects for the streaming service. As well as a big-budget film, Koreeda teased audiences by revealing he would be making a drama series that “would not be realised if I didn’t collaborate with Netflix”.

The fact that this most-discussed of streaming giants has been enlisting auteur directors for future projects, or that it has Oscar-winner ambitions, is hardly news. But Netflix’s ability to lead these film directors into creating TV series – an altogether different genre – is still remarkable. Granted, iconic US director David Lynch made Twin Peaks more than 30 years ago but how many other big-name film-makers would have opted for the small screen had Netflix not been commanding the scene?

What’s certain is that a mass market of viewers – which continues to grow, particularly in Japan – stands to benefit from the collaboration. Others in the film industry could be poised to gain as well: Koreeda has said that he will use the series as an occasion to work with up-and-coming Japanese directors as a way to give them a leg-up. A potential worldwide audience awaits.

Image: Shutterstock

Environment / Scotland

Offsetting an example

Glasgow has long been known as an industrial heartland but, as the world’s climate negotiators near the finish line, what happens tomorrow will determine how the city is remembered for the next 100 years. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured), hopes that Glasgow will become famous as the place where world leaders finally committed to a sustainable future. Speaking at the Cop26 summit, Sturgeon said that Scotland itself has a clear net-zero plan and is investing in greener industries. But transitioning even more quickly away from fossil fuels is tricky: about 100,000 Scots work in jobs linked to oil and gas. “It’s quite poetic that Scotland and Glasgow are the focus of the world’s attention in trying to combat climate change,” Alan Mahon, co-founder of Edinburgh-based sustainable beer company Brewgooder, tells Monocle 24’s The Entrepreneurs. “In the Industrial Revolution, Scotland brought about massive change but has also created problems in hydrocarbon use. The chance to roll that back, starting in Glasgow, is symbolic.”

Listen to the full interview with Alan Mahon, a speaker at Cop26, on the latest episode of Monocle 24’s ‘The Entrepreneurs’.

Image: Getty Images

Transport / Japan

Fare exchange

In a bid to attract young families onto its trains, Japan’s Odakyu Electric Railway plans to slash fares for children aged six to 12 to a flat fee of just ¥50 (€0.40) across its entire network from next spring. The company operates in and around Tokyo, including the Ibaraki and Kanagawa prefectures, running busy commuter trains as well as the popular Romance Car, a luxury service that goes to the resort of Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura. Whereas other private railway operators are considering raising prices as the number of daily commuters has decreased, Odakyu is looking at the bigger urban picture.

The company also has stakes in property and department stores, to which it would like to attract extra commuters. So although it forecasts an annual loss of ¥250m (€2m) from cutting train prices, its other business interests should more than compensate. It’s a clever piece of forward thinking when it comes to the future of urban infrastructure.

Image: L'Essenziale

Media / Italy

Paper trailblazer

Internazionale, a Rome-based weekly magazine that gathers news from the world’s papers and translates them for an Italian audience, had already expanded into publishing an edition for children as well as organising live events. Now it has turned its gaze on its own country with L’Essenziale, a weekly newspaper of original journalism from Internazionale’s editorial team about all things Italian. So how does it stand out from the pack? With in-depth yet accessible reporting, minus the jargon and tedious political minutiae that is a hallmark of much of the Italian press. Edited by veteran journalist and director of Internazionale Giovanni De Mauro, the new paper first hit newsstands last Saturday and promises regular sections on everything from the environment to opinions. Reportage will occupy a prime position: issue one features a double-page spread on the migrant route from Turkey to the Calabrian coast. We eagerly await the second issue this weekend.

Image: Alamy

Urbanism / Sweden

Traffic violation

Stockholm has become the latest Nordic capital to curb electric scooters on its streets. City authorities this week voted to almost halve the number of vehicles allowed in circulation, from 23,000 to 12,000. From the beginning of 2022 the number of licensed scooter-rental companies will also be cut, from eight to three. The decision reflects the fatigue of politicians and the public alike over scooter-related issues, such as poor parking and the growing number of accidents. But rather than banning them outright, Daniel Helldén, Stockholm’s vice-mayor for transport, says that the challenge is to ensure that their drivers follow the rules and don’t disturb pedestrians. E-scooters are used for 60,000 trips in the city every day, so there’s a clear need and function for them, believes Helldén. They can still be a smart mode of transport if only their riders would take greater care when putting them to use.

M24 / The Menu

Food Neighbourhoods 260: Recipe edition, Irina Linovich

A recipe made entirely with vegan ingredients that works as an alternative to a classic tuna tartar.

Monocle Films / Vienna

Made in Vienna

Craftsmanship has been at the beating heart of Vienna for hundreds of years; Monocle Films visits three family-run companies that have made tradition relevant.

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