## Saturday, February 27, 2010

### Severin Blanchet

Severin Blanchet was a French actor, writer, and filmmaker. He starred in the movie "Jardins en Automne", where he played Vincent, a French cabinet minister who is ousted from his position, loses his wife, but ends up happier for it. Here's the trailer:

He was a member of Les Ateliers Varan, an organization devoted to documentary film, and spent much of his life teaching young people in places like Papua New Guinea how to make their own documentaries. His mother was Narda Blanchet, who had a career in film herself in her old age and just recently passed away.

Severin was my wife's first cousin, once removed, but we never met him. We had just written to him last week to express our condolences on the death of his mother. He had just left Paris for Afghanistan, where he was teaching young Afghans how to make movies.

Severin Blanchet was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday morning by a suicide bomber.

Diogenes said...

Wow, that sucks. Condolences.

The people who killed him don't want Afghans to learn how to make films... or music... or anything. It's the Quran or the kaboom for you.

student said...

what's once removed mean?

Gareth McCaughan said...

Jeffrey, I think you have that wrong; you and the other person are max(x,y)-1'th cousins, |y-x| times removed. (Unless min(x,y)=0, of course.)

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Sorry, I said it wrong, because I edited it once too many times. Let's try again:

what's once removed mean?

If you want to find out your relationship to person A draw a tree of both your ancestors and put your most recent common ancestor at the root. Count the number of edges connecting you to the common ancestor; call it x. Count the number of edges connecting A to the common ancestor; call it y. Then you and the other person are min(x,y)-1 th cousins, |y-x| times removed.

Gareth: Thanks for pointing out my mistake, but you had one yourself! min, not max.