Thursday, 16 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
'After opening with naked people being herded into a truck to be gassed, director Roy Andersson then enters the dull world of a Swedish real estate broker, telling the man's story in short, static blackouts. An attempt "to show the spirit of the times," this early 1990s short takes on everything from the high cost of housing to corporate logos on athletes.' (James A. Stewart).
Although this isn't an animation, i took out a DVD of European short films from the library. I absolutely love the cinematography and acting in this film, making you feel really awkward and creating an surreal mood. Often the actors look directly act you through the lens and the protagonist's lack of emotion and feelings really works in this piece. The soundtrack accompanied the visuals and editing perfectly, whilst the beginning shot was a brilliantly deep and emotional reconstruction of scenes from the war. Overall, is a brilliant piece of cinema that does everything right. Unfortunately this embedded video is only 9 minutes, when the actual film is 14 minutes, but it gives you a good idea of how well this film works.
Monday, 13 December 2010
'Jan Svankmajer's animation, which begins with a reading of the Lewis Carroll poem, is "almost a textbook illustration of Freud," according to commentator Peter Haynes. Meant to "interact with a viewer's subconscious," it shows a surreal playroom where the toys come alive.' (James A. Stewart).
Jabberwocky, is a beautiful example of how visuals and audio can accompany each other so well. With its uncanny use of dolls and childrens' toys, Jabberwocky, is a weird and wonderful animation. I particularly loved the character Svankmajer gives to the toys, and how creepy they were. The cat made me jump everytime even though i knew it was coming, and the doll heads in a stove as well as small dolls penetrating through a bigger doll, made Jabberwocky a strange and surreal watch.
Saturday, 11 December 2010
'Updating a popular children's fable, leading Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer's latest is a compelling and highly contemporary social satire. Inventively combining live action with characteristically macabre stop-motion animation' (Jason Wood, BBC Films).
I finally got to watch Little Otik yesterday, thanks to the recommendation of Alan and Ruben, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. Using the set that can be recognised in his 'Down in the Cellar' short, as well as some of the same actrs/characters, Little Otik is based on the filktale 'Otesanek' by K J Erben. This 2 hour long film begins with a poor couple who are both infertile unable to have a baby. One day the man pulls a tree root from the ground and sees a baby like figure in there, deciding to further enhance that idea by cutting the extra roots to make it more baby-like. From here-on-in, we switch between the story a little girl reads about Otesanek, almost playing the narrator, and the real life story of the couple which resembles the book.
It takes a little while for Little Otik to get into its stride, with the live action story in the beginning slightly dull and uninteresting. However, this could have been because of my expectations of Svankmajer's work and the fact that i just wanted to see his stop-motion animation in action. So when it finally came around, i wasn't disappointed. This film was really weird, surreal and scary throughout, but the best examples of this were in the stopmotion animation. Svankmajer does really well to bring the 'tree stump' to life as Little Otik causes mass destruction, eating everything and anything. In particular, the mouth of Little Otik was so scary and the paedophile gave me the creeps, again. The little was so strange and uncanny, reading about sexual dysfunctions, which i'm pretty sure isn't a normal thing for a young girl. Overall, Little Otik has an enticing story, uncanny characters, a baby-like tree stump and more masterclass examples of Svankmajer's stopmotion animation. So if that's not enough to make you want to watch it, i don't know what is.
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
- Danse Macabre (Dance of the Dead) by Saint-Saens.
- The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe.
- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
I've already started to look into the first two ideas and already i can see why Alan has suggested these. I should be able to apply my previous dark ideas from my previous research into these adaptations nicely. In particular, i love this idea of 'Dance of the Dead' which is probably my favourite idea at the moment. Getting my head down with a lot of research and pre-production work now, will definitely benefit me coming into the 10 weeks of the project.
Monday, 6 December 2010
The tectures and monotones in pieces like this would be extremely interesting to bring into Maya and CG models.
This image really reminds me of Metropolis. This image was the one that sparked up ideas of a vast city, which could imply the heads in the buildings are gods, rulers of the city.
The structure of this building reminds me of cathedrals, which i think could be really intricately designed using this idea of bones. Imagine a cathedral based on Giger's work and designs, who wouldn't want to visit that place.
This reminds me of a scene with elders, of high importance, having a meeting.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Saturday, 4 December 2010
In the introduction i've tried to explain, using appropriate quotes, that Postmodernism is a difficult topic and one that isn't necessarily understood or accepted. I've then written about what i aim to tackle in the essay, elaborating on the question.
What is Hyperreality?
In this section i've tried to use appropriate quotes and examples to help the reader understand what hyperreality is. In this case i've used Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco's example of Disneyland to put hyperreality into a real life context to help the reader understand what the essay is tackling.
Plato’s cave relation to The Matrix:
This section shows how we can draw the ideas of hyppereality back to the work of Plato/Socrates. Comparing the example that Plato uses in his book, The Republic, to the film in question, The Matrix. I have also used quotes from the film that i feel match what Plato is describing in his book, elaborating on the connection.
Jean Baudrillard References in The Matrix:
In this section i move onto breaking The Matrix down into the three orders of Simulacra by Baudrillard, suggesting an example from each order that i believe can be found in the film. I then moved onto Baudrillard's story of the people living in the map version of their own world, whilst the real world deteriorates as a comparison the the story of the Matrix, suggesting that it isn't too disimilar from Baudrillard's example, especially considering they even quote him in the film.
Disney’s Celebration Town in comparison to The Matrix:
This final section uses a real world example, Celebration Town, to pose help argue the point that we are in fact caught up in the simulacrum, living in a real life Matrix. In this particular example you can compare the corporates behind Disney to the agents in the film, keeping the inhabitants in order and control through a system which has been constructed by themselves.
In my conclusion i summarise my research and conclude my side of the argument, again, posing the question, Are we victims of simulacrum, consumed by a real life Matrix? and asking the reader to really consider the question at hand based on the points shown.
I could only embed the German version of the video for some reason, but here's another brilliant example of turning the dead into something fun and musical. It still keeps an eerie and creepy feeling because of the skeletons and dead characters, but the musical element, in particular the skeletons using each other as instruments, works really well in creating an overall fun and entertaining sequence. Again, this is something that i'm aiming to achieve amidst the depths of hell.
Friday, 3 December 2010
So here it is:
Are we victims of simulacrum, consumed by a real life 'Matrix'?
The particular part of this animation that i'm interested in, even though it's all amazing, is the middle section in hell. This idea of an 'entertaining' hell is definitely what i wanted to do, something very musical and fun, but at the same time still poses the haunting nature of hell. I think it's very interesting that hell is dominated by reds, which is also a royal and regal colour used in theatre a lot.
Here are some of the doodles i've been doing. Most of them are quite dark and devil/hell related as this is something i'd like to do for the Transcription project. They're not really based on anything in particular, but i'm sure there are some underlying influences in there somewhere. I just posted them because i often do interesting doodles, and then they get thrown away or forgotten, when it's quite easy to just archve them on here... so that's what i did...
This one's been on the back burner for a while and i've only just decided to watch it for the first time. Just the thought of mentioning the Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer in the same piece of work, for me anyway, is a heavenly one, although i'm not sure their pieces of work would be allowed passed the heavenly gates. The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer wasn't the easiest animation to understand, however, for the beatifully detailed and stylised environments and unique characters, it's definitely worth a watch. You may recognise some of the pieces from previous Svankmajer animations as well as the doll, which has a similar resemblance to one of the Brothers Quay's previous pieces of work. Straight away, you are able to spot an animation from the Brothers Quay, and this animation is no exception, integrating everything we have come to expect from them. Despite my lack of understanding of what was happening, The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer is worth watching for the wonderful characters and environments alone.
Here it is:
His soul arrives in Heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
'Welcome to Heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems
there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts,
you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'
'No problem, just let me in,' says McCain. 'I've got the experience."
'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is
have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose
where to spend eternity.'
'Really, I've made up my mind. I'm supposed to be in Heaven,' he says.
'I'm sorry, Senator McCain, but we have our rules.'
And with that, St. Peter escorts the senator to the elevator, and he
goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and McCain finds himself
in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse,
and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians
who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him,
shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while
getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar,
Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy
who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a
good time that before John McCain realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens. St. Peter is
waiting for him and says. 'Now it's time to visit Heaven.'
So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls
moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp, singing, and feeding
each other. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24
hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
'Well, then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now
choose your eternity.'
The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would
never have said it before, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I
think I would be better off in Hell.'
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and McCain goes down, down,
down to Hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open. John McCain finds himself in the
middle of a barren, hot land covered with the stench of garbage,
pollutants, and radioactive waste.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and
putting it in black bags as more trash and pollution fall from above.
The Devil comes over and puts his arm around John's shoulder.
'I don't understand,' McCain stammers. 'Yesterday I was here and there
was a golf course and clubhouse. We ate lobster and caviar, drank
champagne, and danced, and we had a great time. Now there's just a
wasteland of death, and my friends look miserable. What happened?'
The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, 'Yesterday we were
Today you voted.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
- INTRODUCTION (200 words)
- MAIN BODY (1600 words):
- WHAT IS MODERNISM?
- HOW DID MODERNISM INFLUENCE POSTMODERNISM?
- WHAT IS POSTMODERNISM?
- WHAT IS HYPERREALITY?
- PLATO'S CAVE AND THE MATRIX.
- JEAN BAUDRILLARD IN THE MATRIX.
- CELEBRATION TOWN AND THE MATRIX.
- CONCLUSION (200 words)
I still feel like one or two things might be changed or removed before my hand-in because of my word count being quite high. But i'll have to see how things go...
'one of the most expressive short films ever made, a barely animated anxiety attack about a small girl, an infinite cellar, and a potato bin.' (Michael Atkinson, Village Voice).
This was one of Ruben's suggestions, as well as The Little Otik, and i'm glad i took the time to watch this one because it was well worth it. Despite not being an animation all the way through, Down to the Cellar, takes Svankmajer's usual surreal and eerie work and puts it into a combined live action and stop motion. It had everything you wouldn't want to find down in a cellar and plays with the innocence of the little girl to make things even more creepy. We have a paedophile, a crazy lady making cakes from dirt, shoes behaving like animals and a black cat that chases after you, who i right frame of mind would dare to go down there, just for a sack of potatos. Definitely one of the most surreal and creepiest pieces of work i've seen yet, even by Svankmajer's standards.
'Updating a popular children's fable, leading Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer's latest is a compelling and highly contemporary social satire. Inventively combining live action with characteristically macabre stop-motion animation, Svankmajer's fourth feature, after "Alice", "Faust", and "Conspirators of Pleasure", may also be his best.' (Jason Wood, BBC Movies).
One Night in City by Jan Balej:
'Intricate stop-motion animation is brought to bear on a trio of bleak, surreal parables in the dyspeptic horror toon "One Night in One City." Fastidiously, imaginatively detailed model work springs from the mind of 48-year-old animator Jan Balej. At the far deep end of the most adult pool, item is suitable for specialty fests, midnight sidebars, liberal-minded cablers and avant-garde DVD labels.' (Eddie Cockrell, Variety.com).
'A self-contained, if rather obscure film which is nonetheless outstandingly skilled and imaginative. Loosely inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh, the film transforms the story into a macabre tale told with grotesque models and a theatrical mise en scène in which savage, vindictive machines whirr, slice, decapitate and imprison the unwary. It has the cold articulation of malignancy and evil commonly associated with the horrific fantasies of children's stories and games.' (BFI Shorts Catalogue).
The Epic of Gilgamesh is another perfect example of the Quay Brother's brilliant ability to create unique and detailed environments and scenes. Despite being unable to fully understand everything that goes on in this animation, it is the beauty of the environment and puppets that makes this short animation so magical. I love the small details even in the mechanics of the wall, and the clown-like Gilgamesh and bird puppets are strikingly unique and memorable. The Epic of Gilgamesh is another masterclass example of surreal and eerie stop motion animation, by The Brothers quay, that is so wonderfully constructed and animated, that despite a lack of understanding for the narrative, the visual aesthetic and art direction drive the animation perfectly.
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Here's a few of the short animations from Cowboys:
Write about the specific question.
- Essay Body (1600 words):
- What is Modernism? (Understanding Modernism)
- How did Modernism influence Postmodernism? (Understanding Modernism)
- What is Postmodernism? (Understanding Postmodernism)
- What are Hyperreality and Metaphysics? (Understanding Hyperreality and Metaphysics)
- Plato's Cave comparison to The Matrix (Ancient Philosophical reference)
- Jean Baudrillard in The Matrix (Theorist Reference)
- Disney's 'Celebration' Town comparison to The Matrix (Modern day reference)
- International Flavours and Fragrances comparison to The Matrix (Modern day reference)
- Conclusion (200 words):