All posts tagged art

song-of-the-sea-posterAfter just one stunning theater viewing, Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea became one of my favorite animated films of all time. From an island nation with a daunting pound-for-pound cultural legacy, this fiercely Irish modern folktale embodies both the intellectualism born in their poet-king pubs, as well as the supernatural climes of their landscapes.

The comparisons to Miyazaki masterpiece Spirited Away have run a bit rampant; I’d like to expound on why this film, while indeed similar in tone, art style, and theme, is more than mere Celtic Miyazaki-esque.

In this article, I’ll discuss the visual and cultural themes of the movie, and explain its message for viewers today. Despite superficial similarities, it is these themes that make it quintessentially Irish. To quote the great Irish novelist John McGahern:

“Everything that we inherit, the rain, the skies, the speech, and anybody who works in the English language in Ireland knows that there’s the dead ghost of Gaelic in the language we use and listen to and that those things will reflect our Irish identity.”

I’ll show that SotS flavors well-known tropes with directed, intentional nuance that makes it more of a continuation of the worldview posited in The Secret of Kells (Moore’s first film). You could almost consider SotS to be a chronological sequel, diving deeper into the schism between spirit and human worlds that began in TSoK. Both reflect the Irish psyche that is the product of a transformation from the island’s Celtic paganism to its inevitable assimilation of Christianity. Where TSoK indulges in the intrigue of that transition, SotS grounds it in a modern story of loss, and offers folkloric lessons as an answer.


Before we begin, I want you to take a moment and consider the single most important question to answer about SotS: Why does Saoirse choose to stay in the end? Answering this will reveal the meaning of this movie, and is the goal of this analysis, so you should have your own ideas before reading this.

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Check out this amazing short film from Aardman Animations, who were previously responsible for much light fare like the lovable Wallace and Gromit. This short film, directed by Luis Cook, is their first non-commercial film, surpasses all attempts I've ever seen at merging the fluidity of 3D with the dynamic of hand-drawn graphics. Usually, the two blend about as well as teflon on cast-iron, but I couldn't take my eyes off this piece:

I was shocked this week when, just days before my kid sister's graduation from UC Santa Cruz, I got a call from my mom. Our wedding photographer Peter, close friend and co-worker to my dad, had lost his wife. She was healthy and lively just a few months ago, even helping Peter take some pictures when he had clearly fatigued himself trying to capture every angle of our wedding. A month ago, she discovered she needed a liver transplant. In one week, she went from sick to terminal, a case of genetic acute hepatitis that has a incredibly fast onset, period of jaundice, nausea, liver failure, and ultimately high fatality.

So as we sat in a hallowed outdoor auditorium listening to graduating students and their professors meander on the meaning of life in the best tradition of the liberal institution, and meanwhile in LA at the very same time, Peter was at his wife's funeral. I could not help shaking off the feeling that from marriage to wedding to graduation to death to funeral, here before us was a strange, Gordian knot of happenstance. Appreciate it all as you can.

It's almost convenient that as Christina enters the work force with her newly minted art degree, another one exits. Life is convenient like that I guess, however inconvenient it is for us who live in it.

Requiescat in Pace… <to be continued>

I've gotten my one-sheet resume and demo reel online, and I must say Flash video rocks my socks. The quality could still be improved, especially since Flash 8 doesn't come with two-pass encoding and I'd have to buy a separate program to do it, but it's good enough for now. The hunt begins, and in the meantime I think I'll focus on mel script automation of rigging, as it seems to be the craze these crazy days. It would also make it easier to build rigs without wrestling with Maya's stupid orient handling and transformations. But enough for now, the hunt begins!

Check it out here!

Wow. Just… wow. This is the movie I was waiting to be waiting all year for. Today was the first time I've heard of the movie adaptation of Frank Miller's 300. The visuals in this are jaw-dropping. Lush, liquid sets with almost prop-like backdrops for backgrounds to frame some incredibly Grecian poses, epic character staging, and ultimately, still true to paper comic stylings, this is pure sickness. OK, sorry. The gush stops here.

EDIT: The HD trailers here!

Air stocks plummeted for us and our British brethren over the news of an intercepted terrorist game of cowboys and indians. Heathrow was in chaos as travelers were forced to remove all liquid carry-ons, since the terrorists had planned to use their iPods to detonate British Gatorade. Had these quasimuslim MacGuyvers succeeded, they would have eventually been able to blow-up eleven planes over the Atlantic.

So now what? With their plans foiled, I fear the worst, and that is that the Al Qaida's obsession with airlines will slowly divert into other vulnerable areas of our society. Perhaps they'll bomb our energy grid, our utilities infrastructure, our tech companies, our landmarks, or even Allah forbid visit their Armageddon upon my precious Netflix just as I'm about to rent some blasphemous film of the American degenerate… or some erogenous anime.

Actually, the film I am desperately waiting to see is Iñárritu's next epic tri-plot, Babel. This trailer fluidly sums up for me the very real dangers in believing in the universality in this technological Babel we've built. How he ties the threads together will probably mirror the consequences of love in Amores Perros, and the consequences of regret in 21 Grams. Babel looks to be about the consequences of technological vainity, and I say it's about time.

For a pre-finals field trip, I took a couple of my students to catch a matinee of Superman Returns. Verdict? It’s a Brian Singer film; well-written story, excellent cast, beautiful direction, but, well, the action was about as exciting as betting on whether or not gnats can stop trucks. Superman is invincible. Plausible action sequences are entirely dependent on whether or not the citizens of Metropolis survive, since we know Supes will just be a little dusty none-for-worse after demolishing the biggest, flaminingest threat.

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