Reading Media Culture – Friday’s film class notes

March 16, 2009

ANTHROPHOMORPHISM
The endowment of creatures with human attributes, abilities and qualities.
– by Paul Wells in his book Understanding Animation
Creatures covers more than animals or plants as seen in The Brave Little Toaster (appliances)

There are 2 practices that explain this theory in greater detail:
– Animism – the belief that everything on Earth has a spirit and impacts on life
– Totism – incorporation of natural entities into ritual behaviour
(ie: dove with an olive branch = symbol for peace as a mental construct / candles on a cake = symbol for birthday)

In Eisenstein’s article, he refers to Vesilovski’s definition of Animism, “We involuntarily transfer onto Nature our own experience of Life which is expressed in movement in the manifestation of a force directed by a will.”

Key to the Animation Industry = Design characters that the viewing audience can identify with and would want to watch over and over again.
– viewers either see someone who they know or like, or possibly themselves (cross-genre use of animation and musicals are a natural mixture)
– this character can be an idealized version of who they are
– as a result, viewers feel more comfortable about who they are (personality animation)

The Three Little Pigs by Walt Disney

Anthrophomorphism examples from the animation:
– wearing clothes, talk, stand on 2 feet, procrastinate, dancing, building houses, play instrument, a pig that’s afraid (tails), picture frames, furniture, relied on others, showed hubris (extreme arrogance = get what you deserve for your cockiness), boiling water, understand english, use tricks to foil the wolf, lock the door, deceptive quality in the wolf, wolf uses threats, first 2 pigs form a collective where the third pig is on his own, have luxuries (welcome mat), portrait of the family in the pig house (2 of Father – one with sausage and one with a ham / and one of mother nursing), understood the concept of work, lived in capitalist society (if you don’t work, you are screwed), separation of class structures (pig represented as civilized where the wolf is shown to be a vagrant), different pitches of voices from first 2 pigs to third pig, Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, creation of suburbia (own your own house), have a fire, value of hard work, potted plants, self-serving mentality of the first two pigs, turpentine and mixing it into the cauldron, individual clothing and voice style, be prepared motto shown by the third pig, hits the wolf with the brush = defense strategy, opposable thumbs (foundation to human evolution), eyes structured like humans, mocking the wolf when they thought they were safe, have beds and pillows, ability to reason and negotiate

Most blatant examples are when the wolf tried to trick the 2nd pig that he had left and then showed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then he tried to pass himself off as a Fuller Brush salesman trying to put himself through college.

Merbabies by Walt Disney

Imaginary divine omnipotence – Eisenstein
– manufactured utopia – impossible dream to live in that environment – shown when the bubbles rise to the surface and reveal that the whole setting is imaginary
– mermaid characters were very cherubic in their portrayal
– defiance of the food chain – big fish eats the little fish

Bugs in Love by Walt Disney

What comes first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to animation?
– Chuck Jones, one of the greatest animators ever, talks about the creation of Daffy Duck.
– Producer Leon Schlesinger was a very bombastic persona who was authoritative, yet he spoke with a slight lisp
– Jones used this as creative license and added it to the persona of Daffy (wasn’t a duck in fact, but a transvestite chicken!)
– Jones asked Mel Blanc to do the voice and the track was sped up
– but then they realized that Leon would have to listen to the recording and approve it
– as a result they wrote out their resignation letters beforehand just in case
– “Jesus Christ, what a silly WOICE! Where did you get it?”
– moral of the story = where does an animator get inspiration for their work? – answer is that every animator has a mirror on the side of their desk to mimic facial expressions

I do not know what it is I am like by Bill Viola
– Video Art deals with the camera in a totally new way so that you have immediate feedback in what you are recording
– Failure of Knowledge is a major theme that they wanted to develop
– image is displayed will leave you in discomfort and wants to put the viewer in the piece itself rather than as an entertainment tool = leaves you in a state of frustration and you are stuck with it = anti-telivision and anti-constructed entertainment (not here to entertain you)
– feel like a spectator inhabiting the world of the bison – other than the camera recording the imagery, there are no obvious human interactions, not even a narration

Planet Earth – by BBC

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Reading the Screen – class notes from last Wednesday

October 2, 2008

The Band Concert  Dir. Walt Disney  USA  1935  8 min.

– William Tell Overture – Mickey is the conductor – all other major characters are in the band
– Donald is selling ice cream and interrupting the music – also playing the flute – shaking his tail feathers
– Mickey breaks his flute – but Donald has many others
– bee flies into the flute and into Donald’s mouth
– ice cream gets thrown from donald to mickey to the band and back at mickey
– tempo raises as mickey tries to kill bee and swings his hands around with the baton
– ruh roh here comes the tornado
– audience and benches go running
– the band gets sucked into the cyclone and then drops back down to the ground when it disipates
– lawl only donald is left in the audience and breaks out his flute again to play out the scene

I Ought To Be In Pictures Dir. Bob Clampett  USA  1939   7 min.


– WB Looney tunes with Porky Pig on opening still
– real life people walking into the film studio – shows animator drawing porky pig
– LUNCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! animators run to the mess hall
– Daffy Duck starts talking to Porky and tells him to quit his contract
– they walk through the real life studio and knock on the studio head’s door
– Hello, Porky – cmon in – hello Leon Sclesinger
– get out of cartoon contract – get into feature films – they shake hands
– “He’ll be back!”
– Daffy was conspiring to take his place all along
– security guard at the feature film studio tosses porky pig into the street
– he comes onto a live set – QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– porky sneezes and gets caught – thrown out again – security guard sees him – chase begins again
– “don’t like feature business – wonder if i can get my job back?”
– daffy tries to sell studio head about his acting/singing skills
– studio head ain’t interested – FIGARO!!!!!!!!!!!!
– camera on a rolling car with porky drawn into the scene
– porky comes in to see daffy talking to leon and calls him outside – beats the crap out of him – papers go flying
– porky says april fools – I knew you’d come back – get back to work!
– he jumps back into the paper – daffy is in bandages now
– THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

Duck Amuck  Dir. Chuck Jones   USA  1953   7 min.


– MERRY MELODIES
– Daffy Duck as a musketeer
– he talks to the animator / audience as the scenery disapears and he keeps changing
– farm to igloos – daffy keeps changing characters – now its a beach in hawaii
– white screen – giant pencil starts erasing daffy
– SOUND PLEASE! – guitar sounds like rifle / horn / donkey
– daffy opens his mouth and sounds like a rooster, ape…gets really pissed
– painted daffy as an alien – painted in mirror and he freaks
– THIS IS A CLOSE UP?!?!?!
– DAffy fights the black screen closing and falling on him
– The End…NO NO NO!!!
– it turns out it was Bugs Bunny all along as the animator
– “Ain’t I a stinker?”

Begone Dull Care  Dir. Norman McClaren   CANADA  1949  8 min.


– abstract drawings / patterns / layouts / cutouts
– many different cuts set to the tempo of the music
– many different layers scrolling at different speeds
– different musical tempos differentiate different graphic symbols
– line drawings represent softer tempos

– first song ends – now second one comes on – much slower tempo
– focus on 2 dancing lines across the screen to the sound of a solitary piano
– it feels like a piano playing visually
– rising and dropping cymbals in the background

– new musical piece – much heavier tempo – back to abstract and loud visual graphics
– scrolling upwards – feels like we’re on a train going somewhere
– scrolls through many different END / SALUT…to end the piece

Blinkity Blank Dir. Norman McClaren   CANADA  1952   7 min.


– similar to last piece – with abstract shapes
– he cut and manipulated the individual film strips to create the shapes and text
– very time intensive and consuming process to do
– he also manipulated the sound strips on the film as well
– use of colours and scratches in the film to create shapes

The Street  Dir. Caroline Leaf CANADA  1976  10 min.


– credit text – with sounds of kids playing overtop
– breathing – hands – face – snoring
– watercolour painting – maybe charcoal?
– grandmother dying – her last summer
– narrator telling the story – it’s a man reminiscing about his childhood
– boys peak up the nurse’s dress everytime she  she came
– boy tries to peak in and enter his old room – to give her a kiss every morning
– the sounds and voices are so rich in texture, yet the drawings are not
– mother brings the grandmother back to the house after her illness
– interesting segueway sequence from scene to scene – smoke/cloud like effect

Neighbours  Dir. Norman McClaren   CANADA  1952   7 min.


– frame by frame action – to show movement
– two men sitting on lawn chairs lighting pipes
– electronic music soundscape
– a flower grows in the middle of the lawn between their properties
– man smells flower and falls backwards – frame by frame movement again – shows them jumping – caught in mid air
– they both want the flower so now they are trying to build a fence between them
– back and forth the fence goes between properties
– now they start fencing with one another
– face painting to show them slowly degenerate to their primitive selves
– kicks their wives and babies – kills them
– in the process they kill themselves and the flower dies
– the fences are built around their graves and the flower splits into 2 and grows on their tombs
– LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR
The Hand   Dir. Jiri Trnka.  CZECHOSLOVAKIA. 1965.  18 Min.


– stop motion animation – like aardman/chicken run – uses puppets and real objects
– in comes a giant gloved hand through the window and breaks a potted plant
– plays with the pottery wheel and creates a hand out of the bowl the puppet had made
– knock knock knock – he moves the plant  and grabs his broom to swat at the hand
– ring ring ring – puppet looks for the phone
– has receiver to his ear but we see visual representation of the conversation over puppet’s head
– hand brings a tv out of a box on the floor
– standoff between the puppet and the scene on the tv with a hand and shows various close ups of different hands (images…)
– puppet tries to smash fingers of the hand with a mace
– newspaper comes under the door – has a hand inside of it and the giant hand appears out of it
– burlesque hand now appears and dances for the puppet – beckoning him to come forward
– nooses appear from the fingers – they are actually strings to control the puppet
– he is now in a cage and is chiseling a hand out of stone at the direction of the giant hand
– burning the midnight oil in order to finish off the hand statue
– puppet is awarded with medals for completing the hand
– he topples over the hand statue to break out of the cage and escape – begins chase sequence with giant hand trying to catch him
– puppet makes it back to his home and slams door shut behind him / barricades himself inside
– glove on the giant hand is now black as the puppet had killed himself trying to close the closet and the potted plant fell on his head
– funeral scene ow as the puppet is laid to rest inside the closet

The Man Who Planted Trees  Dir. Frederick Back   CANADA  1987   30 min


part 1/4
– narrator Christopher Plummer
– beautifully drawn scenes and animations
– abstract yet engaging at the same time
– animated scrolling scenes showcase the houses and windows
– barren landscapes – sound of howling winds overheard – sets the tone/scene of the piece
– flowing cloak of the shepherd – bahhhhhhhhhhh bahhhhhhh
– flowing line drawing to show the tide coming in at the ocean shore
– the flowing/howling winds are represented within the flowing drawings
– always the ever present wind
– illumination from the candle was shown effectively in the lighting of the drawing
– 10,000 oak trees in this desolate land where before there was…nothing
– the land was dying from lack of trees
– WWI starts and scene changes to the trenches of France – explosions – bayonets – desolation
– once the war was over – the narrator went back to the barren lands to smell fresh air
– now the old man is a bee keeper – given up his sheep because they threatened his trees
– oaks of 1910 were now 10 years old and taller then the narrator – 3 sections 10 km x 11km
– one man with no mechanization had done this
– as for providence, she would need a cyclone to destroy this stretch of trees
– creation had just followed in a natural sequence – streams flowing with water where before they had been dry
– delegation came to observe the “natural growing forest” – was placed under government protection
– he knows more about this than anyone in the world
– WWII – shows warplanes in the sky – sounds of them as well
– complete a task worthy of God


Cuban taekwondo athlete kicks ref, faces lifetime ban

September 13, 2008

This story is a little old, but damn if this isn’t one of the funniest pictures I have ever seen – the guy just DUMMIES the ref with a roundhouse kick to the face Chuck Norris style!

Cant we all just get along?

Can't we all just get along?

Taekwondo athlete Angel Matos of Cuba faces a lifetime ban after kicking the referee in the face following his disqualification in a bronze-medal match Saturday at the Beijing Games.

Matos’s coach Leudis Gonzalez also faces a lifetime ban in response to the incident that took place at the end of the men’s over-80 kg bout.

“We didn’t expect anything like what you have witnessed to occur,” said World Taekwondo Federation secretary general Yang Jin-suk. “I am at a loss for words.”

Although the arena announcer said Matos and his coach were banned effective immediately, Yang said due process must be followed before officially banning the two.

A gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games, Matos was winning the match 3-2 against Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov with 1:02 in the second round when he fell to the mat after being hit.

Fighters get one minute to receive medical attention, but Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.

After angrily questioning the decision, the Cuban pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden.

Matos then spat on the floor before being escorted out.

“He was too strict,” Gonzalez said of the decision to disqualify Matos.

Gonzalez also alleged the match was fixed and accused the Kazakhstanis of offering him money.

In the gold-medal match, Cha Dong-min of South Korea defeated European champion Alexandros Nikolaidis of Greece 5-4.

Nigeria’s Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije won the other bronze medal, defeating Akmal Irgashev of Uzbekistan.

Two bronze medals are awarded in taekwondo at the Olympics.

http://www.cbc.ca/olympics/taekwondo/story/2008/08/23/olympics-angel-matos.html