A moviemaker who blazed many trails, some of which that led to false paths and others that seemed to meander through Indiana Jones-styled jungle thickets or lost treasure labyrinths, Orson Welles continues to provide many lessons to directors, editors, sound designers, and everyone else involved in moving image creation. Here is a highly recommended article on a lesser-known ahead-of-its-time innovation in his work: the video essay, as seen in F for Fake. And the tale of rediscovering and rebuilding one of his “lost temples” of filmmaking (which was reported on in this blog a couple of years ago)— The Other Side of the Wind — goes on. In a perfect 21st century twist worthy of the director of Citizen Kane, Netflix is the studio that has stepped in to finance this elusive, decades-old project through to fruition.
Each year, mediateacher posts pieces that discuss Oscar nominees or winners — often focusing on those under-the-radar treats: animated, live action, and documentary shorts — and today will emphasize a standout category from this year: animated feature film. The lineup of movies nominated in animation highlights a strikingly diverse quintet of movies, including two foreign selections, the French-language My Life as a Zucchini and non-dialogue The Red Turtle; along with a new stop-motion treasure from Laika studios, Kubo and the Two Strings; and two thought-provoking, delightfully spirited Disney CG offerings, Zootopia (discussed in this earlier post) and Moana.
Interestingly, of the three movies, a majority are animated using (relatively) old-school techniques — drawn, 2D animation and figure-based stop motion. Yet again, when it appears that digital advances will steer moviemaking in a particular direction by making things “easier” for craftspeople or “more realistic” for viewers, such as with CG-based animation, filmmakers will return to — and reinvigorate or sometimes reinvent — traditional techniques that help them to communicate the most meaningful and emotionally vibrant expression of their stories.
Posted in Animation | Tagged Academy Awards 2017, Animated Feature Film, CG Animation, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, Oscars, Stop-motion, The Red Turtle, Zootopia | Leave a Comment »
Arthur as a title has two great distinctions. (Yes, and a big Dudley Moore hit from a few decades ago. Kinda funny. But odd, for sure.) First, George Harrison’s inimitable punch line to “What do you call this haircut?” in the groundbreaking Richard Lester masterwork and Beatles-style celebration of life and music-making A Hard Day’s Night.
And next, what is easily in the Top 5 of best-ever kids’ TV shows (and really one of the best of any shows): Arthur. Yup, the kids animated show. Endlessly inventive, quirky, character-driven, wittily subversive and provocative, gentle, inspiring, dramatically solid, and consistently brilliant, Arthur is a treasure of children’s programming. You want a major lesson in Media Literacy? — check out The Love Ducks from the episode That’s a Baby Show!
So this recent piece by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert featuring his musical collaborator Jon Batiste and some special guests was a real treat. Enjoy!
Do you know the answer to the question? If you are a teacher, do your students? An earlier post on mediateacher.net presented the first female Yemeni director, Khadija Al-Salami — She is a Yemeni Filmmaker in France — and her highly educational and eye-opening movies, including A Stranger in Her Own City (which is featured in Moving Images) and Amina, a portrait of an eleven-year-old Yemeni bride who was accused of murdering her husband at fourteen. For further information from my earlier post, this excellent article titled For the Love of Her Country (by Olivia Snaije) provides powerful insights into the challenges of documentary filmmaking in the context of the intense conflicts that Al-Salami’s war-torn homeland and its people face today, particularly its women.