I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Movie storytellers to make you feel

I try to post an image for every post. Photoshop on Wacom Cintiq.

Joe's quest to be better at storyboarding and storytelling is a standard to aspire to and we all have pieces of what he's been for us to share and learn from. Colleagues in animation are all movie addicts, talking in movie phrases and attendant sound effects (scaring the uninitiated within earshot), spontaneous discussions about movies we love or hate on a daily basis. So, to keep in shape and keep on with Joe's passion to understand stories better (he even had a soft spot for appreciating the strangest of "trainwrecks", as John Lasseter recounts) here's two of my recent faves, both films are about dealing with loss. (NY Times requires registration). A recent documentary was on when I was painting this weekend and I heard a quote but didn't see who it was. I believe this to be true:

"People come to movies to feel, not to understand."

NY Times review of "2046" by Kar Wai Wong. Just saw the movie last night. Really impressed by it. It may not appeal to the general public needing all questions answered but I so enjoyed the way it didn't cleave to the expected rythms and regularities of a standard structure but delivered a journey worth the time taking anyway. Performances by the cast were powerful (Ziyi Zhang blazed a performance for the Oscars, I think) and the camera work and spare staging carries the style of the earlier "In the mood for Love." Excerpt from Manohla Dargis review:

Routinely criticized for his weak narratives, Mr. Wong is one of the few filmmakers working in commercial cinema who refuse to be enslaved by traditional storytelling. He isn't the first and certainly not the only one to pry cinema from the grip of classical narrative, to take a pickax to the usual three-act architecture (or at least shake the foundation), while also dispatching with the art-deadening requirements (redemption, closure, ad nauseam) that have turned much of Big Hollywood into a creative dead zone. Like some avant-garde filmmakers and like his contemporary, Hou Hsiao-hsien of Taiwan, among precious few others these days, Mr. Wong makes movies, still a young art, that create meaning through visual images, not just words.

(bolds are mine--R)

And if you're really feeling daring, try out Ji-woon Kim's "Tale of Two Sisters" (Janghwa, Hongryeon). Pete Sohn lent me his DVD with cautions that it's not a good movie. But I was blown away by the unstructured story telling. Left a lot of questions unanswered. Mystifying parts that didn't fit. But I had a blast anyway. My cup of tea. NY Times review by Dana Stevens excerpted below"

In a subversion of the usual horror-movie rhythm, the central secret is revealed about halfway through. The film's last 40 minutes trace the evolving rivalry between the fierce Su-Mi and her archetypically monstrous stepmother, slowly leading us to the heart of what is, in the end, less a gruesome fairy tale than a somber reflection on memory, adolescence and mourning.

Marvelled at the direction (restraint, great choices) and the powerful performances of the lead women. Hat's off to all involved. Sad to see the DVD cover capitalize on gore imagery which implies slasher sensibilities to this movie that isn't in quantities to warrant the diservice.



Blogger monkeyfeather said...

Haven't seen "Sisters" but I saw 2046 on the weekend and was completely blown away. I am a huge fan of Wong Kar-Wai (Chungking Express probably being my favorite.) I'm with you, I love his use of a looser, less structured storytelling, and I like how everything isn't completely answered and wrapped up in a nice bow. Everything is there that you need to come to your own conclusion, he just doesn't spell it out for you. I love the pacing of his films, and the way he shoots them is just staggeringly beautiful. The way he stages his scenes, and cuts them together gives his films a very lyrical quality; almost as if you are watching a true visual representation of a musical masterpiece that you've never heard, but are dying to listen to again. I'm pretty sure that description made no sense... Great performances from his regulars as well.

7:58 PM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Makes complete sense to me. I agree on all counts and hope to see the rest of his work. There are movies out there that are all mood and style, but fail to grab you. "The Jacket" and "The Machinist" (two movies who have each other to be likened to as well as having Jennifer Jason Leigh as female lead) both try to mystify (the Machinist succeeds better) but inelegant in the telling and more so their "reveal" of what this is about. The Machinist is the more emotional of the two. The Jacket hinged on us buying that an experimental drug can bodilly wisk you to another time and place--and ultimately we don't. Mechanically solving the how's and why's can't fix what an authentic character turn should supply. And that's an over simplification--movie storytelling is a morass of right decisions that have to show up. Not easy.


9:00 PM

Blogger Amelia Lorenz said...

Sorry, this isn't about movies, but I've got to say that's one of my favorite Nina pics ever...


9:57 PM

Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Haven't seen either, but may do so now. The quote about going to movies to 'feel' is something I find quite accurate. Though I shy away from films that tend to have a depressing nature, films like 'The Thin Red Line' (a personal fave) tend to make you feel emotions rather than rely on shocking imagery or action sequences.

Speaking of films, a good friend recently bought me the Danger: Diabolik DVD and what fun I had watching it! I had heard many good comments regarding it but had never seen it. Interesting to see all the inspirations used in other films and comic books today. And to think a lot of the sets were Matte Paintings. Amazing. Steve Bissette had a nice introduction as well.

And yes, that is a great Nina pic!

5:00 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Amelia--Thanks so much. It began, like most things that lead to something suprising, a meandering doodle to test a Photoshop brush I was modifying and doing some layer effects. I needed to get back into some workflow. This wasn't work but quite welcome.

Chad--haven't either of the movies you mentioned but will put it on the list. I've heard about Diablolik over the years but haven't gotten to it. Robert McKee pitched it in his seminar, quite well really, felt like I had to watch it then and of course I fail to do so. Will check it out.

I should do more of these doodles today. Thanks for carrying Joe with you over there. Hello to Ken.


7:09 AM

Blogger Sedyas said...

Ronnie said:
"I try to post an image for every post."
That is a marvelous news, Ronnie!

9:49 AM

Blogger Jon McNally said...

People come to movies to feel, not to understand.

Ah! I love that quote, Ronnie.

I haven't seen 2046 yet, but I did see a preview when I recently saw Me and You and Everyone We Know, one of the most wonderful "feeling" movies I've seen in a long time.

To add to the quote above, I'd say that the best "feeling" movies promote understanding (in a personal, intuitive place not often accessed in day-to-day life).

Thanks for the movie recommendations, Ronnie.

12:34 PM

Blogger Daniel Chappelle said...

You used Photoshop & Wacom Cintiq?
Do you have the 21 inch Wacom Cintiq?

How is it? Have you tried Alias Sketchbook pro.

8:57 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Yup, 21 inch Cintiq. Like butter. Did I say that already?

I am definitely going to get one for my home office use.

Tried Sketchbook pro. Liked it but I'm much faster on Photoshop already. No need to switch.


4:11 PM

Blogger Daniel Chappelle said...

Like butter. Sweet Butter! I have to test drive one asap. B&H Photo in NYC sells them for Price : $ 2,495.95

How sweet is it that you have one at work!

I hope to buy one for home, but I gotta check one out before I spend that much dough on butter.

Thanks for the reply! Huzzah! Dan! !

6:07 PM


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