lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011

Interview - Ralph Bakshi

As I’m a humble person, my word is my bond. And I promised all of you, long ago, that we would post and interview with legendary director Ralph Bakshi, so here it is. Every one of us in the studio is very proud of this interview. I am very proud of having the opportunity to talk with such a rich man.

I don’t know if Bakshi is one of the greatest artists alive today, but he certainly is one of the artists I respect the most. I admire his lack of compromise with anything but his own worldview and the crude sincerity with which he expresses it. These are clearly not the political trades of businessman and it’s no wonder that it’s been more than ten years since his last movie, but there are still people, like me, who appreciate this kind of honesty. Kurt Vonnegut said “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” I often feel this is one of Bakshi’s trademarks.

Throughout the last year, I’ve written at least five articles about the man and his works. Some of them are in Spanish and some in English; most of them are unpublished. But he always comes back to me as a cornerstone not only of my views about animation, but of art in general. So, yeah, it’s with great honor that I present you this interview.

At first, what he says might come off as kind of downer, but that’s mostly because we had to edit out the brightest parts of his gloomy discourse and his jokes due to time constrains. Check out his movies and see for yourself that he’s a jolly man. And a wise man.

I especially like what he has to say about writers :)

domingo, 15 de mayo de 2011

Two wolves in animation

After a couple of years of studying literature (yes, I don’t think there is no actual equivalent for what I majored in in the English-speaking world, but that’s close enough) my interest in animation and comic books as forms of narrative resurfaced. Back then, my re-introduction in this world were Yuri Norstein’s works. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I must admit I worship this Russian’s oeuvre. Like Tarkovski and many other Russians before them (ok, I admit I am a filthy snob), their works mesmerize me. I found them incredibly deep; so deep, indeed, that I feel often lost in their crude beauty. And the first Nortein’s film I watched was Tale of Tales, where a folkloric wolf somehow plays the leading role.

I’ve been gone for a while now. I started teaching Language and Literature to small children (awesome job, by the way) and that left with little time for this blog. Today, in a conversation, Cartoon Saloon’s Old Fangs came out and I realized it was time I resumed my duties. If you haven’t done so, you should probably watch this vimeo version, in beautiful HD.

I won’t be here as often as I used to be. But I thank this wolves for pulling me back into animation again and again.

lunes, 28 de febrero de 2011

Attraction (4°C)

Before starting to comment on Attraction, the short movie that Studio 4°C made as a PSA for The National Institute for Preventive and Health Education in France, I must say that it freakishly cool!! For those not in the know, the piece is an interactive short meant to teach you the dangers of smoking. It is interactive, yeah, but the cool part is the way you interact with it. I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone, so go to the site and check it yourself.

On a side note, the music was made by the amazing french artist Danger, which I interviewd some time ago and you can read that interview over here. Studio 4°C is also working in the remake of ThunderCats, that's supposed to come out sometime this year.

Strictly speaking, I don't know if I'm more aware now that I watched/played with the short. I don't know if it was patronizing their public in their depiction of smokers. It probably was, by demonizing tobacco companies in a childish way and making everyone less intelligent and more ignorant in the process. But it was so blantantly awesome that I almost find it hard to critique. The tragic irony lies in that they're raising a critique to the "coolness" with which tobacco brands are being marketed. It employs the same strategy as their competitors to get their point across, rather than focusing on raising awareness or educating their public.

So, in the end, it is superficial at best and manipulative at worst, but it certainly manages to be the coolest PSA I've seen in my life. At least it is not this crap.

domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011

Film Art

I have just spent my whole afternoon watching film art. There are a lot of great things out there, things that, from an artistic point of view, put our regular movie posters to shame. But among such many great works, I would be negligent to name just a few. So I'll just post these two that re-imagine their movies as if they were comics. The first one is from Easy Rider, by Scott Campbell, and I like the indie-comic approach that. The second one is a rework on The thin red line by Jeremy Jusay and, even if I find it less inspired, is noteworthy nonetheless.

viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011

Megamind's censorship

Today Megamind's DVD is out for sale, but that's not what I want to talk about.

Have you noticed that, during the movie, the rock songs never quite get to that part of the lyrics that you would say aren't appropiate for children? For example, "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC gets interrupted right before the world "Hell" is spoken. In the movie this is done through what I recall is a boombox going on and off the track. But that's not the only example, just the most sparkling one.

During Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the jungle" (here performed by the industrious Richard Cheese), the lyrics go "we are the people that can find/whatever you may need/if you got the money, honey/we got your disease"; but in the movie the last two verses are interrupted by dialogue from the characters.

I didn't find this interupted my experience with the movie at all, but found it curious how they managed to choreograph whole scenes in order to censor one part of the lyrics.

Anyways, these are the examples I remember. I didn't go back through the whole movie to see how much this happened. If anyone got more examples from this or other movies, I'm all ears.