My Father My Lord (Hofshat Kaits)

I just came back from the first film screening for my class, Film, Fiction & the Construction of Identity: Israeli and Palestinian Voices. The above film was the first of several films we will look at in the class. Though somber, and at times biting, I enjoyed watching the film.

 

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Fascinating Videos: Cross-fire

[click on the above picture to watch the video!]

A really cool blend of visual and pop culture in this video directed by Geoffrey Mann and produced by Chris Labrooy. Honestly, what could be better than combining stop motion animation and awesome dialog from “American Beauty?” I could watch this on repeat for awhile. For more information on the director visit his site here.

Fascinating Videos: Whopper Virgins

People are very impressionable, and from normalizing and internalizing advertising and other media inputs for decades now we continue to veil the processes in which we adhere and shift our behavior. This seems like a thesis paper right? Funny thing is, it most likely will sound something like mine. Social psychology is interested in how other people shape our behavior, and I am interested in how media is doing the same exact thing.

This video left a fairly distinct impression on me from the normal YouTube clips I happen to find. Not quite sure if I see this as an ingenious stunt of marketing or as a shameless act of the capitalist food industry. The crew behind this project for Burger King went to remote locations in Thailand, Romania and Greenland to serve burgers for people who have never heard of, let alone eaten the “All-American” Hamburger. Most of the people act graciously towards the crew, welcoming them back for future visits. This is culturalization at its finest. There is no knowledge of the consumerist scheme, this is food and a basic exchange. Watching each person approach the burger, and the expressions of confusion, are the best parts. Sure it is Burger King propaganda but it is also a fascinating glimpse at a documentary that does not just report but brings us into the research as well. We see those first moments just as they happened. Incredibly worth a couple of views.

Fascinating Videos: Touch of Evil

So where have I been you might ask? I have been so MIA it is a bit silly but now that the end of the semester is finally wrapping up I have started to look forward to pouring out my weekly musings on this website of mine. Between finishing off my classes, performing in a dance show and assistant stage managing a musical I have had little time beyond being in rehearsals, classes, eating and sleeping. Good thing for break, when I get to do the latter two until I’m content as well as cook, blog and celebrate the season right.

So for now I needed to share a New York Times Interactive Feature that I find just stunning. As a cinephile (I hate that term, but I am what I am) I am absolutely thrilled by director Alex Prager’s work in “Touch of Evil”. It is a video gallery (how 21st century!) of thirteen of the top performers from this year in dramatic and cunning portrayals from iconic malevolent characters of the past. The cinematography (Ross Richardson) is so striking–each quick film seems to be oozing with a distinct attitude.

My favorite is the carnivalesque portrayal of Alex from A Clockwork Orange by Rooney Mara. Shot in reverse, the characteristic air of something amiss is there as well as the awesome 70s mod furniture. With the addition of the characteristic costume and eyelashes, this short is spot on. Not to be missed are the Mia Wasikowska as well as the Ryan Gosling shorts. I have to admit the others might be too creepy for me to re-watch!

Check them all out here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/12/06/magazine/13villains.html# and look forward to more from me in the coming month.

Fascinating Videos: Radiolab Presents Symmetry

I’m going through a big video phase lately. It is inspirational to see how so many people are expressing their own points of view through the visual essence of just a few minutes of film. What beautiful respect to the medium.

I saw this film a couple of months ago but it has been lingering about my thoughts since. This is a Radiolab video made by Everynone, check out http://www.radiolab.org/ to learn more about the radio show and podcast and http://everynone.com/ for more fascinating videos. What I love about this short is how each subject is juxtaposed, under the lens of comparison the subjects represent symmetry and opposition while conveying an innate similarity that exists in imperfect connections. The music and editing set a pace that takes the viewer through a narrative that ends on a perfect yet chilling note. Check it out and try to imagine what pairs you would feature if you were clever enough to think up this concept.

Fascinating Videos: Stop Motion Animation

I have been an avid fan of photography ever since picking up my first camera that most likely didn’t even work at all. So I might owe a lifetime of snapping shots to Fisher Price but as I say, always earlier than later. I like photography because of its flexibility. A photograph can be about imagery, emotion, narrative and much more but while a single photograph can pack its own narrative punch, films have time at their advantage.

When am I really impressed? Stop motion animation.

A stop motion movie can be made out of a variety of mediums from clay to physical objects that are moved from frame to frame. The objects themselves do not move but combining the frames creates the illusion of movement. This provides a more realistic effect for animated films and is edgier and more deconstructed when used instead of more seamless techniques. I am a huge fan Nick Park’s work with Wallace and Gromit as well as Chicken Run. The characters have a sense of realism to them while still looking constructed as though a perfect compromise between film capturing and artistic creation. One of my favorite books in elementary school was Coraline, so I was incredibly excited to see the updated use of stop motion clay animation in the film. It is as though someone found a loophole to the stillness of photography as a medium. Stop motion was even used on an episode of Community for their Christmas episode. How cool is it to see your favorite real life characters in clay cartoon versions!

So while most movies are not made this way I say we should see more of it. I have included a video of my favorite YouTube stop motion. It is called “Sweet Dreams” and it received a Special Jury Award as SXSW in 2009. It is the work of Kirsten Lepore and is a perfect stop motion that combines awesome edible sets with walking cupcakes and squash! Please check it out. I have also have linked a behind the scenes video featuring Danny Pudi from Community talking about the making of their special Christmas episode.

So what are you waiting for? All you need is a camera to make a short but sweet stop motion of your own.