Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Art of Miyazaki

"We're making a mystery here, so make it mysterious."
-Hayao Miyazaki

Update: Arrietty the Borrower: Next Studio Ghibli Project to be Released in Japan on July 17th 2010

howls moving castle
Hayao Miyazaki
"Howl's Moving Castle"

Hayao Miyazaki's most recent film ,"Howl's Moving Castle", is being released today on DVD in the US. The images in this film are spectacular. It is a visual feast: a panoply of color, movement, motion, spirit and imagination. Miyazaki makes films with children in mind. But his films are never childish.

At a press conference in Paris upon the release of "Spirited Away"*, Miyazaki said,"In fact, I am a pessimist. But when I'm making a film, I don't want to transfer my pessimism onto children. I keep it at bay. I don't believe that adults should impose their vision of the world on children, children are very much capable of forming their own visions. There's no need to force our own visions onto them."

Hayao Miyazaki
Study for "Totoro"

"The single difference between films for children and films for adults is that in films for children, there is always the option to start again, to create a new beginning. In films for adults, there are no ways to change things."
-Hayao Miyazaki

*(late December 2001, from a ceremony at "Spirited Away's" first European screening during the animation festival Nouvelles images du Japon where the French government bestowed on Miyazaki the title of 'Officier des Arts et des Lettres')

Hayao Miyazaki
Study for Spirited Away

On the occasion of Miyazaki's film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York last year, AO Scott wrote that after viewing Miyazaki's films "you may find your perception of your own world refreshed, as it might be by a similarly intensive immersion in the oeuvre of Ansel Adams, J. M. W. Turner or Monet. After a while, certain vistas - a rolling meadow dappled with flowers and shadowed by high cumulus clouds, a range of rocky foothills rising toward snow-capped peaks, the fading light at the edge of a forest - deserve to be called Miyazakian."

Hayao Miyazaki
Study for Princess Mononoke

AO Scott continues, "As a visual artist, Mr. Miyazaki is both an extravagant fantasist and an exacting naturalist; as a storyteller, he is an inventor of fables that seem at once utterly new and almost unspeakably ancient. Their strangeness comes equally from the freshness and novelty he brings to the crowded marketplace of juvenile fantasy and from an unnerving, uncanny sense of familiarity, as if he were resurrecting legends buried deep in the collective unconscious."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ang Lee

Still From Ang Lee's
Still From Ang Lee's "The Hulk"
Photo by Gregg Chadwick

At the Academy Awards tonight, Ang Lee was named Best Director for his film "Brokeback Mountain". Mr Lee is a true talent - willing to take risks and at times fail. "The Hulk" (picture above) was arguably not a very good film. But his fims are always worth watching and the range of subject matter in his films is remarkable.

Ang Lee on the set of Brokeback Mountain

Friday, March 03, 2006

WWI In Film and Paint

On December 24th, 1914 the entrenched forces arrayed against each other near Ypres put down their arms on Christmas Eve. With an exchange of songs and camaraderie, French, German, and Scottish soldiers searched for a way to overcome - for one brief night - the conflict that raged between them.

As morning dawned the physical and cultural No Man's Land that divided them reappeared ...

The Academy Award nominated film Joyeux Noel, which opens today in New York and Los Angeles, explores these events and the human cost of war. The film is up for Best Foreign Language Film at Sunday's Oscars.

Oscar Page on Joyeux Noel

Joyeux Noel Trailer

During World War I, many artists painted significant works:

Pierre Bonnard
"Un Village en Ruines Près du Ham"
63 x 85 cm oil on canvas 1917
Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, Paris

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was in a group of painters assigned in 1916 to go and paint the war. All that remains from his attempt to visually describe the conflict is a single unfinished painting of troops and charred ruins. In the distance, a Red Cross van portends future casualities. The painting is only roughed out- yet this incomplete, almost haphazard state poignantly renders a moment when the tools of art seem to be rendered mute by violence .

Eric Kennington
Great Britain
"Gassed and Wounded"
71.1 x 91.4 cm. oil on canvas 1918
Imperial War Museum, London

Max Beckmann
Das Leichenschauhaus (The Morgue)
25.7 x 35.7 cm. drypoint 1915

For a few months during WWI, Beckmann served as a nurse. In September 1914, he confided to his wife: "The doctors showed me the most horrific wounds with incredible kindness and skill. Everywhere, despite the open windows and the brightly lit room, there was an acrid stench of rotting flesh. I held out for about an hour and a half and then I had to get out into the fields."

More Images at:
Art of the First World War

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Carol Es in the Getty

Carol Es

Carol Es, who shows with the George Billis Gallery and who writes Esart, now has work included in the Getty Collection. The Getty recently purchased a volume of Carol's "1-SELF", a thirty-six page handmade catalog in an edition of fifty. Carol has explained that "the title suggests both intimate self-expression and the artist’s pattern making background in the Los Angeles garment industry, as patterns were often marked "1-self" for manufacturing."

Caro Es has been busy with interviews and with preparations for her upcoming show at Gallery 825 in April. Go to Esart and read all about it.

Congrats Carol.

We Shall Overcome, The Seeger Sessions

April 25th marks the release of Bruce Springsteen's, "We Shall Overcome, The Seeger Sessions," which features Springsteen's personal interpretations of thirteen songs associated with folk musician Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger

According to Jon Landau, the album "has a lightness and ease to it, a sheer joyfulness, that makes it very special from top to bottom. Bruce has taken a core group of classic American songs and transformed them into a high energy, modern and very personal statement."

Of the new album Springsteen said, "So much of my writing, particularly when I write acoustically, comes straight out of the folk tradition. Making this album was creatively liberating because I have a love of all those different roots sounds... they can conjure up a world with just a few notes and a few words."

Springsteen recorded the album with a large ensemble. The musicians on the record are Springsteen (guitar, harmonica, B3 organ and percussion), Sam Bardfeld (violin), Art Baron (tuba) Frank Bruno (guitar), Jeremy Chatzy (upright bass), Mark Clifford (banjo), Larry Eagle (drums and percussion), Charles Giordano (B3 organ, piano and accordion), Ed Manion (saxophone), Mark Pender (trumpet), Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg (trombone) and Soozie Tyrell (violin). Lisa Lowell, Patti Scialfa, Springsteen, Pender, Tyrell, and Rosenberg contribute backing vocals.

Springsteen is planning a short tour in the U.S. and Europe to accompany the release of the album. He will be appearing with most of the musicians who appeared on the CD.

'We Shall Overcome The Seeger Sessions' Track Listing

1. Old Dan Tucker
2. Jessie James
3. Mrs. McGrath
4. Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep
5. John Henry
6. Erie Canal
7. Jacob's Ladder
8. My Oklahoma Home
9. Eyes On The Prize
10. Shenandoah
11. Pay Me My Money Down
12. We Shall Overcome
13. Froggie Went A-Courtin'

Bonus Tracks:

Buffalo Gals
How Can I Keep From Singing

More on Bruce Springsteen
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