Sunday, 26 January 2014

(40) Short Film Sunday #25: Steamboat Willie (1928)

Steamboat Willie (1928).

Welcome back to Short Film Sunday, my dear reader. I have been gone for a while, and I have a brilliant excuse: I was enjoying myself up in the Scottish mountains and then down in the Welsh mountains, where my main concern was, where to put my next step. However, this week Short Film Sunday is back on with Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie (1928) and the reason for that is fairly simple, Disney's short animation Get a Horse (2013), that has been screened before Frozen (2013), has been nominated for Academy Award as the best animated short and it also features a very famous mouse, Mickey Mouse, 85 years after his debut. So, let's roll the film a bit back...
I am a bit of snob, when it comes to the Oscars (if you want to know why Oscar looks like Oscar, read David Thomson's "The Big Screen", a lovely little story). I am not a fan of the Academy Awards and I often disagree with nominations and wins, etc. Despite that, Mickey Mouse has always had a room on my shelf as a comic book/journal. I am quite sure, that I could still find the first Mickey Mouse comic book/journal that my parents got for me in my childhood, in the 1990's.
Steamboat Willie is often regarded as Micky Mouse and his girlfriend's Minnie's debut, although it was the third animation where Mickey appeared, but it was the first to be distributed. It is famous for being the first cartoon with synchronized sound, plus it introduced to the world one of the most famous cartoon characters - Mickey Mouse.
Enjoy the first distributed cartoon in which Mickey Mouse appeared and if you have a chance go to the movies and enjoy the latest cartoon in which Mickey Mouse stars.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

(39) Short Film Sunday #24: Balance (1989)

Balance (1989).

Without balance nothing can really exist or co-exist, even chaos couldn't exist without a certain balance. I remember reading a story from 60's, can't remember the title, however the story went, that there was a family they all lived in their separate places, mother, father and a child, the only way they communicated was through their TV screens, something like Skype or video chat nowadays. They had never met in real life. However, one day they decide that they could all meet, what happens is a big explosion of emotions, because they are not familiar with human touch or other ways of communicating, all they know is the TV screen. Their meeting ends with a savage rage. The balance was destroyed.
Well, that story was written in 60's, sadly enough, it often seems to me that it is a route that humanity has taken, less real communication, more virtual communications. Balance is needed. Overcrowded Earth, every human being needs their own space, real or virtual, since there is no room on Earth, it is balanced out in the virtual world.
The short film Balance (1989) is about 5 individuals, who need to keep the platform in balance, so they wouldn't fall off of it and face death. Each individual is aware of the fact that they need to keep the platform in balance, that they need to cooperate in order to survive. What happens when one day one of the individuals pulls up a music box on the platform? Will harmony sustain? Will greed or cooperation win?
See for yourself. Enjoy, my dear reader!
Balance is a short animation made in Germany, directed by twin brothers, Christoph Lauenstein and Wolfgang Lauenstein. It has won several awards, including Academy Award for the Best Short Film in 1990.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

(38) Short Film Sunday #23: The Hearts of Age (1934)

Orson Welles, co-filmmaker of The Hearts of Age (1934).

I finally got my hands on Peter Biskind's edited book "My Lunches with Orson" and I love it. It is a fantastic read, not easy, but certainly entertaining. I was nicely surprised, when I found out that Orson Welles has met William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, while he was in Ireland at the age of 16, Welles certainly was a great magician not only on the stage or behind the camera but also in life. You can look out for my book review some time in January.
While reading the book I was looking into biography and filmography of Welles and I came across a weird and surrealist short film The Hearts of Age (1934), which Welles shot together with his friend William Vance in 1934, Welles was only 19 years old. Hence, technically speaking Citizen Kane (1941) wasn't Welles first film, as it is often regarded.
The Hearts of Age is an 8 minute long short, shot in two hours on a Sunday afternoon, its cast consisted of four people: Welles, Vance, Virginia Nicholson and Paul Edgerton. The short has no real plot or meaning, it was made out of fun, as Welles noted in his interview with Peter Bogdanovich, The Hearts of Age was a parody of Jean Cocteau's film The Blood of a Poet (1932).*
Enjoy this surreal piece of work, no making notes or doing any kind of analysis, just enjoy!
Here is to a New Year and all the bizarre things that expect us!

*Information about the interview taken form OpenCulture homepage, you can view it here.