Saturday, 12 April 2014

(45) Penny Dreadful (2014-): "Enter freely and of your own free will!"*

Penny Dreadful (2014-).

Quite some long time ago after watching Dark Shadows (2012) and once again being impressed by Eva Green I checked her IMDb page to see whether there might be some film or TV series with her that I haven't seen. At a time there were quite a few films in pre- and post-production, as well as a TV series Penny Dreadful, for which synopsis were more than fascinating. Thus every few months I wrote down reminders, so that I wouldn't forget about it. Now with a shimmering zeal in my eyes I can tell you, my dear reader, that it is only one month left till the premiere of Penny Dreadful.

The term 'penny dreadful' comes from mid-nineteenth century Britain, when demand for literature increased. The penny dreadfuls were a cheaper alternative to mainstream fictional works. It was a type of British fiction that featured serial stories, which came out over a number of weeks, and, accordingly, each part of the story cost but one old penny. They were called 'penny dreadfuls' because of their cheap nature and poor and 'dreadful' quality, nevertheless, they were popular publications and met the desires of the working class. Penny dreadfuls were not the most enlightening literature, however, they increased the literacy level in the industrial Britain. As creator and executive producer of the new TV series John Logan asserted in one of the behind the scenes video on Penny Dreadful blog: "What did Victorian's do?", as one might suspect, they didn't have TV, radio, internet or cinema, so "They read penny dreadfuls or they went to the theater."

Just like penny dreadfuls were serial stories, so is the Showtime eight episode TV series Penny Dreadful, which will contain different literary characters. From synopsis (Showtime homepage):
Some of literature's most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. Penny Dreadful is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.
The TV series is set in 1891 in the time of Victorian society. Logan chose to set the series in this time period
not because it would be cool visually but because the Victorian era reminds me of right now ... They were on the cusp of the modern world … grappling with the very elemental question of what it means to be human. I sit down at my computer and I don't understand any of the new world zooming toward us. We're on the cusp of the same thing now: There's frightening dissonance and excitement for unchartered waters. We will pull these characters from where they're comfortable into unchartered waters, and, to me, that makes good drama. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Penny Dreadful is produced in Dublin, Ireland, created by John Logan, and stars Eva Green (The Dreamers, Cracks, Dark Shadows), Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights, Hot Fuzz) and Josh Hartnett (Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor).

Open up your organizers and mark it down - the new TV series Penny Dreadful will be premiered on Sunday, May 11, 2014.

For US viewers it will be broadcast on Showtime.
For Ireland and UK viewers it will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic.

See the full trailer below:

For more information and behind the scenes videos visit Penny Dreadful production blog.

*Bram Stoker, "Dracula".

Sunday, 6 April 2014

(44) Short Film Sunday #29: A Day in the Lives of Sisyphus and Ivan (2012)

A Day in the Lives of Sisyphus and Ivan (2012).
Good evening, my dear readers, it is nice to write to you again. It has been a while, so Short Film Sunday is back, for today, who knows what will happen next Sunday or during the week. I know that I still owe you all a review of one certain book, it will come as a surprise at some point this year. I hope you are all doing well and have been busy in a good sense. Now back to the short film.
Today's short film will be existential and created in a way that would not be too common in a digital era - a cutout animation - it is one of the earliest forms of animation. In some ways it reminds me of Chinese shadow theater. For a while now I have been reading, flicking through, buying and carrying around Penguin's Great Ideas books, and Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus is next on my list after Immanuel Kant's An Answer to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'.
Therefore it only seemed suitable to introduce myself with the main idea of The Myth of Sisyphus before I start the reading, and what a better way to do it if not by watching an animation? Kati Rehback's created cutout animation A Day in the Lives of Sisyphus and Ivan tells the story of Sisyphus, who has been punished by gods, and Ivan Denisovich, who has been sentenced to spend 3653 days in a Soviet prison camp. The short is based on the writings by Albert Camus and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, both works use existentialism to criticise existing orders and modes of society. The simplistic style of Rehback's cutout animation portrays both stories in a simple, yet in a captivating way, which highlights the monotony of Sisyphus rolling the rock up the mountain or Ivan's days in the Soviet prison camp.
That is some food for thought, enjoy my dear reader and hope to see you some time soon!