Chanel No. 5 Films and the question of Stardom.

These are a couple of the Chanel No. 5 Films which have come out in recent years. This merging of entertainment and advertising is called ‘Branded Content’ – which as the name suggests is working towards marketing a certain Brand Name. In this case, it’s the classic Chanel Number 5 perfume, which has had female endorsements from Marilyn Monroe to Catherine Deneuve. It’s interesting to note – through the main choice of female actress – the way stardom works.

1. Both films reference each actresses’ most known and popular film – Amelie for Audrey Tautou and Moulin Rouge for Nicole Kidman

2. Both films were directed by the same director as the films listed above – Baz Lurhmann for Kidman’s Chanel No. 5 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Amelie.

3. Look at the way nationality is rendered in each film – the subtle differences between European Femininity and White American Femininity (despite Kidman’s Australian roots).

4. Both films have a marked different visual aesthetic despite the fact that they are selling the same product. Look at the pinkish tones paired with Kidman’s blonde hair as opposed to the yellow tones paired with Tautou.

Each star has a different persona that is built over a career of appearing in films, advertisements, magazines, talk shows, and inter-textual materials. A star’s on-screen and off-screen persona as well as their public and private life begin to merge. If you’re interested in stardom as a formal discourse, I would suggest Richard Dyer’s book Stars (London: BFI Publishing, 1979) – in which Dyer sets out to distinguish between stars as a social phenomenon, stars as images, and stars as signs. Furthermore, he analyses the tensions between ‘character’, star, and performance.

I leave you with a question from Dyer to ponder over stardom and performance…

Are stars a phenomenon of production (arising from what the makers of films provide) or of consumption (arising from what the audience for films demands)? (Stars, Pg. 9)

Theatre and film can reveal truth via artistic magic.

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth. And if that’s sinful, then let me be damned for it!”

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, A Streetcar Named Desire

La Critique d’un Film : La Reine de La Neige (Disney, 2013)

La Critique d'un Film : La Reine de La Neige (Disney, 2013)

L’intrigue : J’ai bien aimé l’histoire de La Reine de La Neige parce que je l’ai trouvée très progressive au niveau du féminisme avec les deux princesse et l’absence de prince et mariage typique. Plus important encore, les personnages féminins sont bien développés et complexes. L’intrigue est autour de deux sœurs et leur aventure après que leurs parents sont morts. Une des deux sœurs a des pouvoirs magiques de glace qu’elle croit être incontrôlables. En général, le film a beaucoup d’action, de musique, et d’aventure dans la tradition Disney.

Le scénario : À mon avis, le scénario est exceptionnel. Il est basé sur un récit européen, mais conçu pour s’adapter au grand public et inclure des chansons. Il y a de bons dialogues et la fin est imprévisible. Et il y a beaucoup des personnages secondaires qui sont formidables comme le bonhomme de neige, le renne, et les rochers mystiques. Alors même s’il y a beaucoup de éléments formatés, il y a aussi beaucoup de scènes originales.

La Mise en Scène : Avec toute la neige, la mise en scène était très belle et extraordinaire – en particulier en relation aux effets spéciaux de princesse Elsa. Et les couleurs dominantes – bleu et blanc – s’inscrivent bien à l’écran. Et l’environnement de la forêt et du château classique crée un monde complet – celui qui est séparé du nôtre. Le plus impressionnant est le château de glace, magnifiquement réalisé. Et chaque image est remplie d’un décor qui vous met dans la magie.

Le Jeu du Personnage: Même si le film est un dessin animé, j’ai pensé que le jeu du personnage animé était convaincant. Techniquement, les mouvements et expressions des acteurs animés étaient vraiment en formes. Le rythme et les expressions du visage étaient très expressifs et bien faits. De plus, il y avait beaucoup des scènes drôles et pétillantes. Spécifiquement, les deux princesses Anna et Elsa qui agissent d’une manière humaine et réelle.

La Bande Son : La bande originale est superbe et pour moi, c’est grâce à la voix d’Idina Menzel qui a joué Elphaba dans la comédie musicale Wicked à Broadway. Son chant est vraiment très puissant et émouvant. Kirsten Bell chante bien aussi, mais pas à un niveau Broadway. Il y a quelques chansons qui seront devenues des classiques instantanément comme « Do You Want To Build A Snow Man ? », « Let It Go » et « Love is An Open Door ». Au total, l’ambiance sonore représente un retour de style classique Disney avec des mélodies jouées par le piano et orchestre.

L’esthétique : J’ai bien aimé l’esthétique de La Reine de La Neige parce que comme tout les autres éléments, c’est une version moderne du style classique Disney. Le film a été fabriqué par l’ordinateur en trois-dimensions contre un film d’animation en cellulo. Le processus numérique a adopté le design traditionnel, comme le prédécesseur Raiponce en 2010. En fait, Disney a fermé la production d’animation en cellulo après l’échec de La Princesse et La Grenouille. C’est-à-dire qu’on voit le début d’une nouvelle tradition d’esthétique dans la boîte de production Disney.

UPA #2 (The Unicorn in the Garden)

UPA #2 (The Unicorn in the Garden)

More than likely, you’ve never heard of the UPA (United Productions of America) … AKA the Animation Studio that opposed the Disney Style from the 1940s to the 1970s. There was an exodus of animators from the Disney Studio in the early 40s that lead to the foundation of UPA. This is a colour storyboard from one of their most famous films, The Unicorn in the Garden (1953).

Some key visual characteristics of UPA:
1. The backgrounds were usually kept plain and minimal.
2. The movements were exaggerated and caricatured.
3. The colour could bled outside the outlines.
4. Every director was allowed to create a different style for their short film.

Click on the picture to watch The Unicorn in the Garden.

Some other ones to watch include:
Mr. Magoo
The Tell-Tale Heart

Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I am officially on the King’s College London Website for a second time. This time I was asked to write about my study abroad experience at the Sorbonne – Paris III and I even got to include some pictures!

Click here to read about my Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website

What’s your definition of Home?

What's your definition of Home?

Let’s face it…. coffee shops are like a third home for me. I use the word ‘ home’ pretty liberally in terms of locations and countries. But after three years, I really do feel like London is my home. And no place more than The Fleet Street Press – a coffee shop near the Strand Campus of King’s College London and the Maughan Library on Chancery Lane. That coffee shop has seen multiple essays develop; it has kept so many secrets; it has fed me brownies and chickpea spinach soup. I even knew this coffee shop when it was called Get Coffee (Let’s go to ‘get coffee’ … clever right?) and the same Italian barista that has worked there for the past 3 years. A bleak Tuesday, three years ago, I saw this small coffee shop offering a ‘Monkey Mocha’. I was intrigued by the name and discovered a chocolate/banana/orange creation in this perfect house of wifi and bathroom access. Since that day, I have never looked back. It will always be one of my FAVOURITE coffee shops in London.

Check out their website:

They also have a twitter with their daily clever coffee-board sayings!

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

P.S. I’m re-reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s all about the difference between the character and personality paradigms. It really is an amazing book and worth a read!

P.S. #2 Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (in case the quote didn’t give it away). That book is ALSO worth a read. Make a nice cup of tea, grab your blanket and enjoy the words on the page (hardcopy or Kindle or audiobook…. JUST READ IT.)

A first attempt to export my animated film (on Piet Mondrian).

This is the first clip from my new animated short film about Abstract Paintings in Motion. It’s an artistic visualisation to original music by Pierre Tiberghien. This one is based on a painting by Mondrian, and there are two more videos to make in the series based on paintings by Kandinsky and Jackson Pollack. At 24 frames per second, this is taking longer than expected, but I always love a distant goal.

Also, I should warn you that the timing is off. I’m having difficulties with Adobe Flash on getting the animation to match the sound. Technology really is a love-hate relationship. More precisely… I love it when it works and hate it when it fails. In this case, it’s both.

Happy First of March.

Happy First of March.

In Bulgaria, the 1st of March is a national holiday under the the title ‘ Baba Marta’ – translated as ‘Grandma March.’ The tradition is that you put on your ‘martenitsa’ on the 1st of March and you wait until you see the first stork to take it off. A ‘martenitsa’ is made of red and white yarn to symbolise good health. It can take the form of a bracelet (the more hipster version) or a man and woman tassel that you pin to your outfit each day. The stork symbolises the coming season of Spring. And when you take it off… you can either tie it to a tree or children put it under a rock and the stork comes to replace your ‘martenitsa’ with money (one could say that this is a Tooth Fairy equivalent as there is no such story in Bulgarian Culture).

So here’s to the ending of Winter, and to a new spring. It may not be a new year, but personally, I feel like new opportunities are calling with the blossoming flowers.


Честитa баба мартa, аз ви пожелавам щастие, здраве и късмет за пролетта.