2015 is going to be an amazing year for ANIMATION.

I’m looking forward to 2015, purely because of the animated films coming out. The line up is looking amazing with next year being the first time PIXAR releases two films in the same year. Check out some of the cool films coming soon:

Inside Out

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)

Minions (extension of Despicable Me Series)

Anyone else ridiculously excited?

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CHANEL No. 5 Film #theonethatiwant

I went to see The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch at the Empire cinema yesterday. As a media gal, I arrived early to watch the pre-roll adverts that are put on by Pearl & Dean (cinema advertiser).

My favourite was, but of course, the Chanel No. 5 Ad with the beautiful Gisele Bündchen. I love the marketing strategy of positioning Chanel No. 5 ads as ‘films’ and thus, correctly placing them on the big screen before a movie. The films, as with the brand, are always decedent, glamorous, and classy and they offer a beginning, middle, and end to the story. All I have to say is… these 3 minutes are filled with the perfect combination of sultry, yet elegant shots to create the perfect cinematography for the brand image of Chanel.

Some quotes by Mademoiselle Chanel: 

  • “Fashion passes, style remains.” 
  • “‘Where should one use perfume?’ a young woman asked. ‘Wherever one wants to be kissed,’ I said.”
  • “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Designing LIFE according to architects Ted Mosby and Frank Gehry.

Designing LIFE according to architects Ted Mosby and Frank Gehry.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER QUOTES

“There are a lot of little reasons why the big things in our lives happen.”
– Ted, Season 4, Episode 22

“Look, you can’t design your life like a building. It doesn’t work that way. You just have to live it… and it’ll design itself.”
– Lily, Season 4, Episode 24

THE BUILDING AND ARCHITECT

The image shows one of my favourite architectural structures of the modern era. It’s Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. (Built 1997)

“The recent work of Frank Gehry epitomises both the folding and complexity theories without explicitly being based on either. Gehry is aware of the writings on both and respects them, but he is led more by his intuitive concerns. Nevertheless, his new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao characterises the supple, pliant, moving qualities of the one and the notions of self-organising systems and the fractal order of the other.”

Charles Jenks, “Post-Modernism and the Revenge of the Book,” in This is Not Architecture, eds. Kester Rattenbury (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 191.

Gehry on design teams for architecture: “I collaborate with people on projects because it enriches the mix and gets you somewhere else that you wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. When it’s really working, it is like holding hands and jumping off a cliff together.”

Barbara Isenberg and Frank Gehry, Conversations with Frank Gehry (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), 155.

If you’re interested in Frank Gehry, I would recommend the documentary: Sketches of Frank Gehry (Sydney Pollack, 2006). It’s less than 90 minutes long and provides personal interviews with the architect about his career, creative process, and opinion on life.

An extract from the introduction of my Film Studies Dissertation (King’s College London)…

This dissertation is situates within the growing research around the stylistic use of digital technology and new media in contemporary cinema. My main area of investigation will be the virtual camera in narrative computer-animated films, with a precise interest in musical cinematography. The term ‘musical’ refers to the narrative premise of analysing song or dance sequences, while the term ‘cinematography’ refers to the stylistic and aesthetic form of the camerawork. The musical context provides a point of consistency across the films and sequences chosen for formal analysis, thereby providing a lineage between different production methods and styles. Prince argues that that digital technology builds “on stylistic traditions established by filmmakers in earlier generations … while providing new and more powerful tools to accomplish these ends.”[1] Likewise this dissertation will explore the stylistic developments in computer-animated films in relation to past cinematic traditions.

This investigation is structured around the aim of outlining and testing the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ as a cinematic style, through comparisons with established stylistic traditions. Chapter One will explore the visual effects of cel-animation and computer-animation in relation to the Walt Disney Animation Studio. Chapter Two will study the moving camera of the American film musical. And finally, Chapter Three will scrutinize the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ which we will initially define as, the selection of fantastical, playful, and impossible camera movements in computer-animated films. The concept of digital cine-mobility is framed around a lively camera that presents spatially dynamic, effortlessly integrated, and kinetically expressive movements. The aim of this investigation is to progressively examine, and attempt to define, the descriptive terms above.

[1]  Stephen Prince, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality (New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 4-5.

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

Can we please take a moment to honour the framing, colour, lighting, and design of shots in Miyazaki animation? His animated films are visually beautiful and a nice stylistic difference from the traditional western aesthetics.

Note to Self: the cinema of Asia is artistically exceptional and I should watch international films more often.

Suburban Life in America as Depicted in Cinema is quite Dystopian.

Some Films to Watch: 

All that Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)

American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999)

Back To The Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

The ‘Burbs (Joe Dante, 1989)

Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)

The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)

Happiness (Todd Solndz, 1998)

It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

The Oranges (Julian Farino, 2011)

Pleasantville (Gary Ross, 1998)

The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes, 1975)

The Stepford Wives (Frank Oz, 2004)

The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998)

Some Academic Writing to Explain: 

“Hollywood’s anachronistic vision in this regard stands as testament to the profound cultural influence of the suburban landscape in the postwar years: for the development and subsequent massive expansion – particularly in the years and decades following the end of World War II – of ‘suburbia’ entailed the construction of not only a new kind of physical landscape, but new psychic and emotional landscapes as well.”

– Robert Beuka, “’Cue the Sun’: Soundings from Millennial Suburbia,” Iowa Journal of Culture Studies 3 (Fall 2003). Accessed Online. 

“Americans are obsessed with houses – their own and everyone else’s. We judge our selves and our neighbours by where and how we live.” 

– Dell Upton, Architecture in the United States (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 14. 

“The city started out as the culprit. But by the postwar era, the suburbs had elbowed their way into that maligned position – the site of social dysfunction and pathology. Hell, it seemed, moved from the city to the suburbs – like everyone else.” 

– Becky Nicolaides, ‘ How Hell Moved from the City to the Suburbs’ in The New Suburban History, eds. Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 80. 

 

How do you feel about your white picket fence now? 

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)