Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Catalonian Fantasy

Here's one worth more than a thousand words.  Found here.

Barcelonan children in 1936 play at things happening around them.  The seen is really one of cheerful innocence - they don't appreciate what it is they are imitating, and their surrounding communities haven't yet imposed that experience on them or their families.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Misunderstood Genius

Tom Huddleston describes the work of prolific animator Hayao Miyazaki:
Some filmmakers build their great artworks with blood, sweat and toil. Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki seems to sprout his from seeds, planting them in good earth and patiently watering them until they burst into bloom.
Perhaps true genius comes from making things look easy.  From his essential book Starting Point here's Miyazaki himself describing the price of mastery:

You want me to talk about my family?  That's a problem for me.  I'm hardly ever at home.  Last night I got home at 1:30 AM, the night before it was 1 AM.  It's not as if I go out on the town.  I'm a father who works too hard and returns home late at night six days a week.  Usually I repeat, "I've got to go now", several times as I eat breakfast; when I have the rare day off all I do is sleep.
It wasn't so bad when I was employed at a company.  But twenty years ago, when I began to produce my own films, this schedule turned into a lifestyle.  Animation work isn't something that is over when a certain amount is done.  One has to pursue it until one is satisfied.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


In chronicling the depravities of the Emperor Caligula, the 1st century Roman historian Suetonius makes a revealing statement. From Robert Graves' very readable translation:
Besides incest with his sisters, and a notorious passion for the prostitute Pyrallis, he made advances to almost every well-known married woman in Rome; after inviting a selection of them to dinner with their husbands he would slowly and carefully examine each in turn while they passed his couch, as a purchaser might assess the value of a slave, and even stretch out his hand and lift up the chin of any woman who kept her eyes modestly cast down.
Whether it happened or not, here's a culture with its contradictions on display when the biographer interrupts a tale off incest and mass murder to primly note that the Emperor also treated wealthy matrons as if they were slaves.