Saturday, 18 February 2017

World Cinema: Israel - "Waltz With Bashir" (2008) Film Review

Fig 1

Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir” (2008) is an Israeli animated film featuring the shocking events of the Lebanon War in 1982, including the massacre of hundreds upon thousands of innocent civilians. The director hadn’t worked in animation before, however the unique visual of this animation captures the story very well, as Roger Ebert describes: “Folman is an Israeli documentarian who has not worked in animation. Now he uses it as the best way to reconstruct memories, fantasies, hallucinations, possibilities, past and present.” (Ebert, 2009) 

Fig 2

The film originates from Israel, and the animation traits show this country in the form of: the setting, the voice actors accents, the portrayal of the Lebanese war and the origins of the director. The style itself is similar to that if a comic book, and uses a lot of black tones, subconsciously adding to the grim and dark events. “Waltz With Bashir” is also shown as a documentary/ autobiography animation, with the lead character, Folman himself, trying to piece together his memories and remember what events took place. As Roger Ebert describes: “with Folman visiting old army friends and piecing together what they saw and remember. The freedom of animation allows him to visualize what they tell him -- even their nightmares. The title refers to an Israeli soldier losing it and firing all around himself on a street papered with posters of the just-assassinated Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel[…]” (Ebert, 2009) 

Fig 3
 Folman also has a reoccurring dream which doesn’t seem to make sense, as described by Anthony Quinn: “What keeps replaying in his head is a nocturnal image of himself and his comrades rising out of the sea, in front of them the city of Beirut lit by the sulphurous glow of rocket flares. There's an air of indefinable menace, but the exact meaning of the image isn't clear. It chimes with the hallucinatory experience of the conflict itself […]” (Quinn, 2009) It seems as though it’s his memories trying to recall itself, but also replaying the disorientation he experienced, so the dream is a subconscious blockage in his memories. 

Fig 4

The ending is what hits the audience hard, as it shows real footage of dead bodies piled upon one another, and Roger Ebert asks the question: “how and why thousands of innocent civilians were massacred because those with the power to stop them took no action. Why they did not act is hard to say. Did they not see? Not realize? Not draw fateful conclusions? In any event, at the film's end, the animation gives way to newsreel footage of the dead, whose death is inescapable.” (Ebert, 2009)

Waltz With Bashir” is indeed a unique animation that sets aside the usual traits of animation being for entertainment and to be watched for fun, it does more educating and makes the viewer realise the intensity of the Lebanon war. 


Bradshaw, P. (2008) (Accessed on 18/02/2017)
Ebert, R. (2009) (Accessed on 18/02/2017)

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Friday, 17 February 2017

World Cinema: USA & India - "Sita Sings the Blues" (2008)

Fig 1

Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues” (2008) is a film rich in animation and design, and envelops the culture of India and snippets of the directors own life. 

Nina’s previous films are about 3-4 minutes long, making “Sita Sings the Blues” her first feature film to date. Other works include “Fetch” (2001) which is 2D computer animation, “Goddess of fertility” (2002) that also uses 2d computer animation as well as clay animation. Her style is a consistent show of 2D animation and mixed media, making the animations unique and closer to traditional ways of animating, as well as embracing more modern forms of animation. 

Fig 2

Sita Sings the Blues” is a film that has four styles in one, and depicts story of Rama and Sita, as well as Nina’s personal life. One style is of traditional Indian paintings that are 2D and animated, as well as uses of collages, narration by shadow puppets, musical 2D digital animated sections and a “squiggle-vison” style of the director’s part. The variety of animation makes for a unique piece of storytelling, albeit a complex story, but it is successful in the portrayal of Rama and Sita’s story. The fusion of American and Indian is clearly shown; the Indian with the styles of animation when showing Sita and Rama’s story, and USA when showing Nina’s portion.  

Fig 3

The film has four major styles and shows two main stories. The film has a light hearted and up beat way of showing its story and is fun to follow along with. The first story is of Prince Rama’s exile, at the command of his father’s favourite queen, Kaikeyi. The wife of Rama, Sita, is determined to stay with him, however the woods they travel through is filled with evil demons. The demon king, Ravana appears, and kidnaps Sita, all the while distracting Rama with a golden hind. Ravana sets a deadline for Sita to be rescued by Rama to show her dedication to him.
Fig 4

Hanuman, the monkey prince and his army arrive to help Rama find Sita, and rescue her. Her loyalty is questioned however, and is submitted to a trial to throw herself into a fire, where she is rescued by the Gods and her devotion is clearly showed. Sita soon falls pregnant but Rama isn’t sure it’s his, so he tells his brother who reluctantly leaves her in the forest, but in the later years he hears hymns of her and her child about himself (Rama). When reunited, Rama is still unsure and so Sita prays for the Earth to swallow her, as final proof of her devotion. 

The segments that show a “squiggle-vision” style are taken from the directors personal life; her partner has a 6 month contract to work in India, but after a month of no contact between each other, he calls her to say he’s got an opportunity to work there for a year, and so Nina comes to India and leaves behind her cat. When she arrives, he shows no interest in her, and when she has an opportunity for work in New York, she flies out, only to get an email from her husband saying not to come back. Her heart breaks, but finds comfort with her new cat and reading Ramayana. 

Fig 5

Roger Ebert states: “There are uncanny parallels between her life and Sita's. Both were betrayed by the men they loved. Both were separated by long journeys. Both died (Sita really, Nina symbolically) and were reborn--Sita in the form of a lotus flower, Nina in the form of an outraged woman who moves to Brooklyn, sits down at her home computer for five years and creates this film.” (Ebert, 2009). Agreeing with this, the intertwining of the two stories shows just how personal this film is to Nina, and it sweeps the viewer away into her world. 


Ebert, R. (2009) (Accessed on 17/02/2017)

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Adaptation B: Initial Infleunce Map and idea

For Adaptation B, the idea is to create a female Arabic/Islamic character for a video game that fights many stereotypes and is as equal as a male protagonist. She will be strong, not sexualised, have scars and traits like as such to make her unique and "real" (to us as humans), and will overall be someone people can look up to.

I've been looking at Arabic stories of queens and Arabic songs, and I've come to like the story of "Dahlia, Queen of the Berbers". This influence map shows intricate outfits and Arab warriors, and although I do like intricate outfits, I need to simplify them in order to make a successful end model. I would keep the traits of these outfit designs, and i'm keeping in mind the style of the Assassin's Creed franchise in terms of design and outfits, but not as complex.

Monday, 6 February 2017

ADAPTATION A: Titles and rough storyboard

 Alot of comedy and dramatic scenes going on here, which is a trait in popular anime. Number 1 associates with step 2 and binge watching the anime. The red skecth on top is the change that will happen in the scene - for example, day will turn to night. The next is the character talking in Japanese and more characters listening in interest. Number 3 shows the character dramatically saying quotes, and number 4 is when the show is over and the character is distraught.

The next scene, fill the void, will be of merchandise filling up the screen, number 6 is the character drawing a lot of treasured fanart, and numbers 7 and 8 show the character dressing up in cosplay and flaunting the outfit. 

Numbers 9 and 10 will show the character showing off the merchandise by wearing as much as possible. It looks similar to the cosplay stage and I don't want to confuse the audience, so I may change this. Numbers 11 and 12 show the character now reccomending the anime to another friend...

...and the cycle repeating as they're now both obssessed.

I'll go over the sketches and clean them up and keep with the kawaii theme.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

ADAPTATION A: Titles and pages #3

Created more title pages today. Each title has layers on Photoshop where the individual elements can be edited in Flash to be animated.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

ADAPTATION A: Titles and pages #2

This step needs some work - the character will blink and his hair move in the wind, and the word "it's" will morph into the "+" sign.  I may change the character into a more cute one, however.

(*yugioh may be changed to a different anime)

I spent the day creating more elements for the infographic, as well as saving things as a png so they can be moves around later on. I'm liking the style so far!