Monday, 19 December 2016

Edward Scissorhands​ (1990)

Fig 1: Poster/DVD cover
Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands​ (1990) is a romance, fantasy (said to be horror and comedy as well) film, which starts by an elderly woman telling her granddaughter a bedtime story about where does the snow comes from. She tells the story of a young man called Edward created by an inventor, who have died before completely finishing him, which left him with scissor hands. After many years of Edwards creation a beauty products saleswoman Peg Boggs finds him all alone in his Gothic mansion and decides to take him in and heal his scares. Not long after 'adopting' the young boy she discovers that despite the terrifying and threatening look, Edward is a very kind, selfless and shy man. The family one by one starts to accept and love him, while Edward falls in love with the teenage daughter Kim. All of the neighbours seem to accept him, and are taking advantage of his hedge-trimming and hair-cutting skills expect two people, a religious woman and Kim's boyfriend, Jim. Edward gets into huge trouble, when Jim uses Edward to pick the lock and they break into a house for money. When the alarms go off, the group of teens (including Kim and Jim) leave Edward behind, who is arrested by the police. After his return the neighbours keep a distance from him and not really accepting him anymore. When the family are setting up Christmas decoration he carves an angel from ice, which creates snow while he cuts the material, in which Kim finds joy and starts to dance under the falling snow. By accident Edward cuts her hand, following in arguments with Jim, the couple breaks up and Jim gets drunk in the van. Jim decides to drive the car while drunk and almost hits Kevin, Kim's young brother, who Edward saves, but accidentally cuts the boy's face and that is when Edward is chased back to the castle. Kim and Jim follows him where a fight between the two men causes Jim's death and with a kiss Kim and Edward say goodbye before the people find him. The story ends with the elderly woman revealing that she is Kim and Edward is up on the mountain continuing to sculpt ice.
Fig 2: Young Edward and his 'father' the inventor
"The theme of this story was to basically confront the viewer with an ironical aspect of being fitted into society." (Adams, 2012) The message of this film is about outcasts and how society reacts to someone who is different and major misunderstanding of kindness. It is said that Burton is reflecting upon himself with Edward's character, as his style and being very different from others shines through. In the film people only accept him because they an take advantage of him, however after the smallest mistakes, community attacks him without finding much of a reason. Edward's kind nature also goes missed by the people and they find a way to destroy anything that has good in it. Furthermore, the film works with the idea of 'beauty and the beast' as we see love interest between the young and beautiful Kim and the 'monstrous' outsider Edward. While it is clear that Edward is nowhere near a monster and is very lovable, but his appearance suggest otherwise.
Fig 3: Family dinner
Fig 4: Edward and Kim hugging
"Not that any subtlety applies to the wonderful look of the film, with its Addams Family-style mansion plonked on the edge of a pastel-hued American suburb..." (Lee, 2014) Most of the story takes place in a typical American tow, with lots of colours; all husbands go to office work at the same time, with almost identical cars and the wives are baking pies, chatting over the phone and doing general housework in terrifyingly similar houses. As the objects and surrounding of the people is the same they try to express 'individuality' by having different colours of the exact same items. It is very ironic how they keep trying to blend in, but be different, while coming across someone who really is different, it is not acceptable. However looking upon the hill, there is a European style, Gothic and dark castle/mansion, that does not fit into the 'perfect' image and is avoided by everyone who lives under the hill. The overall design says that the story takes place in the 1950s, where the colours that are often seen are pastel, but the house is overall very colourful, with sometimes not matching colours paired. The castle where Edward lives is very dark and gloomy, with lots of originality and interesting or unusual shapes of decorations and objects.
Fig 5: Film set
Fig 6: American style
Fig 7: European Gothic style
"Johnny Depp is sensational in the lead role, summoning anxiety, melancholy and innocence with heartbreaking conviction. And it's all in the eyes: his dialogue is cut-to-the-bone minimal." (Lee, 2014) This said, Edward does not speak a lot and he is almost silent throughout the whole film, but when he does speaks there is only general kindness in his words. We see the main character in all black leather with sharp scissor hands, but when he moves the its a bit goofy and gentle. The audience quickly grows to love Edward and empathise with him.
Fig 8: Edward Scissorhands costume


Illustration List:

La Belle et la Bête (1946)

Fig 1: Poster
Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête (1946) is a romance, fantasy and drama film which was based on a 1756 fairy tale from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The film tells the story of  a beautiful young woman Belle and a cursed Prince who turned into the beast. Belle's father is a failed merchant with a son and three daughters (including Belle). Belle is treated by her two sisters who are selfish and is courted by  Avenant who is a handsome young man with a superficial personality. Belle's loving father loses his way in the forest and when cutting down a rose for Belle, he is threatened to be killed by the Beast. Belle sacrifices herself to save her father and is to live with the Beast in his castle. As time passes she grows fond of the kindhearted Beast and when her father falls ill, she is let go by the Beast to visit him but she had to promise to return. Upon discovering the potential wealth of the Beast the greedy of her sisters and Avenant plan on getting their hands on the gold. Belle returns to the dying Beast in rush, meanwhile Avenant and Belle's brother go to the castle, where Avenant is killed when he enters the forbidden treasure cabin. Avenant turns into the Beast, while the Beast takes Avenant's human form and turns into Prince Charming. Belle is disappointed by the new look of the beast, but says she will eventually get used to his new appearance and later get married.
The overall meaning of the film is to see beauty inside and not only look at what's outside. As it is claimed by Belle she has found Avenant handsome, but did not accept his proposal for marriage, while the Beast was ugly, but she grew to love him, because he was kind and towards the end of the film, she was ready to accept the Beast's proposal for marriage. "One interesting aspect of the original; the Beast is not merely ugly but simple minded, proving kindness in a husband is more important than being either handsome OR clever." (Boyes, 2007)
Fig 2: Belle looking fondly at the Beast
Fig 3: The Beast
"The magic is sexual throughout—a fantastic, but not in the least morbid or phantasmal, sex magic." (O'Brien, 2011) While the fairy tale like story and the amazing visuals might distract the viewer there are many hidden suggestions and meanings throughout the film. It seems that the Beast is constantly struggling and is caught between his 'beastly' nature and his emotional connection to Belle. His frustration can be seem whenever Belle coldly sends him away. The most noticeable struggle he had  is at the beginning of the film when he carries the unconscious and helpless beauty to he bed and feels tempted only to stop himself in track when Belle awakes and he rushes out of the room constantly telling her not to look into his eyes.
Fig 4: The Beast watches the unconscious Belle
The artist who collaborated in designing the set, making it theatrical and the dresses was Christian Bérard, whose illustrations got the director's attention and has influenced the overall appearance of the film. In Bérard's fashion illustrations chalk outlines often appeared, which was adapted throughout the movie, as the film is black-and-white with quite high contrast. this effect creates a a similar appearance as the chalk on dark background. The director claims that it is saddening that the film was shot in black-and-white, as for example some of the dresses and colours would have looked breath-taking on screen. "In evoking the magical qualities of the castle, Cocteau has made surprisingly little use of the film's trick shot potentialities which form so crucial a part of so many of his other works. Here the living faces of the statuary and the disembodied human arms that act as Beast's servants are essentially theatrical devices." (Armes, s.d) The castle is one of the main environments where the story takes place, and it is filled with magic. Despite different objects and statues, the director applies other magical aspects, such as at the beginning, when Belle walks through the corridors it appears as she is rather floating than walking, or the magic mirror and gloves that appear numerous ties during the film. The statues all around the castle are moving, just as a real person would and the candle holders are simply hand. The lighting plays an important part in setting the atmosphere and mood. when the shots are inside the castle, the room is often only lighten by a small source of light and is usually dark. Everything on the set including the environment, lighting, shadows and costumes is very theatrical instead of a usual film, which gives the whole movie a different image and makes it appear magically different.
Fig 5: Christian Bérard's illustration for the film
Fig 6: Corridor with hand candle holders
The characters are not necessary very likeable as their personalities are hardly communicated and only sometimes are shown. Majority of the characters play negative roles and there is not much change during the story. The two main characters Belle and the Beast are the only characters that seem to have any positive connection with the audience (despite Belle's father seems to be an emphatic character too) and their characters develop through the story. Beast changes the most, not only physically but emotionally. He changes from a murderous monster to a kind and loving man, which makes the audience quite disappointed to see him changing into the prince (as well as it did Belle.) "My goal was to make the Beast so human, so likeable, so superior to man that his transformation into Prince Charming would be for Belle, a terrible disappointment, and would oblige her to accept a marriage of reason." (Cocteau, s.d)
Fig 7: Belle's disappointment at the transformed Beast


Illustration List:

Friday, 16 December 2016

What If? Metropolis - Reflective Statement

Overall I have very mixed feelings about this project. I really like the idea of trying to create something as if you were collaborating with another artist, however it proved to be a huge challenge at the same time. My first and second ideas about the city were rejected, which is understandable as they did not fit the tasks description very well, but it kind of made me waste time and scare me away from the project at the beginning. As the first ideas were unsuccessful, I felt a bit lost at what direction to continue at and I made a mistake by not asking for help right away, but instead trying to figure it out by myself. I will make sure to ask tutors' help right from the start for the next project.

I am overall happy with the final city model and how it turned out, but I had a very bad time with Maya, as I was trying to model, but my computer slowed down the whole process to the point where I had to wait several minutes just to open a file; so the whole experience with the software was extremely frustrating and exhausting. Furthermore, I feel like I have given myself another big challenge, as without a lot of knowledge in the software, I chose to model a fairly complex city comparing to my experience with Maya. But, it is undeniable that I have learned to use more tools and understand just how complex it is, but is able to create amazing things.

All in one, I found this project very difficult and had some rough time with it, but I am looking forward for the next project!

What If? Metropolis - Crit Presentation

What If? Metropolis by Greta Mongyik on Scribd

What If? Metropolis - Pipelines

Untextured Model
Finished Model

Thursday, 15 December 2016

What If? Metropolis - Travelogue (Updated)


Phenia is a unique and unsettling place, which is inhabited by the most strangest people. While walking on the streets it is as if the buildings are watching every move you make; leaning over your head, towering above you. It can feel intimidating and make you feel as if you are closed in and can't escape. Looking up at the sky it's not the usual big, blue open space you are met with, but a deep purple with strange yellow lines that create ragged lines that rush off into the distance.  It's appears as lighting that froze in time, not moving anymore. It has been like this ever since the first person stepped into the city.

No one knows who built Phenia, but old tales say it was created for people who lost their way to finally find a place where to belong. To think the purpose of these buildings was to find shelter and protection is absurd as the deformed lines and strong colours rather create an uneasy atmosphere. But it was not always like that, the original buildings were standing tall and proud, almost elegant. The curved lines of windows and huge columns still show that once they were truly admirable. People were grateful for what they got and lived in peace. But as time has passed everything has changed, not everyone though this city was their home and wanted to see the rest of the world, which they were not allowed to do as said by the rules. Some people started realising that they are not just one of the many and that the solid giant structured buildings cannot define them as individuals. The inhabitants had divided into two groups, one who preach, and one that do not listen or want to be part of it. Perhaps the built-up tension between the people has changed the city.

The once calm and nice colours that has ruled over the streets has started to become not matching anymore and even unpleasant to stare at. Now we see that the purple walls are slightly cracked as they have aged, but were not repaired by anyone. The yellow lines outline and surround the buildings, like a cage and make their appearance more defined. The shapes of the structures has deformed and looks like they are not so solid, but rather able to bend in any direction they are forced into. This unreliable, wave-like shapes could make you feel dizzy and just pull you in deeper into the jungle of religious buildings.

The main building that rises above all of the other buildings, as if watching over the city is a magnificent church. This building unlike all the others is more structured and the bends in it are more angular. This makes the appearance of it having more power than anything else, like it is very difficult to break. It can make you feel threatened, as it leans towards you with all its might, the towers sharp tips pointing right at you; as if inspecting you.

Phenia might appear as a very unfriendly and scary place to find yourself in, however it contains just as much fascination as fright. As crossing through streets, you might find yourself interested in how has it all changed; what force was strong enough to deform these buildings and what could the future hold for the inhabitants, buildings and atmosphere in the city.

What If? Metropolis - Matte Painting