Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Dice

I am a bit more happy with that version. I am getting the early basics of Maya which is always a good thing.

Concept Art Lobster

 First Shape
 Terrible Middle
Average Finish

Maya Dice

That was an interesting first maya experience. I'm not to happy with the final result, but I can't seem to be able to do more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Film Review: La Belle et La Bete par Jean Cocteau (1946)

Light and shadow, a supposition of Jean Cocteau’s dream world, depth is created and la Bête falls in love with la Belle.  Light is the privileged poetic medium for the expression of the unreal says Estelle Soler in her review on Arte of the film. The original idea of the movie goes back to 1740 and a short children’s story written by Madame Barbot de Villeneuve. Yet Cocteau’s movie has nothing to do with a children’s movie and though every age could enjoy the romantic story, maturity in the mind is required to fully grasp the genius behind it. One must not just look at the story itself but at what makes the story.

« J’ai obligé ALEKAN à supprimer les trames, les gazes, les voiles, le flou que les naïfs s’imaginent être le signe distinctif de la féérie. Je le pousse vers l’inverse de ce qui semble être poétique aux imbéciles. Je cherche à communiquer un climat qui corresponde davantage aux sentiments qu’aux faits. »
Jean Cocteau 

Cocteau forced Alekan, the director of photography, to delete the fabric, the veils, the fuzziness and vagueness that pushes the innocent to believe that these are distinctive signs of the enchanted. He pushes him towards the inverse of what seems poetic to the imbeciles. His main goal, in regards to mood, is to communicate a climate that corresponds to the thoughts rather than to the facts. To generate a climate based on the enchanted would have failed to deliver the majestic theatrical presentation the viewer gets from the movie. By weaving light and sound through the emotions and thoughts of the characters, Cocteau has made his story more credible.

                        Jean Cocteau                                                            Jean Marais

The movie starts out in the very real and material house of Belle’s family. Here we see Josette Day in a role of a beautiful servant, looked down upon by her two pompous sisters. A whole book could be written on the role these two play in the movie. An amazing backdrop to the more mystical role Belle plays, they enable her elevation to a higher spiritual level. Cocteau’s use of these two characters is a masterstroke, as this permits him to really portray Belle as a beautiful, almost otherworldly character, a paragon of modesty and virtue. This is just a cover nonetheless, an effect to trick the viewer into having a predetermined opinion of the characters. Belle is ambiguous.

What is her true personality? We see her as a helpful maid, always worried about her father, who refuses Avenant’s love in a weird game of emotions, who accepts her sister’s torment without a word and who accepts right away to be sent to her death rather than see her father die. A very egoistical attitude, one seen quit often. She says that she could not live with the sorrow if he died, but what of he? Her disappearance almost causes his death, showing the strong and intimate relationship between them. The father is the catalyser of the movie, and his visit of the castle is a great example of how the filmmakers played with the light and shadow effect.

        Theatre permeates the movie, its influence obvious and intended. The set like scenes added to the time spent in each area brings a virtue to the film. The pitch-black background, and strongly lit foreground object gives an infinite depth to the scenes, a technique often used in theatre. Our perception is altered and we fail to notice how crude some details are, so enthralled by the magic of the castle we become. The handheld chandeliers that slowly get lit and expand tracing a path for the actor to follow seems completely normal, a magical realism similar to what Gabriel Garcia Marquez portrays in “A Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Damian Cannon, in his 1997 review says that "once again, Jean Cocteau has brought to life a visual masterpiece. From the intricate and convincing make-up of the Beast and the surreal splendour of the bewitched castle to the unadorned simplicity of Beauty and the brutal gaudiness of her sisters, every frame is a feast for the eyes. Light and darkness seem to caress the screen as the movie runs."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Concept Art: Lobster/Human

Some nonsense

Just some random stuff I did two weeks ago, wasn't to satisfied with old man's face, I went too fast and some features are off.

Another study

This was based on an image found in the Nouvelle Observateur, a French news magazine. It shows two Palestinians in Jerusalem. I changed a few things, like the character in the back, and played around with colour but it still needs a lot more.

Face Study

This was based on a picture taken by Richard Avedon. This was done over the week end.

 Untouched image.
As I thought the original looked a bit crooked, I tried skewing it in Photoshop and this is the result.

Study of Hands

Two studies of my hands. These where done during the week end.

Media: Light Grey Paper, HB Pencil, Black & White Colour Pencils.

Life Drawing 21/09/10

Young female model, with tattoos.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photoshop concept art

Done in the photoshop tutorial with Phil. Weird concept for a lobster man.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A study of the view from the hill next to the university.

The Fly (1986) - Cat-Baboon Teleportation

An interesting deleted scene.

Dual film review of "The Fly" (1958) and "The Fly" (1986) Part 2

The main difference between the two motion pictures, is in my opinion, that both chose a different path. One had a host of social considerations to acknowledge and a limited amount of technology to work with, while the second, seemingly based on the directors love for flesh horror, played rather on the actual metamorphosis of Brundle Seth, ignoring most things related to a plot. 

"The Fly" (1958) respected what the American public of the late 50's wanted to see on screen with a twist. A respect of the family as an institution, the women depicted as working in the kitchen, making food, taking care of the child, etc. The role of men is put forward, with Francois, actor Vincent Price, acting as a base for the story to be built around. An interesting difference between the two movies is the inclusion of a government institution. It shows as a righteous force, who, even with Helene's memorable story, decides to arrest her. Their position seems adamant until the end of the movie, where we see the inspector changing his position after killing the Andrefly. This shows the direction the movie takes after the transformation. The roles evolve. The woman, Helene, takes on a bigger role, altering the social views of the time. She is the one who decides to take off the fabric of Flyandre's head, in spite of his orders. She counters the orders of her husband! As said earlier, the inspector changes as well. Was this a precursor to the changes society would go through in the sixties?


 "The Fly" (1986) chose a completely different path, as expected of a twenty eight year evolution of morals and values in the society. What Empire called "Cronenberg's most triumphant and accessible film to date", illustrates the massive changes wrought into society. Andre could have been soaked in bodily fluids, walk in a weird crooked way and look a bit more like the monstrosity of the remake. It could have been done in 1958, but it hasn't. Society in the 80's wanted to see the fluids, wanted to see what excessive trust in science causes. The AIDS epidemic of the time, and to a larger scale, disease, is represented as traumatic experience, to be feared and abhorred. Yet Seth Brundle accepts the disease saying: " It wants to... turn me into something else. That's not too terrible is it? Most people would give anything to be turned into something else." 

The Fly Monster.jpg

He accepts the disease. He knows he will die or becoming something else and lose control, and to avoid the fear of that thought, he turns the whole thing into a positive experience. Is this a reaction AIDS infected people have? Do you simply go on in life as if nothing was happening? Caryn James, from the New York Times says that "Jeff Goldblum is a graphic fly for the fact-crazed 80's". Does to much knowledge destroy knowledge? Wouldn't ignorance be better rather than know with certainty how you will die? The latest movie that comes to mind when speaking of a slow metamorphosis is "District 9". While "The Fly" remake plays with failed scientific experiments, D9 works on the fear of the foreigner and all the chemicals present in the our life today. What is most relevant in these movies to the situation today is the fear of change inside us, where we can't see it. These word by Seth sum up quit a lot, " I'm saying... I'll hurt you if you stay. " The fear, again, of damaging your surroundings, of hurting your relatives is also relevant for people affected by incurable diseases. 

To conclude, I would like to use this opening paragraph of Caryn James's review which explains quit well the difference between those two fils: 

"David Hedison portrayed a quite decorous fly-man, who for most of the film kept a black veil over the insect's head that topped his human body after a failed experiment. In David Cronenberg's new version, Jeff Goldblum is a graphic fly for the fact-crazed 80's, transformed into a creature so repulsive he makes the monster in ''Aliens'' look like Grandma in a Norman Rockwell painting."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dual film review of "The Fly" (1958) and "The Fly" (1986) Part 1

Part 1

The original movie was directed by Kurt Neumann, based on the short story by George Langelaan. The remake was directed by David Cronenberg , and was not based on the short story. That said, research has shown that the remake deserved more than it received in prizes. This brings up the point of wether or not we should compare these two movies based on their common heritage, or as two different views of an initial idea, the book. 

The original movie, dating back to 1958, shows horror in a more metaphorical way. You do not see the gory, fluid infested transformation of Jeff Goldblum, but rather apprehend it through the character evolution of Helene, wife of Andre. Through her we see our own fear of change. Not many times will you jump up in the air gasping for air in that movie, but is is a subtle fear that slowly creeps into the mind. What is under that cloth? Yet I have heard more laugh then gasps of fear, which doesn't surprise me. My supposition is that we are to biased based on the evolution of movies that occurred in the last fifty years. We have seen so much mindless crap, excuse my language, that seeing a movie that plays around with emotions conveyed through the acting rather than the visual effects does not shock us anymore. Jeff Goldblum's acting was superb, but could he have conveyed as much if wore the same costume as David Edison? The speechless acting, while hiding his shame under a cloth, adds to the magic of this film. Anyone will remember a crooked decomposing carcass of a man fused with a fly, as it touches our most primal fear of fluids and insides, but can anyone remember the shock on a woman's face when she sees her husband's head turned into a fly? Lets not forget the context of the time. The late 50's where all about the arms race, the power and influence of nuclear weapons, this rampaging communism that no one seemed to know how to stop and all of this influenced the psyche of the people living during that time. 

For who are we to judge what a man fused with a fly should look like? We decided, at least in the last 20 odd years that it should look like a piece of decomposed flesh, vomiting bodily fluids to digest its prey. What point of view did people from the 50's have. That I do not know, but a mask of a fly seemed to be a good enough representation. This is the beauty of the film, that so much was achieved with so little. 

Side note: I do not have internet at home, so can only write during the day at university, limiting my writing time slots.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Talk about change.


The protagonist from District 9 undergoes metamorphosis, from human to prawn like alien. 

A nicer close up of a lobster.

A good view of the breeding habitat of a lobster. The quality is excellent. Drawing material when the lobsters interact together. Would a humanised lobster have to fight for his breeding spot in town? How would he interact with other human beings, will he see them as a thread to his progeny? Lobsters give the impression of being programmed.

Robotic Humanised Lobster?

What of a "lobsterised" human? The term is made up but seems to fit rather well the description.

Using the term humanised implies that the subject becomes more human, yet when compared to a "normal" human, the hybrid is inhuman. A humanised inhuman. Or even an inhuman who's been humanised.

Does this apply to a lobster? Can one be inlobster, creating an lobsterised inlobster?


1. Lacking lobster qualities of compassion and mercy; cruel and barbaric.
2. Not lobster in nature or character

Should call oxford about that.

A nice close up of a lobster.

I am really interested by the complex structure of the lobster's head, this video is the best close up I managed to find, though I intend to buy a lobster in any shop to get an even better look.

The texture of its carapace is another point of interest.

Anatomy of a Lobster

What is a Homarus Americanus?

Well its a Lobster. 

A fresh start

New town, new year, new course, new blog. 

First project  brief: Anatomy.

We are to study the anatomy of the human body, and will eventually have to fuse it to an animal. I inherited the Lobster.