|A simple cart. Bagdal Sharif, near Hyderabad India|
I felt this looked very interesting.
Is this where Gandalf' parked it?
My first observation, which I believe I've mentioned before in this blog, is that I see that digital visual effects post has become an international business. Many Visual Effects Supervisors and Producers are already accustomed to working abroad, in various locales, often for half a year or more at a stretch. Journeyman level animators and compositors, especially single young men and women with in-demand skills, are often tapped for freelance gigs. I believe more and more talented artists and supervisors will find themselves looking at work opportunities outside their native land, with talent moving in both directions to meet demands for high-end experience, fresh ideas and perspectives, and help facilitate understanding, communication and cross-cultural relationships in this era of outsourcing.
|The design of these columns in the airport at Kaula Lampur caught my eye.|
The Visual Media Fashion Statement
Film media is to some extent a sort of fashion industry, with different directors exploring new ideas in color, lighting, camera, music and yes, visual effects. Working in visual effects, we may see great landmarks in film making like the VES 100. But beyond that, if you look at the AFI 100 or make your own list, there have been films that have shifted the visual paradigm of movies, introducing a new fashion statement if you will. For me, I see films like Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde, Star Wars, and Kill Bill as some of these kinds of films. I'm sure you can come up with a great list of your own.
I have always been interested in non-Western architecture and art, and I guess one of my points today is to encourage my readers to give themselves broad perspectives by looking our business as a fashion industry. To me, this means looking at past trends, current trends, and international trends. For me has meant looking at design developments of the last century, Japanese and Moorish style, and giving a small amount of attention to popular culture. Long ago I noticed that many cultures around the world have very different tastes in color and color combination. Lately, I'm seeing in India not only a much more colorful palette than in America, but also some differences in camera and editorial work. Not necessarily better or worse, but different, an expression of the local culture.
|Jang Dong Gun stars in Warrior's Way, a stylistic art film fantasy cultural mixture set in the timeless old west.|
Recently I saw a film that I felt very much was a fashion statement, The Warrior's Way. (As a disclaimer, GEON Studios did about 120 shots for this film. I was not on staff when most of this was done, and was not actually involved in any shots.) My colleagues at GEON took me to see it opening week, and while I normally don't much care for ninja movies, this film, while having many ninjas and some great martial arts fights, is more of a very stylized fantasy-western. Not quite Kill Bill, but with good performances, a good storyline, well-paced editing I found it a reasonably enjoyable film. What pushed it over the top for me, was the mise-en-scène, the totality of mood and style. The stylization of the sets, lighting and visual effects backgrounds was awesome.
Reading reviews, I am again reminded that film making is a fashion business and that not every fashion will appeal to every person or every culture. It's a mixture of surreal elements with fantasy, super-real action. Those looking for realism won't like the film, but it's a film that makes no pretense that it's a "real" story. It's an impressionist painting, not a photograph. If you want to see a documentary, this is not for you. But it's art.
While some hated the film -- others loved it, such as reviewer Rashid Irani, who called it the "zingiest entertainment of the year" in the Hindustan Times. I think the surreal fantasy and video-game action may work for some. I suggest you see the film in a theater to appreciate the style. Make up your own mind.
Exotic and Mundane India
|Rajeswari sunrise, outside Mumbai, India|
Perhaps my fall is a reminder that we need to keep one eye on the goal and the other eye on the journey. Or put another way, as supervisors, we need to look at where we want to go, and how we are getting there.