Monday, August 01, 2005

Sheer fun -- two items

I don't know why the television people haven't done something with it, but the pictures and story of the French Rocket Girl Giant Puppet and the elephant is about as enchanting as anything I have seen in weeks. With dsl you can see some tantalizing short clips that make you want to travel to France and see it in person. This is public art at it's most wonderful. Damn sight better than giant banners wafting in the breeze, if you ask me.

I must say that this was one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. People got very involved in the story to the point where they interpreted what the Little Giant was feeling based on what she was doing and how she acted. They talked about her as a person, not a contraption. At one point we asked someone where she was and they told us that she decided to go out for a walk after her shower. In the evening people were saying that she was riding the elephant because she was sleepy. I didn't see it, but I was told that on Sunday morning the Little Giant had to pee — and when she did, all of the handlers turned their backs and looked away so as not to embarrass her. It's that kind of little detail, that kind of gesture, that allowed it to transcend mere puppetry. It's hard to believe without actually being there, but just watching her sleep fills you with emotion.
Thanks Paulo Cohen-Myers.
I used to be a real movie nut. My wife and I faithfully saw to it that the kids were the first in their peer group to see anything first...Annie, Star Wars, ET, Dances With Wolves, and so on. Heck, I remember getting worked up over the (animated) Watership Down and The Hobbit (first time round). It took a generation to get to LOTR, but it was worth the wait.
The last few years, though, nothing has really rung my chimes. I make it a point to read reviews and try to get worked up about stuff, but it seems formula films, nihilism and gimmicks have replaced art and drama on the big screen. I'm blown away by special effects, but after a while it gets tiresome. (Although I think I could watch Crouching Tiger a couple more times.)
But I heard a review of a documentary, of all things, that has me waiting to find it at a theatre near me as soon as possible: March of the Penguins. Maybe I'm just tired and vulnerable, but last week's radio review by Elizabeth Blair on NPR was just I needed.
Don't just glance at the text and move on. Take the six or seven minutes to listen to the review. You are sure to be hooked. Unless, of course, you like clubbing baby seals and stuff like that.

1 comment:

vietnamcatfish said...

Yo, hoots. When me and Kitty decided to take in a movie last week, it was a tossup between "The Penguins" or "The Bad News Bears." When me and Kitty take in a flick these days, it must be a happy/comedic one. No depressing ones. We have given-up on the ones that start out where the setting is "the world is an oyster-step up get your pearl" but soon revert into a depressing hodgepodge of disaster. Clint Eastwood's latest boxing saga comes to mind. I was tempted to see the penguins ( the one Kitty preferred ) but I opted for the bears. We may see the birds this week. v.c.