Friday, July 29, 2011

Exam time?

I feel like its exam time all over again - lack of sleep, deadline. Its been such a while, I will crash after this weekend is through.

Well I have this submission to do tomorrow for Buildtech Logistics - the animation job I've been working on.

And if it all goes well, heading to the mountains on Saturday to see the snow again. Got to love it.

I just realised halfway through the night, we ran out of sugar - and I was banking on surviving the night with coffee and tea! Oh well. I suppose I will have to keep it real - without the sugar and the milk.

Things have been great. Couldn't be better.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Swan Film Review - A Lot Of Tchaikovsky, But That's About As Ballet As It Gets

Black Swan (2010) is a film about the black and white in a personality. There is not a shade of grey in this one. Harshness meets head on with gentle. Black comes head to head with white. You’re left holding on to the edge of your seat (or the bean bag, in my case) with its stunning sound and cinematography, putting a true meaning to grit.
First, I have to say that the true hero/ine of this film is the storytelling. 

Natalie Portman was stunning in her role and performance - but its not what one would call ‘perfection’. The story however was so well written, Nina (Portman) was right when she concludes with “perfect” at the end of the film/performance.

Irony andParadoxes
Ridden with irony and paradoxes, Black Swan says that perfection is acheived by much sacrifice, surprise, terror and intuition. Not rules, routine and order. The painful ordeal that Nina goes through throughout the film was the purging - the weaning - of her own self. Natural law says that a gold piece is gleaned and hammered and passed through the furnace so that the beautiful end product emerges. Nina was weaned carved and chiselled in much pain from start to end - and we watch the process - and being so well photographed, we wince along with her, almost feel her pain, share her shocks and demons, pleasure and pain - everything.


Cinematography/Photography
This was the highlight for me with Black Swan; Use of mirrors and reflections to portray multiple personalities, and, Close hand held camera to acheive close proximity with character. The camera in most cases was so close to the character that you could hear her even just breathing throughout the movie. The movement was free and unrestrained. 


Characterization
Natalie Portman deserved her Oscar award for this one. But on a slightly critical note, I thought the character was overplayed - which again, would have been what the script probably demanded of her. About ten years from now Nina possibly might not seem very believable as a real life character. Yes, the acting and the writing might be acclaimed forever as a feat. But the practicality of the character won’t be as long lived as the hype over its film making. You know, there is a difference between a good story and a good movie story. This is a terrific movie story. It is just not real life enough.
It is a bit like Slumdog Millionaire. It is a great great story. You hit the spot with making a stunning work with it. But it is not real - not even close to it. 
Of course. Film making is not real life story telling. It is entertainment. It is enthralling audiences. Black Swan damn well enthralled all.

Appropriate? R18?
There are a few scenes that you might want to block your eyes to, if you’re easily disturbed. You won’t watch this with your family. It is not tastefully done either, if you’re curious about the ‘tastefulness’ of the ‘inappropriate’ scenes. This isn’t James Bond. I guess all I’d say is: Pick this film in your tougher days, when you feel like you can take on anything. Expect blood. Gritty stuff. 
I was stunned by the end. 

Conclusion
No, this is not your typical ballet tip toeing film. A lot of Tchaikovsky but that’s about as ballet as it gets. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter - The End

So finally I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 yesterday. That was it. The end of this long wonderful journey of magic and imagination. Yesterday I was in sombre mood all day. I took a nap in the afternoon and I dreamt, not about Harry Potter, but something related to it. Something more in the lines of friendship and family.

And that is just what I want to point out here - That I haven't seen a movie or read a book that stresses so much on friendship and family for a really long time. No one talks about them these days. These days it has all become about bringing the revolution, or about sex or about being smart to out-talk your enemy. When I saw the film yesterday I realised what I'd been missing and hadn't even known all along. Nobility is no longer a topic anymore, and I will miss that the most when this hype with the Potter final film is done and gone by and entertainment will only become entertainment. Even in the near future, this whole Potter merchandise will become only a marketed phenomena at the Florida Harry Potter world.

There is a lot of talk about the devilishness of Harry Potter and the books. People may be right in saying that. They could be wrong. But what I know is that, at the end of this phenomena (if indeed this has to end here) I will walk away with that thought in my head. What good is imagination and art if it only lives to point out how smart and witty and entertaining I can be to others? What sort of message are you giving to people who watch what you do? Is your art and works pointing to a greater something that just you and you alone?

Harry Potter wasn't just a self-conscious exploration of her own personality for J.K. Rowling. It wasn't just art for art's sake. It wasn't experimental for experimentalism sake. Rowling wanted a message out - something that she believes is a good message - and that was the importance of family and friendship and courage and all that.

She wasn't pointing the limelight on herself and how smart she could be. Yes it was very personal to her. But that didn't mean it got in the way.

I hope there will be more art and films and books written in this similar fashion and thought now that this era is over. I hope there will be more wonderful imaginative worlds to be created where the next generation can grow and be fashioned in. I hope there will be more artists who are willing to step a little beyond who they are and produce art works that speak more than just self-glorification.

I tell myself that.

Nobility. Family. Friendship. Message.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Just.. An update

So, its that sort of a day, when you wake up and feel like writing. Not on book and paper, but more in your blog. At the moment my life has gone digital. I don't know if it is a good thing or not. Last night I wrote some stuff down in my 365 Kikki.K book (not a diary). And I couldn't write more than a paragraph. I just ended up putting down the barest essentials. Half of the blame goes to the Bic pen that I was using. Rubbish stuff. What I mean is that, most of my writing has gone into the computer. Into blogs, emails, updates on work.. All that.

Atleast I am still writing.

I suppose this is just one of those updates that you see in this blog. Just to put down on words what has been happening so far.

Buildtech Project
Its a saturday, and I have work to do. Particularly a major work to get sorted. It is an animation job for Buildtech.co.nz. Buildtech is a 6 months old building company that grew because of the building opportunities that the earthquake left the city with. I need to make an animation that is only one and a half seconds long. But the catch is that I need to do it in Flash. And I can't say that I have had all the experience in the program. Not yet. So this saturday is dedicated to learning Flash and getting used to it. Exploring.

India
I am going to India on January 2012. I. Can. Not. Wait.

I've got a million plans lined up. Mainly, travelling to Varanasi to Delhi to Mussoorie. Secondly, going to Bangalore and then where else from there, who knows.

So many plans.

Work
Work is going awesome. By now I have gathered about four younger designers to 'intern' or 'volunteer' and help me out with certain design projects. Majestic will be moving in to Moorhouse Avenue by 17 July. IT will be awesome to have office again. But I will also miss the freedom that working from home has afforded me with.

But point is, I love my work.

I also work at Patch Print as their social media administrator and web developer. So I am a professional Twitter-er and blogger. Pretty sweet.

Music?
Listening to The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon (Come Round Sundown), Mumford & Sons, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Led Zeppelin, The Last Shadow Puppets, Hans Zimmer for Inception, Daftpunk for TRON and The Doors.

Particularly trending are: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys' new album (so smartly done), few songs in KoL new album and The Last Shadow Puppets.

Art
I have been busy with the Wacom that Barry got for Majestic Design. Its really really good. Been experimenting with it for work as well as some random drawings. You can look at some of my recent works in my Tumblr portfolio.

Many more projects at hand, that I can't reveal for now..

So, thats it for now. Hope your life's going great too.