Presentation

Proposed Questions

 

  • To explore how media used films to represent social issues and influence audiences’ perceptive.
  • To investigate how media has been negatively stereotyping the issue of homosexuality and influence their audience to believe them.
  • How animators use animation to manipulate children’s perceptive on sexual relationship.
  • To explain how filmmakers may have mis-represent the social issues inside their films.
  • Can the process and form of the animation change the representation of social issues
  • To explore how films make audience confront to this stereotype compare to the ones they may see or hear before.

 

Key term

Mis-representation, social issues, perspective, stereotype, media, animation/film, manipulate, culture

 

Approach to investigate

Research and read some books, journals and article reviews.

 

Cinema and language:

“Cinematic language is different rather than “district”- from what language system, a langue would be but take place” by Stephen Heath

 

Martin Harrison, 1985, TV News: Whose Bias, Part1, Ch. 4 Policy Journals, Hermitage, UK

This book is about a research on TV news coverage in Bad news. Although reporters always run and always hope to be the first to get certain news in the society but when they got the news, would the story still be the same when they report it? The news might become bias on one side or reporters may exaggerate the story so they can gain more audience to read or watch their news. This book has shown that what newspaper said may not reliable which proved in my research and group project that media may changed or bias on people on benefits system and homosexuality.

 

Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo, A Measure of Media Bias, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 120, No. 4, pp. 1191-1273, Oxford University Press

From this journal, they have done a research on which newspapers have been bias on politics. And the result has shown that most newspaper have been exaggerate and changed their choice of words. Since these newspapers have loads of reader, they have affected the readers’ thoughts and decisions. Again this proved that the media might have changed readers’ point of view without notice. They are controlling readers’ thought!

Case study:

Film-Lilting- Break through the language problem, use facial expression and action to affect audience emotions

Animation-Different culture- Japan and Europe

 

Reflection on my film process:

 

-In the project, I have animated some of the visual scenes.

-Everything have been planned well and we all trying to meet our deadline that we set for ourselves.

-Getting and controlling the balance is the challenge in this project. Things that we animated cannot be too literal but not too crazy at the same time as well.

 

 

Reference:

Martin Harrison, 1985, TV News: Whose Bias, Part1, Ch. 4 Policy Journals, Hermitage, UK

Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo, A Measure of Media Bias, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 120, No. 4, pp. 1191-1273, Oxford University Press

Paula Rabinowitz, 1994, They must be represented, Verso

Stephen Heath, 1983, Cinema and Language, language sight and sound, CH 1, The American film institute

 

 

 

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CASE STUDIES (BRIEF 3)

CASE 1: I met the Walrus, Josh Raskin (2007)

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmR0V6s3NKk

Keywords: Metamorphosis, metaphors, transitions, transformation, interview, animated documentary.

Forty five years ago, a 14 year old intrepid Beatle fan made his way into John Lennon’s hotel room while in Canada and carried out what is nowadays, a very significant and peculiar interview of the musician and his main points of view on politics, the world and future. Nearly four decades later, the same grown up boy Jerry Levitan, decided to make an animated documentary of the valuable recording to immortalize Lennon’s words and interpret his philosophy. In this way, he contacted director and animator Josh Raskin who gave birth to the multi award winner animated short I met the Walrus in 2007.In some way, this pair managed to convey a strong visual message to the audience but how did they succeeded in terms of selecting the right tools in order to deliver the message?, What is so unique about I met the Walrus and why is it considered one of the most successful animated documentaries in recent years?.
The first thing I was wondering when trying to find these answers was, if the fact of having such an old and low quality recording as the main source for the film was going to interfere with the visual process and final outcome. Even the less experienced filmmakers know that having a good quality soundtrack from the beginning is always the perfect tool to generate visual representation in the most quick and effective way. However, for Levitan, the recording was not a concern as it mattered more to him its value as a historic archive and the impact the words have on today’s global situation rather than its condition. In the other hand, apart from being able to improve the quality of the sound through modern software, the many options that animation facilitates are numerous in terms of creating a visual style that would in some form or another blend and adapt to a specific soundtrack. To achieve that, the pair of filmmakers wedded the traditional pen sketches by James Braithwaite with Alex Kurina’s digital illustration to produce a graphic narrative which gently romances Lennon’s words in a torrential flood of nonstop animation, a variety of explosions of sequences that originate from nothing or from minuscule unrelated matters and are decorated with special satirist drawings to enhance the symbolism and metaphors of the speech.
What Raskin, Levitan and their collaborators understood very well, was that even if the recording had its deficiencies, they had to take the worst and make the best of it by simply manipulating animation. A clear example of this practice is the visual representation that occurs after a minute and thirty seconds of the film when the inevitable sound of a phone ringing spoils in some way the interview and the filmmakers take advantage of the event by finding an image to symbolize the phone as well as other environmental sounds. It was because of this, the use of comedic metaphors, the continuous flow of ideas creating a narrative and the ability to interpret the interview without missing important bits or overcrowding the canvas with lots of information that this film has been awarded so many prices and nominations and has conquered a place in the top of animated short films of the decade.

The short film I met the Walrus is exceptionally related to my research due to its way of building a whole narrative from just an original source through metamorphism, a constant sense of transformation and a simple use of techniques and visual codes such as colour and realistic/fictitious imagery. The fact that it is an animated documentary film also contributes enormously to my group documentary project and to learn how to portray clearly and successfully a recorded interview into a moving image.
Finally, the experiment I made it’s just a quick test to try to emulate my case study film style but obviously with my own imagery, ideas and basing all the visuals on a segment of the interview recording I’m working on for my group documentary film. After analyzing the different ideas used in I met the Walrus, the trial worked out as a possible solution on how metamorphism operates as a timing and transition agent between ideas and the relationship form- content.

CASE 2: FILM: The tree of Life, Terrence Malick (2011)

Video link (scene of the film): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm6JyYGwtpY

Keywords: Reality, memories, fiction, transitions, cuts.

Recreating past events and fictional circumstances from one cut to another in films has always been difficult to achieve, or at least in a very good manner. Thousands of film directors have tried in diverse ways to make their stories understandable and to portray in a distinctive style the time and place where a scene develops. The tree of Life, by director Terrence Malick is not the exception with the big difference that this experimental drama film engages the audience from the beginning to take part in a colossal voyage managing to convey the life of a man (reality) with his own memories (past) and more profound matters, jumping from modern days to the mid 50’s and even back to the very beginning of life on earth and creation of the universe. But how does the director move that freely in the timeline from one point to another without confusing the audience? Even if the film was mostly renowned because of its experimental scenes always expressed by the powers of nature through the representation of cosmic and astronomical environments in contrast with the story of the man., I will concentrate in analyzing a particular non experimental scene where the man remembers events that happened in his childhood while being at work.
The scene starts with Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn) walking impatiently around a firm of architects while he speaks to someone on the phone. The character is clearly stressed and anxious about his current situation and the oppressing atmosphere where he is at that moment. This tension is represented through a loud and busy work environment sound effect, Jack’s negative attitude and a series of office related activities that disturb him. At that point the congested sound fades out and the camera pans to the ceiling of the building where there’s a window, brightness, calmness, bringing the perfect opportunity to introduce a scene with flowing water and a flashback memory of him and his brothers playing in a lake. Flashbacks and memories are usually represented brighter and sometimes quite blurred and distorted compared to scenes in the present, but what the director does in here, is to cut straight from the building window to the stream by introducing a new image which symbolizes and produces the same feeling as the one before, being the memory the need and want to escape from the daily life, from reality into a peaceful and pure place. Another strategy not to make noticeable changes from cut to cut is to play with sound. Once the lake scene is introduced to the audience, they get the taste of what it looked like and sounded like but rapidly while it goes forward to the present again and after interchanging a few times the shots, the only sound that invades the screen is the one from the present, what really makes us believe as an audience, that even though the character is in there, he’s ignoring his surrounding and only focused on his flashback. There are actually many ways filmmakers try to approach memories and recall of events but sometimes some tactics seem to prove more effective than others, even when the main purpose is to confuse the audience.
In conclusion, it is worth to mention, that memories are considered fiction as they will never be recalled 100% accurately and are part of our imagination but based in a real source. For that reason, The tree of Life, truly demonstrates a proper management of the flashback effect and is a perfect example to follow when animating stories, documentaries and interviews that require to jump from realism to fiction changing the notion of time and making use of cuts to save money and time. Through the flashback live action experiment I made, I tried to use the same technique used in the film to generate a change of mood, a way to blend both memory and present together but keeping them separate in terms of emotion. The experiment was really useful as I am mixing both narrative and fictional styles in my documentary film and its closely related to metamorphosis, transitions and human manipulation too.

Written by Juan Bampa

REFERENCES & BIBLIOGRAPHY

– Book “In the blink of an eye” A perspective on film editing” by Walter Murch, 1995, 2001. Silman – James Press.
– Video “Galactic Raptor”, author unknown. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga48XKYjFLM
– Video “Hitchcock on cutting”. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG0V7EVFZt4

Case Study: We are Out

Case Study 2: We are out by Keiichi Nitta and mixture of japan animes

 

“We are Out” is a documentary series produced by Keiichi Nitta. From my personal view the title has two meanings. On one hand it allows us to explore what are these couples are like, are they living differently compare to other “normal” couples? And on the other hand, it means these couples that Nitta interviewed have come out from the closet and they are willing to share their messages to the audience. The series is about the gay and lesbian couples that currently lived in Japan. Nitta has interviews these people and allow them to express their experience, feelings and thoughts to us.

 

Apart from using a video recorder to interview these couples, Nitta has also used his camera to capture different moments while they were doing their interviews. I realized the recorder never only focused on the couples, it also captured their home environment as well and it made the audiences to feel comfortable while they were watching it. During the interviews, Nitta asked some sensitive questions, e.g. are you all hoping to get married in japan and do you all wear clothes while you are sleeping together? He also asked to them to kiss and hug each other while he is taking photographs. The reason I am mentioning this is because I realized the couples weren’t really nervous during the process, in fact they chat and act causally like they always do at home. After watching all the series, I noticed Nitta never start his interview straight away, once he met them, he always like to walk around their houses and talk causally with different things. I believed the way he did is something that able to make his interviewees less nervous and let his audience can slowly accept things they hear and see in the series. Also while he was taking photographs of the couples, he never stop talking, he kept the conversation going, he doesn’t really ask the couples to look at the camera. He kept saying cheerful and supportive things while he was capturing the moment. Since he has made a good interaction with his interviewees, it made the series went really smooth.

 

In his series, he wanted to show that these couples have no different compare to normal couples. I believed that he has achieved his goal. In the series, the couples showed to us they are like “normal” couples, in some ways they seems more happier than “normal” couples as well. They won’t act or over dress themselves; they eat and will fight once in a while like us. Inside the series, it allows audience to understand more about their lifestyle and problems that they have living as a couple in Japan. They didn’t ask for people to accept them as homosexuals but at least treat them fairly like others.

 

In addition, I did a clip of a mixture shots of two different cartoons. Looking back at them I realized animators in Japan have added homosexuals issues into their cartoon without notice. They blended the issues into their characters design and the relationship of the characters in the story. And I believed it has brought out a message that “gay and lesbians” aren’t a big deal and they hope people that are watching these cartoons can gradually accept these relationships and notice that they are different from how other people or media have been stereotyped them.

 

As an experiment as response to the series I watched, I made a short animation with some metamorphism. I am trying to bring out a message that no matter what choices these people have made or decided, they still want a normal and happy life like others. For the animation, I believed I have brought out the message to the audiences but I hope there are more time for me to continue and improve. I wanted to draw more scenes and in between into it. I think the idea is good but the content is too simple and I wanted to fill in more to it.

 

Before watching the series, I have been looking some articles about media bad influences and how people have been stereotyped on different things. And I thought the series would have something bad to influence others but oppositely it didn’t, it has brought out a positive image to the audience of these homosexuals couples.

Case Study: Lilting

Case Study 1: Lilting by Hong Khaou

 

Lilting means the rising and falling of a sound. When audiences are listening to it, they should feel relax and joy from this happy tune. Personally, I believed the title matches well with this film. As everyone should have a different taste of life and in the film the characters have showed to us on how they react and deal with the peak and low of their lives. The story is mainly about a guy called Kai, his Cambodian’s mother and another guy called Richard. Kai and Richard are gay; they have been in a relationship for a while. Before Kai died, he was carrying so much pressure from taking care of his mother and the relationship with Richard. He has been struggled to tell his mother about his relationship with Richard. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to tell her at the end. While Richard has to accept Kai’s death, he decided to take care Kai’s mother Junn for Kai. He also hired a translator for Junn to communicate with him and her close western friend Allen.

 

Hong Khaou produces this film. The editing skills he did in the film are interesting. The film started off with the conversation of Kai and his mother, when audiences were starting to focus in this scene and believed this was currently happening, the scene has changed in split seconds, it was actually the last memory that Junn had before Kai died. Khaou has also made a flash back in another scene without notice. In that scene, Richard was talking with Kai on the bed, when Kai was holding Richard’s feet on his heart; the touch and link between Kai and Richard were so real. When audiences fall into the scene, Richard’s emotion changed and he started to move. While he was moving and leaving the room, the shadow of Kai’s started to disappear. This editing effect reminded the audiences that Kai has already become a ghost; the person that Richard saw was the memories that he had before with Kai. I believed this technique has connected the film and audiences emotions together. Khaou always let us the audiences to fall into the scene then brought us back to reality in split seconds after the flash back. The flash back of Kai and Richard has brought out a warm and intimate atmosphere to the audience but as they remember Kai has already died, they would feel sympathy for Richard. The lost of Kai and memories that Richard had showed to the audiences that how deep he was in love with Kai.

 

Communication was also a difficult task to achieve in this film. Richard and Junn didn’t have the same language they needed a translator between them to communicate. Khaou has made two different examples and produced a different effects in the film. When Junn was talking to her friend Allen about their bad habits, they needed a translator beside them. And when they found out thoughts of each other, they started to argue. Junn walked off and decided not to talk to him again. She believed that she couldn’t communicate with him anymore, she couldn’t cope with him, she believed their cultures were so different and she couldn’t accept herself to be together with him. In this scene, Khaou used language to show the culture problems which something that hardly could be solved. But on the other hand, he used language again but this time he focused the camera on the character’s facial and hand expression. When Richard explained to Junn that he and Kai is gay and they have been together for 4 years, Junn expression was so calm but her expression has given us a sense that she understand what Richard was talking. And after she has explained she has gotten through Kai’s death, she smiled. Before the last scene, they smiled to each other. As a audience we are not sure whether they understood each other or not but they showed to us that language is not a problem for them, they have the same person that is important to them and they understand each other thoughts through their emotions and expressions.

 

In my experiments, I decided to draw out body language, facial expression and hand expression of the characters. I believed their actions and expression are far more important than talking. I realized the body and facial expressions would change when they faced different situation. When they became emotional they would even used their hands to express as well. And I believed people had a unique expression for themselves. To improve my experiment, I will want to draw more in between of change in actions and build up a story towards it in the future. This is because it allows me to show how the changes between every action can connect to our audiences’ emotions.

Before I watched the film, I have read an article about the meaning of closets. It said “….defining and meaning of space” and “closet helps to present itself with authority”. I let me understand closet has a different meaning to different people. For example, Junn has hidden her loneness and herself into her closet. It is because she has a language problem so she tried and kept herself away from others.

Case study for Homosexuality

The film is called Lilting. Hong Khaou directs it. It is about a gay couple and the connection with one of their mother. His partner has passed away; the other has to hide the sorrow in his heart and to take care of the ex-partner’s mother. Unfortunately there is a communication problem between them, they have to hire a translator to gain and reconnect the memories of their love one that has passed away. In this film, it has reflected that everyone is the same, no matter we have a different cultures or sexual orientation, if we can be honest and true to everyone, we can always commons to talk and different ways to communicate.

 

This film is called Born This Way Cameroon. It is a documentary film by Shaun Tuazon. It is about gay and lesbian in Cameroon. They have been discriminate by others. If they get caught they might have to go to jail. They have been treated unfairly. While facing on these pressures in this country, they have to face their religious problem as well. I have attracted by this film is because I like the idea of this documentary. “To born this way, to love this way , to live this way and to talk to this way”

Case study for Culture differentiation

The film is called Voice. Ciselle Fung produces it. Although it is a documentary about the struggle of a character in Serigne Tacko Mbengue but I have attracted by the technique in this film. I like the way that the animation visualize things the interviewee said and the drawing animation looks alive as well.

Barnes Documentary Animation by John Lane. It is a hand drawn animation and edit with Photoshop and After effects. In the film, John has used rotoscope to re visualize the action that he record in his interview. I have inspired by his techniques and hope that I can experiment in my film as well.