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Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Filmmaker Finds, August 1st Edition!

A blog post by Levin Menekse
Hello everyone,

This week we're going into the land of video games and animation. First off, let's start with this great analysis of Japanese Animator Satoshi Kon's editing techniques. The video is done by Tony Zhou, who you might know as the guy who analyzed Michael Bay's directorial style in his other video essay Bayhem.

Satoshi Kon isn't someone I'm familiar with. I only watched one of his features, Paprika, and didn't particularly like it, but this video is fascinating because it shows us how the medium of animation allows for some unique editing techniques. Check it out here. Another reason why you should check it out? This guy really influenced Darren Aronofsky:

On the left: A scene from Perfect Blue, one of Satoshi Kon's movies. On the right: A scene from Requiem for a Dream.
Secondly, I would like to direct you to a three part interview with Jim Uhls, who is best known for writing Fight Club. Well, actually, he is only known for writing Fight Club because the only other produced work he has is the Hayden Christensen vehicle Jumper. Considering he was such a pivotal part of Fight Club, which, one might argue, is one of the most influential movies of the past 20 years, it's weird how he never got another screenplay produced and, well, how he never had any ORIGINAL screenplay produced, ever.

I guess that is part of why this interview was intriguing for me, because he seems to be one of those people with a really unique, acerbic, violent voice who somehow exists in the industry but rarely gets to speak. His working habits are also peculiar; he talks about why he doesn't use traditional tools like outlining and how he "interviews" his characters when he's stuck. Bonus points: He also gets to tell a maniacal story involving a cat and an electric chainsaw when he's presented with a raw steak. It's definitely worth listening to.

Okay, so, this is where the video game part comes in. Look, I know there are people who have only seen Resident Evil movies and they are prejudiced when it comes to the artistic merits of video games as a medium. (R.I.P. Roger Ebert, but you were definitely wrong on this one.) On this note, instead of showing you a short movie like usual, I am going to throw you a curve ball and ask you to watch the first 16 minutes of Last of Us, a recent video game that does amazing things with the medium. It's basically your run-out-the-mill Zombie Apocalypse story but it totally elevates the material by using video game conventions and amplifies the emotional intensity. I think it's a great introduction to the medium as well. Here, take a look.

And on the heels of that, I present you this article which talks about how the best summer blockbusters of this year (Edge of Tomorrow and Snowpiercer) were greatly influenced by video games. For my money, I can't wait for more interaction between the two mediums, because I'm halfway through Last of Us and I very much prefer it to, say, The Walking Dead. It's one thing to watch others struggle with a Zombie Apocalypse, it's a completely another thing to struggle with a Zombie Apocalypse yourself.

Take care, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Levin Menekse

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