Friday, July 29, 2016
The film is set on a "mega-satellite" orbiting Earth, but the satellite is soon to break away from Earth and make a new start. The inhabitants are given a last opportunity to return to Earth, before the breakaway takes place. We follow one couple, and especially one woman, who longs for Earth, but is unable leave.
The film is built upon a vast amount of CGI work, and this is fundamental to the story. Some of the CGI establishes the physical set-up of the satellite in relation to the Earth, Moon and Sun. But the more important CGI work creates the entire small town that the people live in, with their American-style suburbia. It's so well done that on first viewing you won't even realise that much of what you see is computer-generated.
So what of the Bradbury connection? Look for the visuals of the rocket ships heading back for Earth, and see if that doesn't remind you of The Martian Chronicles, especially the section of Bradbury's book when the atomic war has broken out back on Earth and there is a mad rush to return.
Look also for the melancholy tone of the relationship of the couple, and see if this doesn't remind you of any number of Bradbury shorts, from "The Rocket Man" or "The Last Night of the World". The film's subtitle is "saudade", which means "a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia". You can't get more Bradbury than that. The film also has a good central metaphor (which I won't spoil) which has no direct connection to Bradbury that I can think of, but which made me think of Bradbury.
It's not a perfect film by any means. The woman's depressed state needs a bit more fleshing out (why doesn't she just get on the first available rocket and go?), and some of the technology is out of whack (wind turbines on a space station?) - but it's a short piece and there's lots about it to like.
Here's the film itself, and below it is a very breezy "making of" feature. This is amazing work for a team of students.
// ArtFX OFFICIEL // Les Spectateurs from ArtFX OFFICIEL on Vimeo.
// ArtFX OFFICIEL // Les Spectateurs MAKING-OF from ArtFX OFFICIEL on Vimeo.
Friday, July 15, 2016
It's disappointing to see that Fahrenheit 451 has been dropped from the Big Read programme.
NEA - the USA's National Endowment for the Arts - has been running the community literacy scheme for years, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 has long been a popular inclusion. Ray even made a short documentary for the NEA back in 2008, in which he talked about the genesis of F451 and why it is a significant work that speaks out for literacy and against censorship.
It's hard to complain about the new batch of books, which has been drawn up in a deliberate effort to enhance the diversity of authors and voices in the list. But it's sad to see such a classic and popular work, one that chimes so directly with the aims of The Big Read, being turned aside.
The full list of twenty-eight books in the new scheme can be viewed here: http://www.neabigread.org/books.php
And here's Ray Bradbury talking about his masterpiece, and promoting The Big Read.