Category Archives: Art

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

I’ve seen too many collections of ‘Pictures that Rocked the World’ for them to really do much world rocking. The pictures lose so much meaning when they’re dragged out at very chance just to sell another Life pictorial collection. I like looking through the collections, but I usually end up flipping through them rather quickly.

Not long ago, I came across this photo collections. Many of them are too overused to be of any great impact. How many times have you seen the picture of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square? When you last saw it, What did you think about? Did you think about the incredible excitement that everyone felt that day, knowing that the years of death and destruction were over? Sadly, even the picture of a Vietnamese monk burning himself to death doesn’t arouse much emotion. Through over-exposure and commercialization these have all but completely lost their meaning and their power. Still, there were two in that collection that really struck me.

First, the lone student defying the tanks in Tiananmen Square caught me. Maybe it did because two separate but very similar shots of the event were shown, giving me an immediate second look. I stared at the images for quite a while. Continue reading

Well, after this I should think nothing of falling down stairs.

I wasn’t familiar with the Savannah College of Art and Design until I came across This short called Pencil Face a while back. (A higher resolution version is available here.)

I watched the other shorts hosted by ScadShorts.com, but this one really stood out to me for several reasons. The biggest is that it didn’t at all feel like a student film. The sound, lighting and camerawork are all very good. Director Christian Simmons did an excellent job with this project.

Also, it has a distinct Burtonesque feel, which, for me at least, is a big selling point. Pencil Face keeps tension going with eerie music and by really not explaining anything.

At any rate, hope you enjoy.

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When you’re right, you’re right. This is not one of those times.

I just read an article over at Lutonaut about going to the movies. Here’s a little tidbit:

i haven’t been inside a movie theater in a while so i don’t know the prices. let’s just say that it costs $8 dollars to see a movie. $8 dollars. $8 f*****g dollars to see one movie once. what are paying for that $8 dollars, aside from the socializing?

* to see it on a big screen.
* to see it when it comes out.

I completely disagree. What are you paying for? You are paying to see a work of art in the way the artist designed it to be seen. It’s the difference between seeing seeing The Last Supper in person versus seeing a photograph of the mural in a book. Can you enjoy both? Yes certainly. Is it the same looking at the actual painting and the book? No in the least.

Are all films great works of art? No, that’s definitely not what I’m saying. Not all movies are worth the price of a ticket, but that’s why we have reviews and film critics. I actually see very few movies in the theater.
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And we were angry and poor and happy, And proud of seeing our names in print.

So it’s a little late in coming, but I should probably explain why this blog is named The Eighth Art. The name comes from an essay written by Sergei Eisenstein in 1922 in which he argues that Cinema is a new art worthy of its own muse. In the essay, he draws up the image of a ‘Council of Muses’ with Charlie Chaplin, representing the new art of film, entering and sitting in one of the appointed seats.

For those not up on their early twentieth century Soviet film history, Eisenstein was the premier filmmaker in Russia, and is considered the father of film montage. He wrote two massively influential books on film theory, Film Form and The Film Sense. His most famous films are Potemkin and Ivan the Terrible I & II.
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For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.

I just got word from a friend of mine over at The Shoeless Reader about the Old Pasadena Film Festival.

For the next three weekends on Friday and Saturday nights, there will be screenings of at least two great films each night. There is a bit of a Audrey Hepburn theme this year, with titles like Sabrina, Roman Holiday, and, of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Also, at 7 PM each night, at the Armory Center for the Arts, they are screening an Emerging Filmmakers series featuring films by local students and artists. If you’re only going to go to one screening, I really think it should be one of these.

Also, for those so inclined, there is an all-night screening of the three Lord of The Rings movies. There will be a “Sunrise Hobbit Breakfast” to follow. Not sure what that means, but worth a shot.

All screenings are free, so there’s no reason not to check it out. See you there.

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There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

Over at Boing Boing this morning, they posted about an exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The exhibit consists of original artwork produced for different Golden Books. I really wish I could go, but as I live in Los Angeles, the geographic opposite of New York City, I don’t think I’m going to get to go.

It did make me think about all the books I loved as a kid. One Christmas my sister and I were given a box set of Golden Books. I don’t remember who gave them to us, but we loved them. There were about twenty of them or so, and most of them were Disney character stories. It was a really big deal for us because these books were brand new. No other kid had written his name in the “This Golden Book Belongs to” section, and none of the pages were scribbled on or marred in any way. The signature golden binding was perfect. I still buy almost all my books used. They’re much less expensive, and many have their own story to tell apart from the one printed between its covers. There is something special, though, about a brand new book, knowing no one else has read the words off that page. It’s as if you’re the first one to be let in on a secret, the first one to share your secret with that book.

We read those books over and over and over. Continue reading

All day I’ve built a lifetime and now the sun sinks to undo it.

Recently I watched both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The movies were made eight years apart and follow the story of a man and a woman that meet on a train traveling through Europe. Each movie takes place in a single day, the second, actually, covers only about an hour and a half, and shot in real time.

In the first movie Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is traveling to Vienna to catch a plain the next morning, and Celine (Julie Delpy) home to Paris. When the train pulls into Vienna, Jesse convinces Celine to spend the night with him in the city. The two spend the night talking and seeing the sites of Vienna. As they learn more about each other, they begin to fall for each other, but they know they have only one night, and it would be impossible to get together.

The second film picks up 8 years later, and finds Jesse in Paris. He is on a tour promoting his book, a novelized version of his night with Celine. She comes to one of his appearances, and they see each other for the first time in years. Jesse has little more than an hour before he must be at the airport, so the two wander the streets of Paris and talk of what might have been. Continue reading