Polish animation films

First in a series of three

I discovered Polish animation films years ago, longed to see them again and eventually acquired the Anthology of Polish Animated Films from Amazon.com.  (I see that the title now includes the word experimental.)  This collection is two discs of 28 short films from the 1950s to the years 2000.

In Western Europe, America and, of course, South Africa we have been overwhelmed with American animation films (via Japan), with the work of Walt Disney in the lead.  For this reason many people believe that animated films are made for children.  Polish animation films divest them of that opinion smartly.  I believe that many adults will not only be fascinated by these films, but intellectually challenged.

If you regard the Polish people, their culture and their art, they have lived under the yoke of ruthless, inhumane ideologies.  Often you sense the political metaphors in the work, but themes are also philosophical and psychological.  I think of The Road [Kijowski, 1971] where a little figure walking along a road eventually arrives at a fork.  His indecision makes him divide himself in two, though these two halves would love to be reunited as they walk along.  When they meet again, however, the two halves don’t fit.  In a way, they latch onto each other and continue the journey in an awkward way.

© Will

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

August, 2020

 

Images

The cover of the anthology

Libertango

It is difficult to speak about music, about this music, without actually sharing it.  I can refer the reader to You Tube and there s/he will be met with quite a few versions of the music.  The facts are easier.

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), an Argentinian, published Libertango in 1974.  He was in Milan at the time and it was immediately reworked for a large orchestra.  It was a success.  In the year of his death, Stephen Holden had this to say:  “Piazzolla is the foremost composer of tango music in the world.”  Libertango might well be the most popular music he composed.

Astor Piazzolla, 1970, with his bandoneon

The name Libertango – the liberated tango – points to Piazzolla’s lifelong dream of taking tango music to new heights, of writing classical music rooted in this world-renowned folk music.  He was more than successful.  His work is highly regarded in the musical world.

I heard Libertango for the first time in 2001 and decided that this would be my music for the decade.  Ten years on it is still my music for the next decade as well.  The version that has meant a great deal to me in that of the Cape Town Tango Ensemble.  After that I have heard one version after the other, some quite complex.  My latest discovery is that of the Swingle Singers, the a capella group taking this music to another dimension.

For those prepared to familiarize themselves with this music, will have a new musical experience.  If you allow the introductory chord cascades to carry you, if you enter the chase  –  then the ecstasy of this music is yours.

 

(c) Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

August, 2020

 

Source

Wikipedia – Astor Piazzolla

Images

Piazzolla – Wikipedia

Libertango sheet music  –  youtube.

tango dancers – redargentina.com

painting –  source lost

Television Crime Series – a comparison

Last year I compared television crime series generally. (Cf. willwilltravel  22.2.2019).  These ever-popular series are, of course, the age-old struggle between the Good and Evil.  It is the differences in this universal art form that intrigue me.  The series are Inspector Barnaby (UK) and New York Special Unit (USA).

The British producers did the unthinkable:  they replaced John Nettles with Neil Dudgeon who bears a resemblance to his predecessor.  The producers told the followers of the narratives that they were cousins.  The Americans, I imagine, wouldn’t dream of doing something like this.

John Nettles (left) and Neil Dudgeon 

The settings for the two series couldn’t be more different.  I sometimes feel that the verdant countryside and the majestic manorhouses border on tourist propaganda.  Perhaps the writers wanted to show the horrors below the appearances.  The Special Unit settings are innercity New York, the dirty backstreets, taxis gliding by like predators and dimly-lit cobblestone alleyways between faceless buildings.

Barnaby and his assistant (always male) don’t carry weapons.  The American investigators not only carry weapons, but, in self-defence, are sometimes forced to kill people.  But there is always a sense of regret, no triumphant complacency as one would find in earlier crime series.

Hargitay and Meloni

In Barnaby, the murders sometimes tally more than three per episode.  In The Guardian we read “They work in a country full of murderers so gruesomely inventive it was as if they’d been cribbing ideas from Titus Andronicus.”  In the American series there is less focus on the action of the murder and more on the legal processes in the courtroom.

The writers of Barnaby have a bee in their bonnet about the church and it seems as though every second or third episode takes place within the church and its community.  There is also use of folk festivals and gatherings for the story to unfold.  This does not happen in Special Unit.

Good and Evil

The music in both series is remarkable.  In Special Unit, Mike Post’s signature music is something like symphonic jazz, dramatic, dissonant.  In Barnaby, the signature tune has a lilting sadness, also brilliantly adapted to other parts of the narrative.

In both series, the secondary characters, the ones pursued, investigated and apprehended, are finely written and superbly performed.  They give texture to the episode.  It is not unusual to have famous actors do a role by invitation in Special Unit.

The darkness of life

Barnaby, as a result of the uplifting signature tune and entertaining closing lines, usually has a feelgood ending in episodes.  Special Unit seldom has this and I have been left with a sense of the tragedy of life.

© Will

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

July, 2020

 

Source

France television

 

Images

Barnaby – The Guardian

Hargitay, Meloni  – Pinterest

Other images – sources lost

 

Molière – some thoughts

Molière – his first names were Jean-Baptiste – lived from 1622 to 1673.  People who believe in reincarnation might think that Shakespeare was reborn as Molière for a French stint.  Whatever the case may be, Molière was one of the greatest playwrights in history with a feeling for comedy.  And comedy, in my book, is supremely difficult.  Of necessity, he had to be wise as well and I am sharing a few of his sayings.

It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right.

§

We die only once, and for such a long time.

§

Hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue.

§

Man, I can assure you, is a nasty creature.

§

One must eat to live, not live to eat.

§

Of all follies, there is none greater than wanting to make the world a better place. 

§

The duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them.

§

Life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy for those who think.

 

© Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

July, 2020

 

Source

Goalcast

 

Images

Wikipedia

 

Gypsies

Once when I went for my afternoon constitutional I saw on the open stretch before you reach the forest about eleven caravans, modern and all white.  I guessed that they must be gypsies.

I was most interested.  I would value talking to these people.  In my mind they were romanticized.  At home I shared this with Claudie, my partner, and was confronted with what I imagine is a standard French reaction: “Oh no, you don’t go near them.  There are criminal elements among these gitanos.  They’ll plunder you.  The municipality need to chase them away.”

I found this strange.  My experience of gypsies in South Africa was slight  –  “Madame Rose” in a caravan on the outskirts of the town where she would read your tarot cards or your palm or divine your future in a crystal ball.  For me it was something exotic to colour the dusty streets of the town.

In France, Claudie points out, the gitanos in the media.  They are mainly entertainers.  An example is Kenji, handsome, talented and popular with the young people.

 

Over the years I have gathered fragments about the gitanos or Romi, as they are called.  In the French media there is clearly an effort to give recognition to them.  One can read about the gypsies on the internet and there will be some surprises.  They have, of course, been romanticized by writers as mysterious and intriguing outsiders.  There is a history of 1,500 years, the ethnic researchers tell us.  These people, they say, have a DNA and language traits originting in Hindustan.  As they moved west, it became convenient to gather in Egypt; hence, the name gypsies.

There is a brutal irony in this history:  after years of careful research, the origin of the gypsies is stated as Indo-Aryan.  The word Aryan was, of course, used by the Nazis to denote their own pure blood.  There was a systematic attempt to genocide the gypsies, either in the death camps or by means of summary executions in remote regions.  The estimates of fatalities have been difficult to establish and the figure of 220,000 is more or less agreed on, though some say it is much higher.

If the gypsies of Europe and later North and South America, are fascinating people, many of their numbers do not send their children to local school, preferring to educate them in the traditions.  They regard their past with a fierce pride.  They are loosely associated with the Catholic Church, though the practice of divination is frowned upon by the Church.  Sarah is their patron saint, the woman-servant who accompanied Mary, Mary Magdeline and Joseph of Arimathea to the Camargue in the south of France.  So the legend goes.

It is perhaps understandable that I don’t share the standard French attitudes to the gypsies.  I keep discovering how much music that I love comes from these people.  This is especially true of flamenco music, but popular music like the Gypsy Kings is a firm favourite.  I discovered that this group is in fact French, with a history of persecution in Franco’s Spain.  The grand parents of the members of this group could not have known that they had escaped the frying-pan to leap into the fire.  In a few years the Germans occupied France, though the south was relatively free until November of 1942.  These refugee families survived the war.

At the summit of these musicians is Mantas de Plata, the Hands of Platinum, regarded as the greatest of the flamenco guitarists.  He is a musical tsunami.

© Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

July, 2020

 

Source

Wikipedia Gypsies

You Tube Manitas de Plata

You Tube Gypsy Kings  

 

Images

My graphics

 

#

 

Ratatouille

Two things have lifted me so that I celebrate … one is, last night at eight o’clock (written 23.3.20), the flat-dwellers of this block stood at their windows and began to bang their pots and pans, to clap and shout.  I joined them, moved to be human in this time of the pandemic.

The other is more homely and personal.  Over the years I enjoyed ratatouille when I could get hold of it.  In the Côte d’Azur I noticed an unusual range of ratatouille on the supermark shelf.  My discovery is that ratatouille originated in Nice, around the corner from me, and is also called ratatouille niçoise.  From there it became characteristic of Provençal cuisine and then, of course, a favourite worldwide.

A small thing, you might say.  Taste it.  It becomes big.

The start of the ecstasy

 

The moment of taste

 

The bonjon variation

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

(written 23.3.20). Scheduled for July, 2020

 

Sauce

Wikipedia ratatouille

 

Images

Wikipedia

Chagall

 

A Western Caper after the first mouthful of ratatouille

 

Street art, Jongno-gu

Jongno-gu is an area (“gu”) near the City Hall, the centre of Seoul.  My visit there was by chance, but years later, it stays with me, especially too, because of the sculptures in the streets.  Sadly, I have no names for the artists.

I was intrigued by the influence of Western abstraction in these works.

This rather gloomy figure is perhaps an echo of the tradition of grotesque art in Korea.

This balletic equestrian figure is probably an image from Korean mythology .

I was particularly impressed by this family group, expressively done in sandstone, by an artist whose work is well-known, I am told.

 

At the Asian Business Centre, an elegantly-designed skyscraper, I saw this sheet metal figure, probably three storeys high. I couldn’t help wondering what the symbolism might be.

Quite often one sees, on the pavement at the entrances of buildings, boulders like this with the name of the relevant company.

Outside the Chinese Presbyterian Church, still in Jongno-gu, there was a series of sacred images.   This was one.

 

 

©  Will

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules,

January, 2020

 

My photographs

 

Greek ceramics at MACM

 

I realized on my first visit to the Museum of Classical Art at Mougins (MACM) that a single visit would be woefully inadequate.  I share some of the Greek ceramics I saw there.

The figures on this amphora from the 6th-century b.c. show Hercules in action with Géryon, the king of the Baléares.  The form and colour choices show how advanced this art was even before the golden age of Greek art.

This was also a piece from the 6th-century showing a duel happening over a fallen warrior.  Men and women look on.  This probably portrays the local history of the time.

The image here is that of the sea god Poseidon who is crushing Polybole with a rock, while Athena and an Olympian god battle with a giant.  480-400 b.c.

Here two warriors battle on the blessing of dolphins. 480-400 b.c.

The images on this plate is known to have been done by a well-known artist of the time.  The style, the knowledgeable say, is characteristic.  It is a plate of flat fish with a bowl of fish sauce called garum.  To complete this seafood platter we see mussels and shrimp.  6th-century b.c.

 

The owl figure, important in Greek mythology, is surrounded by olive leaves.  400 b.c.

This owl motif on a pot is also a product of the 6th-century b.c.  Perhaps it was images like this that inspired artists like Picasso to sketch and paint their owl images.

In the striking framing of this polychrome ceramic plate we see the visage of Dionysus.  It is interesting to me that the expression is sad, especially when you think that the cult of this Greek-Roman god was known for its passion, sensuality and outragous rituals.

Need we say that much of what we value comes from these people?

© Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

January, 2020

 

Source and images

MACM Musée d’art Classique de Mougins. Collection Famille Levette. Mougins 2011.

 

 What is particulary fascinating about this museum is that throughout there is modern art alluding to the ancient art.  Here is a ceramic plate made by Picasso in 1956.  He spent his last 12 years in Mougins.  The model was Jacqueline.

 

 

Renault and the German Occupation

Claudie, my partner, has a 19-year-old Renault Twingo, probably the oldest in the parking area.  I have joked about her number plate, saying it belongs to AvW – André van Wyk.  In 1972 Renault changed their icon for cars.

Renault though, has a shadow in its history.  The Germans did not only occupy countries with their ideology.  They forced these countries to contribute to the war machine.  Historians have estimated that 60% of the national income of France was plundered by the Germans.  Before the war, Renault had been a successful manfacturer of vehicles.  With the amnesty of the Vichy government, Renault became one of the foremost collaborators.  Car parts and ready-made vehicles left the country for Germany.  Collaboration, it seemed to a majority of the French, seemed to be the ticket for survival.  The French and the Hungarians were the most willing collaborators amongst the occupied nations, especially too, in the rounding up of Jews for the death camps in Germany and elsewhere.

After the war, the factory bosses were charged in French courts.  Some were executed.  Some sat in prison for years.  The Renault factories were nationalised and only later did they return to being in private ownership.

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

June, 2020

 

Source

Ian Ousby:  The Occupation  (Pimlico, 1997)

 

My photographs

 

See also

Car badges on  http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com    24.5.2020

Three pieces of music

It is a strange sense I sometimes get of being entirely alone with an experience and yet still wanting to share it with others.  The reader will have to go to a bit of trouble with this post by looking up the three pieces on You Tube.  I would suggest that, if you don’t know the music, that you listen more than once.  Then too, there will be those who will say I don’t feel like sad music.  Fine.  For me the music goes through sadness and out at the other end.  But I suppose it is a matter of taste.

Rachmaninoff’s Tears“or in French Les Larmes.  I love the way the motif begins so simply and gradually portrays emotions of complexity, returning to the soft fall of the theme.

Schubert’s Trio, Op. 100, andante.  Like many others, I became aware of this music in seeing Kubrik’s film Barry Lyndon.  It is used in a funeral scene, lending a brave sadness.

Yanni’s One Man’s Dream.  I first heard this music years ago in the free movement group I belonged to.  It was an experience to move freely to this music.

© Will 

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

June, 2020

 

Images

Robert Delaunay

 

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