Noureddin Zarrinkelk

Noureddin ZarrinkelkI just came across a brief, but interesting report on renown Iranian animation filmmaker and illustrator Noureddin Zarrinkelk’s recent appearance at Dartmouth College. The story in The Dartmouth begins by noting that,

In 1986, during the thick of the Iran-Iraq war, Iranian animator Noori Zarrinkelk visited Dartmouth for the first time to give a presentation on his work. Zarrinkelk returned to the College last Friday—over 20 years later and with Iran once again in the news—to give a similar presentation in Loew Auditorium. Zarrinkelk screened five of his films, which express the need for global peace and understanding, as well as two others from contemporary Iranian animators.

Unfortunately, the piece tends to be rather superficial, but it did lead me to check out  Zarrinkelk’s website, which announces that,

The 9th exhibition of the Association of Illustrators of Children’s Books is held for commemoration of Nouredin Zarrin Kelk. The exhibition is organized to appreciate the activities of the father of Iran’s animation, in Momayez Gallery of the Iranian Artists’ Forum, from Monday May 29, for 6 days.

It also includes a brief tribute to Zarrinkelk by Borivoj Dovnikovic Bordo, one of the founders of the Zagreb School of Animation.

The Soloist’s Synesthesia Sequence

Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. in The Soloist

I went to see Joe Wright’s The Soloist mainly because it was based on the book by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez; I haven’t read the book, but I do recall reading his initial column about Nathaniel Ayers, the homeless cellist which the film is about. (Lopez’s  columns were one of the things I missed most after I left Los Angeles in late 2003.) Though I think the film suffers from a sometimes rather self-conscious technique, in the end it has more pluses than minuses; and one of the surprising and unexpected  pluses is an abstract sequence depicting  Ayers’ synesthesia when he listens (pictured above) to the opening movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.  Here are three images from the sequence:

The Soloist: Synesthesia Sequence

The Soloist: Synesthesia Sequence

The Soloist: Synesthesia SequenceThe sequence was the work of Double Negative, the London-based special effects house which also worked on Wright’s Atonement. Although the film’s credits give Andy Hague sole credit, Double Negative’s website notes:

[Steve Wright] was inspired by the abstract films of the 1970’s, in particular the work of Stan Brakhage and Len Lye when it came to the Synesthesia sequence, where musical genius, Ayers, visualises music as colour.

Double Negative’s VFX Supervisor, John Moffatt, supported by VFX Producer, Emma Larsson and Executive Producer, Melissa Taylor, conceptualised a simple [approach] using coloured lights, crystals and glass. Elements were shot in a dark tent on a parking lot and Moffatt worked closely with VFX film editor Andy Hague, to create a sequence that seemed to be moving and changing colour with the music.

Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany

Donald Duck in the German version of “The Golden Helmet.”The Wall Street Journal just published the above-titled article by Susan Bernofsky about the popularity of Donald Duck comic books in Germany, especially among adults. She notes, “Just as the French are obsessed with Jerry Lewis, the Germans see a richness and complexity to the Disney comic that isn’t always immediately evident to people in the cartoon duck’s homeland.”

She adds that the Micky Maus comic books sell an average of 250,000 a week, even besting Superman. Also, “A lavish 8,000-page German Donald Duck collector’s edition has just come out, and despite the nearly $1,900 price tag, the publisher, Egmont Horizont, says the edition of 3,333 copies is almost completely sold out.”

In summing up, she further notes that,

Micky Maus became popular entertainment among a newly politicized generation who saw the comics as illustrations of the classic Marxist class struggle. A nationally distributed newsletter put out by left-leaning high school students in 1969 described Dagobert (Scrooge) as the “prototype of the monocapitalist,” Donald as a member of the proletariat, and Tick, Trick and Track [Huey, Louie and Dewey] as “socialist youth” well on their way to becoming “proper Communists.” Even Frankfurt School philosopher Max Horkheimer admitted to enjoying reading Donald Duck comics before bed.