Volume 2, Issue 1
Joel and Ethan Coen: Authors of the Obscure
Don Bluth: Promotion or Devolution of Animation
The Thin Red Line: Revealing the Truth about
Pushing the Boundaries in Cinema
Many times in Hollywood cinema, filmmakers will go by the book in order to attract crowds and make money. Unfortunately, many times these filmmakers will forget that much of the fun in creating a motion picture, is to create one that challenges the way the viewer percieves the world, at least a little, after they watch it. Many independant filmmakers and actors, and student filmmakers have more freedom to do this, but some auteurs or even some films themselves will still crop up and make the audience think. This issue is about such auteurs and films.
In the first article, Andrew Clayman looks at the conditions behind the efforts of Gilliam to get his film Brazil on screen and viewed by the general public. Usually, when faced with the prospect of possibly having to fight one of the big Hollywood distributors one may just give up, or if they do fight, the general thinking is the big studio with the money and power will overturn a director and run a movie the way they see fit. Yet, Clayman says, Gilliam, the Director for Brazil, held his ground for the sake of his auteurist vision of the movie, and won. Thus, Gilliam, held out his own vision and won even when the studios hated his movie.
Ryan Kerr has the next article about the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan, a directing, producing, and writing team (among other things) who have become known for their low-buget like movies. The brothers, according to Kerr, try to stay away from mainstream Hollywood as much as possible to keep the independent feel of their movies. Even though they try to stay away from the mainstream, however, they have made such well-known and successful movies like Fargo, and more recently O Brother, Where Art Thou? and continue to make films in thier own unique style.
The third article is about Don Bluth, written by myself, and how he pushes the boundaries of what is expected to be seen in animated movies. Bluth broke away from Walt Disney Studios in 1980 and created his own independant animation studio, where he and several other talented artists sought to reproduce the lifelikeness that they felt Disney had originally strived for. The studio made such films as The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, and more recently Anastasia, and Titan A.E. In all these movies, attention to details are what makes the movies enjoyable, but at the time I wrote this paper I was unsure if all his work was making any kind of difference in animation. Recently however with Disney brining out movies like Atlantis and even from the promos for Spirit: Stallion of the Chimirron (sp?) that there is more and more Bluth-like attention to detail being used.
Fourth is Beth Rypel with her article on Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin seemed to have a desire to go against what people want to see for the sake of comedy, or whatever else he was trying to do. Rypel talks in her paper about how many of his routines onscreen were at least "pinkish", something that Americans in the era of WWII did not want to see or think about. Chaplin had to put up with being outcast from his poularity in movies, at least for a while, as the government and others accused him of being a Communist. This actor/auteur continually pushed the lines of what was deemed appropriate to make a point about his views on life.
Lastly, Jon Wagner writes about the movie The Thin Red Line and how it is able to challenge audience notions of war in film verses reality. Wagner points out that this movie tends to make an effort to mirror the horrors/realities of war in real life such as setting the movie up in a battle, but not have a coherent storyline to it. Also to have people with human reactions, not just the big military hero we so often see in Hollywood war films. Jon argues that the Thin Red Line challenges it's audience to change it thinking about how they percieve war films and war in general.
Sarah Mitchell - Editor.