Month: March 2011

Life as a Nunnery

I am aware it looks like I’ve been lured “to the other side”, also known as “the great and frightful RL”. Sadly – or happily, depends which way you look or squint at it -, however, I am still here, somewhere, stalking better updated blogs and other such online haunts. But yes, I have been busy and still am and still will be for a while, so, dear internet void, do expect scarce updates and please do not hold a grudge against me because of that… The good thing is that I am slightly more active on tumblr, where I can rapidly post (or, more likely, reblog from keener fellow tumbleloggers) an exciting picture or two and then run back to my ever mounting piles of work.

Have I been up to fun things, as well? Why, yes, bits and pieces, here and there, I’d say, mainly in the few breaks I’ve had from trying to escape the bone-crushing jaws of the educational system. For one, I’ve purchased the wonderful volume two of Kaori Yuki’s latest manga, Grand Guignol Orchestra. Some might remember that I reviewed the first volume here… Well, the second volume was just as good as the first one and definitely worth every penny, since Yuki remains not only an amazing and imaginative storyteller, but also a most talented and entrancing visual artist.

In vol 2, some of the mysteries surrounding the main characters start to get cleared up, only to have more secrets and mysteries jump at you from behind the next manga frame. 🙂 All of this is most satisfying to me as a reader, as I’m usually not happy with a book/comic/film/anything with a storyline unless it keeps me guessing right until the very end. 🙂 So yes, go buy this manga or any of Kaori Yuki’s works, RIGHT NOW! None of her mangas has disappointed me so far… (Gods, they should be paying me for all the free advertising, right? But I simply can’t help it. xD)

For another thing, I’ve been watching… well, stuff. A lot of Jan Svankmajer, of course, but I’m not going to give in to the temptation to rant about all his wonderful short films. Instead, I’m going to embed a nifty little video that pretty much speaks for itself. It’s “a trailer for a non-existent Jan Svankmajer Collection consisting of many short clips from five of his full-length films”, as its maker describes it, and it’s the best “promotional vid” for Czech Surrealism I’ve seen so far:

There are too many of Svankmajer’s shorts that I’d recommend, but, quite unfortunately, not many of them can be found on-line. “The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope” is one of the rare exceptions, and so I’m embedding it too. Note: I would have embedded it full-length, but LiveJournal won’t let me, since it apparently thinks my vodpod&viddler permalinks are unsafe. Therefore, I have provided a YouTube link at the end of this wonderful paragraph. Dx There’s a bit of text that features in the film, and there are no subtitles for it, but it’s not that big of a deal, since that’s just a quotation (translated into Czech, of course) from E.A. Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”: […] the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of REVOLUTION, perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill-wheel. It might be worth mentioning, though, that it is that quotation from Poe that got the film banned in the former Czechoslovakia in 1983. You can watch the film here on YouTube, if you want.

But Svankmajer’s stuff isn’t the only thing I’ve been watching. I’ve also continued my obsessive need for German Expressionism, which I’ve fed with a good dose of uncanny directed by Richard Oswald and featuring surreally gorgeous Conrad Veidt (the picture on Wiki is crap, though – check out this one instead :D). I’m talking about the 1919 film Eeerie Tales/ Unheimliche Geschichten, presenting adaptations of five classic horror stories: “The Apparition” by Anselma Heine, “The Hand” by Robert Liebmann, “The Black Cat” by E.A. Poe, “The Suicide Club” by R.L. Stevenson and “The Spook” by Richard Oswald. As always, I was stunned by the impeccable mime-acting required by silent films and always dutifully provided by silent film actors. Oh, and you can watch the movie on YouTube, here.


[screencap from “Eerie Tales”, “The Suicide Club” section]

That’s mostly it, I should say. But since I’m such a nice and generous blogger, I won’t leave you just like that, great internet void. Oh, no. I’ll leave you with a nice little animated gif of yours truly running berserk. Literally. 🙂

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