The A To Z Of SFF: H Is For Howl’s Moving Castle

It was inevitable that the Curious Crew would talk about a Studio Ghibli film at some point. And what better example than there be than Miyazaki’s adaptation of Diana Wynne-Jone’s novel? An explicitly anti-war film that absorbs, refracts and re-projects the source text (already a thing of beauty) into a rare and remarkable piece of fantasy fiction. If you’ve never seen a Ghibli film… start here!


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The A To Z Of SFF: A Is For Aeon Flux (the animated series)


 

A female assassin clad in leather straps, dealing in extreme violence, having sex whenever she feels like it with multiple partners… did we mention this was an animated series that went out on MTV in the early 90s?

Aeon Flux is a strange mixture – a kinky, arty mashup of Euro sci-fi style and arch, deliberately impenetrable storytelling. Rob and Clive try to figure out what the hell was going on…


 

Humblebraggery

I tend not to talk about The Day Job on X&HT. I’m always aware of the potential downfalls of letting things slip about the paid gig, particularly if things aren’t going so well. But for once, I’ve had a couple of bits of good news, so I figured I should share them with you.

(Also, of course, yr. humble author is aware that the blog has been of late little more than a shop front for The A To Z Of SFF. Will work on trying to retweak the balance, honest guv).

First up, there’s been news of a rediscovered piece of cinematic history, as a 1928 short, “Sleigh Bells”, featuring Oswald the Rabbit has been unearthed by the BFI. What’s the big deal? Well, Oswald is the precursor to a certain famous cartoon mouse. You know the one. Red shorts. Ears that point the same way no matter which way his head’s pointing.

The 4K scans on this bit of 16mm print that some sharp-eyed researcher dug up from the vaults was carried out by yours truly. To give you an idea of the sort of resolution I was working at, 4K is normally the preserve of the biggest of big-budget blockbusters. It’s a slow process, which has to take place at a glacial six frames per second. However, the end result is good enough to be projected in cinemas–which is exactly what’s happening this Christmas. It will be screened on 12th December as part of a programme of Disney shorts at the BFI Southbank. It’s something of a big deal, and I’m pleased and proud to have been involved in the project.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34711495

Meanwhile, documentarian Chris Barnett interviewed me as part of his MA for a short film he’s making on the subject of colour. We chatted in the bowels of Bristol University’s Film Department, amongst old clip bins and Steenbeck film editing flatbeds. I don’t often sit on the other side of the camera, and wasn’t convinced that I was doing that well. Chris, however, seemed happy enough, to the point where he restarted the cameras after the end of the shoot to catch some more of my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.

Here, see what you think.

There’s more of the interviews that Chris shot for his project on his site, The Dark Art Of Light. I recommend it if you want more insight into the strange world in which I make a living. Oh, and kudos to him for getting a distinction in his MA. I’m sure it was down to me…

Finally, I was floored to find out that my interview was featured as the opening link on this week’s Tao Of Color newsletter, which goes out to the colourist community every week. Humbled, flattered, and frankly a little scared now.

There, enough bragging for one week, don’t you think?

The A To Z Of SFF: A Is For Abiogenesis

Rob And Clive take a look at a neat little SF short that elegantly describes one way life on earth may have come about. Science in our science-fiction? Well, maybe just a tiny bit. We can’t be too educational, can we?


 

Check out the full film. All 4 minutes of it!

 

The A To Z OF SFF: A Is For AKIRA

Akira. The word that for many fans of a certain age describes Japanese anime. Kinetic, violent and surreal, the film and book still has the power to shock, move and excite.

Rob and Clive explore the film and its continued relevence to anime culture.

Warning: contains excessive yelling of the names “Tetsuooooo!” and “Kanedaaaa!”

And if you need a gentle reminder of what we’re yabbering on about, the whole thing is on YouTube…