The late 40’s is well represented in Danny Wu‘s American: An Odyssey to 1947. Not only is the socio-political climate expertly explored but also we see who the movers and shakers were for the time. That also includes how they affected each other. From the entertainment scene to the White House, the influence feels like something I would watch in a high school Social Studies class.
The reason I was drawn to this work is that I’m a huge fan of Orson Welles. His early life is well accounted for, and while I’m not expecting a complete biography, what’s told covers all the basics and perhaps a little bit more!
David Walsh, writing for the World Socialist Web Site, best sums up the entire film in the press release: “In a short period of time, [Wu] has developed an important understanding of some of the most vexing problems of the mid-20th century.” He also added that this film is evidence that “a new generation of artists, free from the cynicism and many of the prejudices of the past several decades, is emerging.”
This movie’s animation manages to deliver sense of pathos a live-action take may not deliver.
Opening April 22 in select theatres across Canada
The beauty behind the animated biography titled Charlotte lies in how the film imagines constructing this artist’s famous paintings. From a stroke or a wet wash, those markings convey an image that haunted her mind. She is an Expressionist painter and her works depict a world collapsing upon itself due to war. When she’s not making a social commentary about her world, this woman is looking deep at her own turmoil.
Anyone of Jewish faith, sympathisers included, had to go into hiding. Charlotte Salomon (voiced by Keira Knightley) was sent away.
This film humbly chronicles the key moments of her life and what she witnessed to inspire her to create the world’s first graphic novel. Some of her works are multi-layered. A transparency holding text gives the art an added context, unlike how an onomatopoeia adds sound to that still image. The dialogues often told a truism.
This issue is an okay jumping in point to sample this universe. After rereading both issues and grooving to this Evil Dead style narrative, I’ll have to revisit the other works to remind myself of all that’s transpired.
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Hose Comics Available Now
Masters of Comic Book Horror Mike Mignola and Chris Golden have an alternate history fantasy horror universe I’d love to see get a cinematic treatment. There were plans for it once, but it was abandoned; nothing’s been done to bring it back into production since. Their series which began with Baltimore (2007) has everything I’d love to see when turning World War II into a Weird War.
Anyone who knows Joe Golem will have a leg up, and coming soon is Imogen of the Wyrding Way and The Golem Walks Among Us. With Cojacaru the Skinner #2 out today, this two issue mini-series makes a lot more sense than as individual issues.
This seminal hero is a different type of King Arthur. She’ll arise from the dead (in Europe’s darkest hour) to defeat the dark forces that’s tearing this continent apart. The Nazis are well known for their interest in using the supernatural to conquer the world and I’m loving how Mignola and Golden have a concept that’s reminiscent of Sergei Lukyanenko‘s Night Watch.
T-34 is not your Hogan’s Heroes. This Russian made film about such a resilient war machine is more about the people who can drive this tank, than anything else. It’s less about comedy or propaganda. The latter is inevitable, but more often than not, no matter which country the film is made in, the focus is often about the brotherhood forged.
Here, Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov) is in the front lines. He quickly gets promoted to tank commander and despite being able to defeat a German Panzer attack, he and driver Stepan Vasilyonok (Viktor Dobronravov) are captured. They are sent to a concentration camp. Three years later, he meets his rival, Klaus Jäger (Vinzenz Kiefer) and is “coerced” to take part in local war games.
A lot of research went into producing In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に). This anime is now out on home video, released by Shout! Factory on Nov 14th, and the bonus material reveals why this film deserves high marks for not only its story but also in historical accuracy. Not many productions go into exquisite detail and I was amazed.
For comparison, this release also offers a 12-page insert of the manga by Fumiyo Kōno it was based on. The three-volume set is available for purchase and it goes into greater detail for specific set pieces. I have reviewed this film when it made its rounds at theatres (it can be found here) and to watch the featurettes certainly made me appreciate this product more.
I have to agree with the points answered in the interview with Sunao Katabuchi about how this movie redefines what anime can do. Masao Maruyama says this product he helped produce is a very cultural. Although this genre has never been limiting in what tales can be explored — anyone who has watched enough product over the decades can find gems — my choice in what I love to see has been more with historical or biographical works than the usual fantastical material.