The Familiar Universe

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I was watching  Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life a few months ago when, during a segment about the Universe, the spectacular image of a nebula appeared on the screen.

The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) Photo: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO)

Something in the image struck me as very familiar, and not because I knew about the nebula.  Something in the arrangement of colors. It was as I’ve seen something like this in real life. And then I remembered.

Grand Prismatic Spring,Yellowstone National Park

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the world’s third largest hot spring and I had the pleasure of seeing it with my own eyes in 2008. I did not have the opportunity to see it from above but even from the ground it looks impressive. Here is a photo I took:

The the red, yellow and green hues on the sides are created by pigmented single-celled organisms living in the hot water. And even though you can’t find the green hue in the Helix Nebula picture, you do find it in another similar nebula.

The Ring Nebula (M57) Photo: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)

This type of nebula is called planetary nebula , because these objects looked like planets when first discovered.

Funny thing is that while I was thinking about how the Helix Nebula looks a lot like the Grand Prismatic Spring, Malick throws in an actual image of the spring just a few minutes later (when the life on earth appears).

I see what you did the Terrence Malick. You obviously stole the idea from my mind and put it on the screen


Categories: Uncategorized

Super Bugs Bunny Cart

I was watching some Bugs Bunny cartoons yesterday, when I noticed a type of shot that would be very familiar to everybody that has ever played a driving game or 3rd person action/adventure. Keep in mind that this cartoon was made in 1948.

Bugs Bunny Rides Again (Friz Freleng, 1948)

It’s amazing how much this shot looks like it’s taken out of a computer/video game.

And for those wondering about the context of that shot, here is the visual gag that it introduces.


Categories: Uncategorized

Default guy looking to score on facebook

Sputnik is a short film made by my friend and former university colleague Cristina Groșan. Find out more about her film, see when you might be able to see it, or just give it a like on its Facebook Page.

While visiting that page a few days ago, I noticed one of the two screen caps she posted from her film.

Sputnik (Cristina Groșan, 2010)

It instantly reminded me of a pretty popular Facebook: the default profile picture you get when you join the social networking site (shown here in the aspect ratio of  a 16:9, to match the film )

Default Facebook guy

I do think I might be the only person to see any resemblance between the two images. Or maybe not.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Lap

Another famous painting in Chauvet Cave is “The Venus and The Sorcerer“. It consists of a bison and an exaggerated depiction of a pubic triangle and a vulva, painted on a conical pendant hanging from the cave ceiling. Such exaggerated depictions of female genitals are common in prehistoric art, as evidenced by the large number of Venus Figurines uncovered all over the world.

The Venus and The Sorcerer. Photo by Yanik Le Guillou

While working on the last post I remembered some other images that impressed me in Guy Maddin’s “My Winnipeg”, mainly the recurring images where the narrator compares the confluence of the two rivers ( The Forks ) around which Winnipeg was built  with his mother’s lap.

"the Forks"

"the Lap"

"the Fur"

The images appear in this exact order, and repeated a few times:

The woolly, furry, frosty lap.
The Forks!
The animals, hunters, boatways,
trains and Mother.
These are the reasons we’re here.
These are these reasons we’ve stayed.
These are the reasons I’m leaving.

These are the very things that are going to
help me get out of here.
The forks, the lap, the fur.
The forks, the lap, the fur.

Also worth noting that The forks were at times a meeting place for hunters, trading in bison fur.

My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)

 My mother. A force as strong
as all the trains in Manitoba.
As perennial as the winter.
As ancient as the bison.
As supernatural as the Forks themselves.
Her lap, a magnetic pole,
a direction from which I can’t turn for long.

(Note: the above quotes are all taken from the film)

Categories: Guy Maddin, Werner Herzog

Horse Heads

June 16, 2011 3 comments

I had the pleasure of watching Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” last week, at the Transylvania International Film Festival. It’s really nice having a pretty large film festival in your hometown.

For his documentary, Herzog got a special permission from the French authorities to film in Chauvet Cave. The cave contains the oldest paintings known to man ( aprox. 30.000 years old) and one of the most famous of them is the “Panel of the Horses”. I don’t have access to the shots from the actual film, but I do have this picture of it (via wikipedia).

When I saw it, it instantly reminded me of another great film I once saw at the film festival a few years before, “My Winnipeg”.

My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)

And yes, you should watch My Winnipeg. My jaw was locked in the ‘drop’ position the whole film. And don’t let the above image scare you, the film will actually make you smile.

My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007). Lovers out on a winter stroll at the frozen horse-heads.



Categories: Guy Maddin, Werner Herzog

Totaly NSFW dance

After I saw Tetsuo a few years ago, I went around on the internet trying to make sense of what the hell I just saw.  I came across somebody that said the atmosphere of the film and more specifically the girlfirend’s dance somehow reminded him of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

So, now that I have this blog, let’s have a look.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

In both scenes, our main character has a dream (vision or hallucination) where their romantic interest dances in a way that makes her seem possessed. The evil clone of Maria dances in a club where she twists the minds of the men there, while the Slaryman’s Girlfriend in Tetsuo…… plans on raping him. Both men are equally shocked by their visions.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

And yes, I will post the occasional bizarre or shocking image. Might as well get that out of the way from the start.

Still here

May 4, 2011 1 comment

I’ll be right back to regular posting as soon as my other laptop finally gets fixed and I move over there, as I no longer have space on this one for stockpiling movies to extract frames from.

Meanwhile, enjoy this nice shot from Inglourious Basterds.

Categories: Quentin Tarantino