Animation &Daily post &Miyazaki 12 Jan 2010 09:13 am

Eric Rohmer/Blue Meanies/Blue Sky/Fox/Mononoke

- One of my favorite directors died yesterday, Eric Rohmer was 89. He made 24 films over a period of 50 years with his principal work being his cycle of films entitled, Six Moral Tales.

The third in the series, My Night at Maud’s (Ma Nuit Chez Maud) (1969), brought him international success and recognition. It was nominated for 2 Oscars, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Screenplay.

That film was seminal to my thoughts about filmmaking; I’ve seen it at least a dozen times. His film My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (1987) opened my eyes to a style of cutting that I used in my film Abel’s Island.

There was a time when I would wait excitedly anticipating his latest annual film. Unfortunately, his work slowed down somewhat in recent years. His last film, The Romance of Astree and Celadon (2007), was poorly distributed in the US, playing briefly in NY at the Anthology Film Archives.

I met him, only to shake his hand, at the New York Film Festival back in the early 80s. I’ll miss his presence in the world.


- From one of my favorite directors to Robert Zemeckis. News is that he has his cast. The Beatles will be played by the all-star team of Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter. Of course, as with all Hollywood gossip they’re still in negotiation.

Did you notice . . . This time Ringo gets to be the most handsome.

We mustn’t forget that Zemeckis wrote and directed the film I Want To Hold Your Hand as one of his earlier movies. He obviously has a thing for the Fab Four. Too bad he doesn’t have a thing for animation.


This morning’s NYTimes has an article about The Fantastic Mr. Fox and the run that’s being made against Up for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Read this article to find out what Jerry Beck has to say about it. This has gotten to be BIG Business. The $40 million film against the $175 million film.



The New York Times, on Monday, had an extiensive article on Blue Sky studios in Greenwich, Conn. The article addresses the fact that Blue Sky last year outgrossed the International box office of Pixar and Dreamworks with their very successful film, Ice Age 3: The Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The article may have been missed since it’s in the Media & Advertising section, not the Film section of the Times.


- This past weekend I watched Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke for about the fifth time. What a gorgeous, intelligent, adult animated film. This, to me, is the very highest of the canon of his films possibly tied with My Neighbor Totoro as my favorites. I love the open spirituality of the film, the conflict between those who want to preserve the earth vs those who want to exploit it. Neither side is a villain; both sides have their points. This, despite the fact, that the director so blatantly supports those who look to preserve the planet and its environs. It’s a film that just gets better, for me, with each viewing.

I could only wish that one day something as responsible as this comes from the US without our obviously commercializing and diminishing such a story. Soon, I hope to pull some frame grabs from this movie to take a closer look at some of the animation and background work.

8 Responses to “Eric Rohmer/Blue Meanies/Blue Sky/Fox/Mononoke”

  1. on 12 Jan 2010 at 9:27 am 1.Ray Kosarin said …

    Very sad to hear about Eric Rohmer–but also glad he had he chance to leave behind a lifetime’s worth of beautiful work while of this earth.
    He’s just about my favorite sort of artist. His films often seem light as air–just right, because anything heavier would injure the delicacy of what he and his character are looking at or going through. He’s quietly mischievous, and most interested in our dark side, but not with the elbow-in-the-ribs “Get it? People are duplicitous, and I’m so damn smart” swagger of Taratino or the Coen brothers.
    Rohmer loves his flawed characters and invites us to also something of a public service.

  2. on 12 Jan 2010 at 9:30 am 2.Ray Kosarin said …

    Last sentence above got garbled somehow in my clicking…!

    I’d meant to say that Rohmer loves his flawed characters and invites us to find ourselves in them. That’s beautiful art, if not also something of a public service.

  3. on 12 Jan 2010 at 1:53 pm 3.Larry Ruppel said …

    Eric Rohmer was truly a great director. Thank you for mentioning his passing. It’s a big story in France.

    On the very slightest of animation connections, his 1970 film “Claire’s Knee” (“Le Genou de Claire” in French) takes place on the shores of Lake Annecy.

    The scenery is quite beautiful. There are even a few shots of Annecy’s old town and its canals that should be very familiar with festival-goers.

  4. on 12 Jan 2010 at 3:12 pm 4.Dave Levy said …

    I love Claire’s Knee and had the pleasure of seeing it play at BAM last year in a retrospective screening. I still think about the film.

    Thanks for the round up Michael. Good post.

  5. on 12 Jan 2010 at 5:18 pm 5.Matt Jones said …

    I just watched FANTASTIC MR FOX today & was completely won over by it-as many I too was repelled by the early trailers & the ‘funky’ animation style but it works!
    Anderson’s cinematic style translates artfully to the animated form; all those symmetrical ‘tableau’ set-ups, characters standing close to cam. almost talking to it, the unique dialogue & deadpan delivery-it all works. Even the glaring celebrity voices seem to function. I was utterly charmed by Mr Fox and wouldn’t be surprised if he makes off with the Oscar!

  6. on 12 Jan 2010 at 6:28 pm 6.Eric Noble said …

    Oh lord, Robert Zemeckis is really going through with it? *Groans loudly* Oh jeez, this one is really going to hurt. I love The Beatles, and it hurts me when their work is desecrated (which is why I will never, EVER watch the Sgt. Pepper movie with the Bee Gees). Somebody needs to stop Bob Zemeckis.

  7. on 12 Jan 2010 at 7:54 pm 7.Pilsner Panther said …

    How is Zemeckis “desecrating” the Beatles? I seem to remember that there was a really awful Saturday morning Beatles cartoon with the usual bargain-basement animation by Filmation or some similar outfit. All four of them were alive at the time, so they must have signed off on it. They might have even done the voices themselves (anyone know)?

    My advice for my fellow Beatles fans is: stick with the music and their three first three theatrical films, and ignore all the hype and commercial exploitation… past or present.

  8. on 12 Jan 2010 at 11:37 pm 8.Grant said …

    Mr. Fox is one of the most juvenile films i’ve ever seen. It looks better as a series of stills, but as a film, it just doesn’t hold water. Typical of Anderson’s usually self indulgent scripts, which disrespects the audience by pretending to be smarter and/or more important than it really is. There’s no wonder his films have mostly failed, and it’s no wonder Mr. Fox continues this trend.

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