On this fine Christmas, I watched a very unusual animated neo-noir movie titled Renaissance. It was enjoyable even if not precisely appropriate for this Holy of Holy days. I’m sure Jesus would be understanding. Why can’t anyone make a good neo-noir Christmas special?
The Wikipedia Article on the Rennaissance.
A good review by A.J. MacReady.
I was also spending some quality time with Tim Boucher on his insightful blog. Here is one that particularly amused me partly because the funny quote he started off with.
God gets lonely too, you know
Three bears in the bed, and the little one said
“I’m crowded, roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out Two bears in the bed, and the little one said
“I’m crowded, roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out
One bear in the bed, and the little one said
– (from Sesame Street)
What I really found interesting was this diagram and a related quote.
I was wondering if there were any historical theological precedents wherein Jesus and Lucifer were two stages of the same entity. That is, Lucifer transforms into Jesus through a process of purification. Lucifer is thrown out of Heaven, descends like a meteor and burns, burns, burns, until one day he just cools off. At this point, he is transfigured, and rises into Heaven once again, like a rocket shot into space.
The quote is the third paragraph below the diagram, but I had the same exact thought when I saw the diagram. Lucifer, afterall, is an angel. Angels are direct manifestations, extensions even, of God. According to some sources, Lucifer fell because his loyalty was so strong to God. Lucifer coming into this world was the first time an aspect of God directly manifested on Earth, and Lucifer’s fall parallels that of Adam and Eve. Lucifer led the way for Mankind to fully enter this world of limits and suffering, and so likewise Jesus in becoming Christ is the Wayshower back to Heaven.
From a friend of mine:
ever get that sinking feeling? check out this surreal webpage
The Adventures of Mark Twain, released in the UK as Comet Quest, is a 1985 stop motion animated film directed by Will Vinton (best known for “The California Raisins” animation). After many years in television syndication, it was released on DVD in January 2006. The film features a series of vignettes extracted from several of Mark Twain‘s works, built around a plot that features Twain’s attempts to keep his “appointment” with Halley’s Comet. The concept was inspired by a famous quote by the author:
- “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”
Included are sketches taken from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Mysterious Stranger, The Damned Human Race, Injun Joe (briefly), The Diary of Adam and Eve (Letters from the Earth), Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven and a rendering of Twain’s first story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
A scene from the movie is often posted on the internet, sometimes without attribution as to where it came from. The scene is present on the DVD release, and shows the children meeting Satan (taken from The Mysterious Stranger)
Twain actually wrote multiple versions of this story, each unfinished and each involving the character of Satan. The first substantial version is commonly referred to as The Chronicle of Young Satan and tells of the adventures of Satan, the sinless nephew of the more familiar Satan, in an Austrian village in the Middle Ages. The story ends abruptly in the middle of a scene involving Satan entertaining a prince in India, suggesting Twain abandoned this piece before he finished writing it.
The second substantial version Twain attempted to write is known as Schoolhouse Hill which involves the familiar characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and their adventures with Satan, referred to in this version as “No. 44, New Series 864962”, and is set in America. Schoolhouse Hill is the shortest of the three versions.
The third version, called No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, returns to Medieval Austria and tells of No. 44’s mysterious appearance at the door of a print shop and his use of heavenly powers to expose the futility of mankind’s existence. This version also introduces an idea Twain was toying with at the end of his life involving a duality of the “self”, one being the “Waking Self” and the other being the “Dream Self”. Twain explores these ideas through the use of “Duplicates”, copies of the print shop workers made by No. 44. This version contains an actual ending, however the version is not considered as complete as Twain would have intended.
The movie was made mostly as an experiment, rather than to tell a certain story and therefore has a strong arbitrary and surreal atmosphere. It features two men, Proog (the elder and more experienced) and Emo (the younger and more nervous) living in a miraculous construction referred to only as ‘the Machine’; Proog tries to introduce Emo to its nature but the latter is reluctant and argues about its purpose. The creators originally intended for the movie to show the abstraction of a computer.
The final message is not easy to see due to the abstract nature of the movie and therefore some viewers criticized it as pointless and random, and worthy of attention only if seen as a demo. Other people have widely different interpretations of its meaning. This slashdot comment for example describes the viewpoint that Proog represents the logical half of the brain, while Emo is the creative half. Proog cannot abide imaginative, unpredictable fun in his so carefully crafted and isolated logical world, which is why he tries to dominate Emo and eventually attacks him. Another theory is connected to the theory of evolution, with Proog and the Machine representing multicellular life and DNA, whereas Emo represents a single mitochondria and cannot grasp the complexity of the Machine.
Bassam Kurdali, Director of Elephants Dream, explained the plot of the movie by saying  :
“The story is very simple-I’m not sure you can call it a complete story even-It is about how people create ideas/stories/fictions/social realities and communicate them or impose them on others. Thus Proog has created (in his head) the concept of a special place/machine, that he tries to “show” to Emo. When Emo doesn’t accept his story, Proog becomes desperate and hits him. It’s a parable of human relationships really-You can substitute many ideas (money, religion, social institutions, property) instead of Proog’s machine-the story doesn’t say that creating ideas is bad, just hints that it is better to share ideas than force them on others. There are lots of little clues/hints about this in the movie-many little things have a meaning-but we’re not very “tight” with it, because we are hoping people will have their own ideas about the story, and make a new version of the movie. In this way (and others) we tie the story of the movie with the “open movie” idea.”
The title ‘Elephants Dream’ is also ambiguous. The original title was to be Machina but was dropped due to pronunciation issues. One motivation for the title regarding the story was the concept of an Elephant in the room, referring to the (unspoken) fact that Proog’s precious world only exists for him.