Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

Titian: Diana and Callisto (1556-59)

Titian: Diana and Actaeon (1556-59)

Titian: The Death of Actaeon (1556-59)

Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

The National Gallery in London has acquired three of Titian’s paintings based on Ovid’s myth of Diana and Actaeon: Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto and The Death of Actaeon. As recounted by Ovid in Metamorphoses, the hunter Actaeon, chancing upon the chaste Diana bathing naked with her nymphs, is transformed by the vengeful moon goddess into a stag, who is then killed by his own hounds.

One of the works commissioned to celebrate this exhibition, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, is a beautiful and mystical short film that provides a contemporary retelling of Titian’s Diana and Actaeon. Metamorphosis was directed by the talented writer-director duo, Tell No One, also known as Luke White and Remi Weekes. Instead of the bath scene that Titian depicts, the story unfolds at a countryside estate. The film does a tremendous interpretation of the original myth and painting; at times the film’s visual effects are so stunning they could be paintings themselves.

Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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A Krampus Carol: The Smouldering Dark Recesses of Yuletide Revelry

A Krampus Carol: The Smouldering Dark Recesses of Yuletide Revelry

A Krampus Carol is a wickedly humorous three-minute stop-motion animated short film by Anthony Bourdain, a film that smoulders in the dark recesses of holiday revelry. You know all about Santa: the traditional winter gift-bringer with cheeks like a rose and a nose like a cherry. Now meet the Krampus, an evil, boozy goat-horned menace with a monstrous tongue, who whips children into shape all around Europe. Krampus is Santa Claus’ whip-toting Christmas sidekick. According to Austrian legend, Krampus joins Santa, tending to the children on Santa’s naughty list. No lumps of coal here, though. Instead, Krampus licks and whips children into shape with switches and rusty chains, before dragging them in baskets to a fiery place below.

A Krampus Carol: The Smouldering Dark Recesses of Yuletide Revelry

(Best Watched in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Spike Jonze’s I’m Here: A Hauntingly Heartbreaking Robot Romance

Spike Jonze’s I’m Here: A Hauntingly Heartbreaking Robot Romance

I’m Here is a 30-minute short film (HD full-version presented here) by filmmaker Spike Jonze, a film that’s haunting, beautiful, whimsical and overwhelmingly heartbreaking all at the same time.  I’m Here gives an interesting look at an alternative world, where robotic humanoids live and work alongside the regular human population.  The simple, elegant visual storytelling that Jonze employs is surprisingly affecting, although in a potentially dark way.  The film is full of originality and the kind of mysterious mythology that will have sci-fiction enthusiasts wishing they could spend more time in the world he created.

Spike Jonze’s I’m Here: A Hauntingly Heartbreaking Robot Romance

(Best Watched Here in HD Full-Screen Mode)

An on-line version of the film is available to view here.

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George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington is David Gordon Green’s acclaimed impressionistic Southern Gothic debut film, which one reviewer described as “within a heart-shot of William Faulkner.”  Green won the Best First Film prize from the New York Film Critics, the Discovery Award at Toronto and the Best Director Prize at The Newport film Festival.

David Gordon Green’s feature debut is a seamless blend of subjectivity, pseudo-documentary, evocation of childhood and mythopoeia.  In an impoverished small town in North Carolina, various misfit and poor children converse.  “Look at this place,” one boy says to another. “It looks like two tornadoes came through here.”  The town is dilapidated; one of the “tornadoes” may have been the Great Depression.  Shots of railroad tracks suggest dreams of getting out.  But during the course of the film, death hovers: a boy dies; as a result, another boy feels that God’s judgment is close; another boy almost dies; a boy’s dog dies.  The underlying theme of George Washington is clearly “the loss of all things.”

The videos presented here include the hypnotic opening sequence of David Gordon Green’s auspicious debut film George Washington, another video from the film described as an influential scene in modern cinema and an interview with Charlie Rose, where Green talks about his film George Washington.

George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington: An Influential Scene in Modern Cinema

Charlie Rose: David Gordon Green Talks About “George Washington”

(Charlie Rose Interview: March 8, 2001)

A detailed review of George Washington can be read in The New York Times here.

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