Watch The Idea, the First Animated Film to Grapple with Big, Philosophical Ideas (1932)

A vague sense of disquiet settled over Europe in the period between World War I and World War II. As the slow burn of militant ultranationalism mingled with jingoist populism, authoritarian leaders and fascist factions found mounting support among a citizenry hungry for certainty. Europe’s growing trepidation fostered some of the 20th century’s most striking painterly, literary, and cinematic depictions of the totalitarianism that would soon follow. It was almost inevitable that this period would see the birth of the first deeply philosophical animated film, known as The Idea.

The Idea first emerged as a wordless novel in 1920, drawn by Frans Masereel. Masereel, a close friend of Dadaist and New Objectivist artist George Grosz, had created a stark, black-and-white story about the indomitable nature of ideas. Employing thick, aggressive lines obtained through woodcut printing, Masereel depicted a conservative political order’s fight against the birth of a new idea, which eventually flourished in spite of the establishment’s relentless attempts to suppress it.

Setting to work in 1930, a Czech film-maker named Berthold Bartosch spent two years animating The Idea. Bartosch’s visual style remained true to Masereel’s harsh, vivid lines. His version of the story, however, took a decidedly bleaker turn—one that was more reminiscent of the writings of his compatriot, Franz Kafka. Whereas Masereel believed that the purity of good ideas would overwhelm their opposition, Bartosch, working a decade closer to the Nazis’ ascendancy, was wary of such idealism.

Above, you can watch what film historian William Moritz has called "the first animated film created as an artwork with serious, even tragic, social and philosophical themes." Paired with a haunting score composed by Arthur Honegger, the 25-minute animation is a powerfully moving meditation on art, struggle, purity of thought, and populist savagery that remains untarnished after eight decades.

You can find other great animations in our collection, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

Note: This post originally appeared on our site in November, 2013. It was written by Ilia Blinderman. Follow him at @iliablinderman.

Related Content:

Watch Franz Kafka, the Wonderful Animated Film by Piotr Dumala

Orson Welles Narrates Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory

The Tale of the Fox: Watch Ladislas Starevich’s Animation of Goethe’s Great German Folktale (1937)

Watch <i>The Idea</i>, the First Animated Film to Grapple with Big, Philosophical Ideas (1932) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

Down in the Flood: Close-Up on “Housekeeping”

Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on MUBI. Bill Forsyth’s Housekeeping (1987) is playing October 18 – November 17, 2017 in the United Kingdom. 
On first viewing Bill Forsyth’s film Housekeeping (1987) I was somewhat unimpressed by its low-key television-movie feel; a small town family drama lacking cinematic spectacle, featuring relatively unknown actors. It seemed thrifty, in keeping with the unfussiness of the story’s central character, Sylvie. By contrast, Marilynne Robinson’s novel, on which the film is based, describes moments of fantastical prophecy, strengthened by the author’s knowledge of Scripture, in images of dead souls recovered from a deep lake resonant of the Bible’s account of the Flood and Apocalypse. Forsyth’s better-known Local Hero (1983), a comedy set in a remote Scottish village, gives viewers a meteor shower, the Northern Lights and Burt Lancaster descending from the sky, so the director’s use of Robinson’s text could certainly have reached for very different effects. 
Though the film retains the perspective of the book’s youthful narrator, Ruth, inclined to the imaginings of childhood, Forsyth makes no attempt to visualise these poetic evocations, and divests the township of Fingerbone of any overt religious associations, preferring to let the natural landscape present a majesty of its own, and working on the delicate personal bonds between the three protagonists. On closer inspection, though, Housekeeping belies an eloquent audiovisual arrangement, submerging profound aspects of the original material in an unpretentious style, leaving them to rise to the surface of their own accord. 
Sylvie, a young itinerant woman, returns to her hometown of Fingerbone to become the primary carer of her two nieces, Ruth (Sara Walker) and Lucille (Andrea Burchill), following the suicide of their mother. Like Robinson’s novel, and contrary to the melodramatics of the average ‘real life issues’ soap opera, Forsyth’s film makes no explicit reference to the mental health of Sylvie. But the history of spectacular death in the family, the symbolism of the lake which claimed the bodies of both Sylvie’s father and her sister—the former in the train accident that has become the town’s most famous episode—and the increasingly manifest unconventionality of Sylvie’s behavior (with actress Christine Lahti skillfully revealing layer beneath layer of her character, from untroubled eccentricity to painful self-awareness and misgivings about her relationships) suggest a shadowy realm populated by ghosts of the past that threatens to encompass the young girls. Lucille senses it, expressing her discomfort primarily in relation to the embarrassment it brings to her as a typical high schooler, and the townsfolk sense it.
Housekeeping
Water and flooding are here more simply but subtly associated with the irruption of different currents—of emotion; of memories of events, images and sounds—that risk pulling the characters into their undertow. While Ruth remarks that the family have always been comforted by the fact that their home was built on a hill and so less liable to floodwaters, they are nevertheless inextricably tied to the lake and continually drawn to it. Ruth and Sylvie spend days playing truant, idling down by the water, near the railroad bridge off which their grandfather’s train slipped “like a weasel sliding off a rock.”
Sylvie is eager to show Ruth a valley unknown to many among the mountainous surroundings, and accessible only by boat, which sees the pair staying out all night on the lake in a leaking vessel. This striking image is an intensification of a more humorous early scene when the family home is first flooded by several inches of water. Ruth’s relative acceptance of these commonly disruptive circumstances and her growing fascination with her aunt—whom we come to see, with both empathy and concern, as a reflection of her and her own mother—is transformed into the image of the two women on the perilous waters, under the railway tracks in the dead of night.
It is in this scene, too, that the evocative use of sound is made more apparent, and creates an ambiguity that is not suggested in Robinson’s novel. When Sylvie pulls herself up, hugging the rickety skeleton of the railway bridge, we loudly hear the cross-country locomotive shuttling through Fingerbone. But we don’t see it. The sound of clanking metal on the bridge and the lapping currents against the boat are, again, a kind of amplification of the earlier scene, where the gentle bumping of metal tins and other household items bobbing in the flood water is heard as Lucille tries to sweep them into a closet to no avail.
The passing train is also suggested by the use of intermittent light, to simulate the illuminated carriage windows at night, but perhaps owing to nothing more than budget limitations and/or logistics, this key symbol of the town’s identity and the family’s history is at this moment invisible. It is now that we might question whether Ruth and Sylvie have seen a train at all, or rather if we are aware finally of a folie á deux—or less dramatically, a shared poetic sense—that has been deepening throughout the film. And then one recalls that in the novel, too, Ruth tells us that nobody in Fingerbone actually saw the famous crash. 
Robinson’s prose, too, emphasises the auditory, with descriptions of the sloshes of water, and the distant sound of the ice on the lake breaking in thunderous cracks. The latter phenomenon is again presented in the film only as something beyond the screen, beyond the window of the girls’ bedroom. Lucille worries that the sound is like that of a train crashing off the bridge. Ruth assures her that it is only the ice. By now, Ruth is growing comfortable with her unusual lifestyle, living with her aunt, in a house of compulsively stacked newspapers and food cans, growing used to Sylvie’s odd habits.
The sound of ice breaking is, then, both comforting and unsettling. Getting to know their wayward aunt, uncovering some of the mysteries of their past, learning more about themselves and the women they are starting to become places new stresses on the girls’ precarious young lives. The way in which the past haunts the present and the consequent difficulties of intimacy between people are ideas that Robinson would return to in her following three novels, Gilead, Home and Lila, all set in the town of Gilead. In these stories, everyday gestures, words and apparently unremarkable objects are again invested with a miraculous quality. In doing this, Robinson avoids the prophetic visions of her first novel, and brings the books closer in feel to Forsyth’s subtle, moving adaptation—suggesting that Forsyth had indeed grasped from the start the underlying poetic qualities that make Robinson’s prose so affecting.

Source: http://ift.tt/KPhYBm

Small Step No. 15: You Doing You

One of my most frequently asked questions in a podcast interview or Q&A session is always some measured form of this: OK, yes. I get it. I see the importance here. But how do I get my spouse/roommate/community to support and adapt to my decision to live more simply? How do I live as a Source: http://ift.tt/1HLbZXN

uSens to showcase latest Fingo demo with Samsung at Samsung Developer Conference 2017

usens vr

uSens to showcase latest Fingo demo with Samsung at Samsung Developer Conference 2017

“Latest demo Illuminate, featuring Fingo hand-tracking technology and created using Samsung’s Gear VR Framework, will be featured at GearVRf booth”

 uSens, Inc., a pioneer in inside-out tracking solutions for interactive and immersive augmented, virtual and mixed reality experiences, will join Samsung at the Gear VR Framework (GearVRf) booth at the upcoming Samsung Developer Conference. uSens hand-tracking VR demo Illuminate will be on display at the annual event, held October 18-19 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

uSens will also be highlighted by Samsung Research America’s Thomas Flynn during his conference breakout session, How to be a Rock Star VR Java Developer, held October 18 at 2 p.m. PT in Session Room #2010. Flynn is responsible for multiple virtual reality projects in his role as Director of Software at Samsung Research America, including GearVRf.

Illuminate, which allows players to light up the night sky by borrowing colors from fireflies, was created using GearVRf and is playable via a Samsung GearVR headset device.  The GearVRf project is a lightweight, powerful, open source rendering engine with a Java interface for developing mobile VR games and applications for Gear VR and Google Daydream View.

“The Samsung GearVR framework allows for easy access to Android APIs and includes the OpenGL features needed for rapid Android deployment,” said Shengying Liu, Software Engineer at uSens and creator of Illuminate. “For developers who are familiar with Open GL features, and are looking to develop fantastic mobile VR content, it’s seamless to adapt to GearVRf. We’re excited to participate with Samsung at SDC 2017 and share our experiences with using the framework in creating Illuminate.”

The 2017 Samsung Developer Conference brings together thousands of developers, technologists, business leaders, innovators, designers, and content creators to network and learn about the next wave of intelligent technology. To register for this year’s event, visit SDC2017.com.

Connect with uSens:

About uSens, Inc.

Founded in 2013, San Jose-based uSens, Inc. closes the gap between Virtual Reality and the real world. The pioneering ARVR company provides inside-out, 26DOF hand and 6DOF head position tracking technologies for Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences. With domain expertise in 3D HCI technology, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, uSens is leading the industry to achieve Super Reality, a truly immersive and natural ARVR experience. For more information, visit www.usens.com and follow @usensinc.

©2017 uSens, Inc. uSens and Fingo are trademarks and/or registered trademark of uSens, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Other brand and product names are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holder(s).

Contacts:
William McCormick
PR & Marketing Manager
wmccormick@usens.com

The post uSens to showcase latest Fingo demo with Samsung at Samsung Developer Conference 2017 appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

Source: http://ift.tt/1Haxbtw

The Unfinished Obelisk of Aswan

The granite quarries located along the Nile, in the city of Aswan, supplied some of the finest quality stones for the construction of temples, sculptures and monuments in ancient Egypt. The famous Cleopatra’s Needle, now located in London, as well as several structures in the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and at Giza were constructed from stones quarried in Aswan.

In the northern region of Aswan’s stone quarries lies an Unfinished Obelisk, resting on its side. It was supposed to be the tallest and the largest obelisk ever erected in Ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, the obelisk was never completed. While carving, cracks began to appear in the granite causing the project to be abandoned. Because the carvers had carved it directly out of the bedrock, it can be found exactly where it was 3,500 years ago—its bottom side still attached to the bedrock.

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-4

It is believed that the obelisk was constructed and abandoned during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC. The obelisk was commissioned perhaps to complement the Lateran Obelisk which originally stood at Karnak Temple in Egypt but was later taken to Rome by the Romans. If completed, it would have stood approximately 137 feet, and would have been the heaviest obelisk ever erected in Ancient Egypt.

The unfinished obelisk offers unusual insights into ancient Egyptian stone-working techniques, as the scratches made by the workers’ tools can still be seen clearly on its rock surface. Some ocher-colored lines were also found on the surface, which were probably drawn to mark the places where the workers were supposed to carve out the granite. Archeologists believe that the Ancient Egyptians used small balls of Dolerite, which is a type of rock harder than granite, to cut through the rock. Once the sides were cut down into the rock, the obelisk had to be separated from the bedrock. For this, they dug small cavities in the body of the rock along the line of desired detachment and those cavities were filled with wood spikes. The wood was then thoroughly wetted with water until it expanded causing the rock to crack along the drawn lines and finally got detached from its base.

The entire quarry is now an open museum and arranged to preserve these structures as archaeological treasures of the country.

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-1

Photo credit: Dan Lundberg/Flickr

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-2

Photo credit: Jorge Láscar/Flickr

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-3

Photo credit: Hiddenincatours.com

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-6

Photo credit: Hiddenincatours.com

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-7

Photo credit: Hiddenincatours.com

unfinished-obelisk-aswan-8

Photo credit: Hiddenincatours.com

Sources: Wikipedia / Ask Aladdin / Wikipedia

Source: http://ift.tt/pPxNr5