Throughout the Penguindrum series, I’ll return to a concept I don’t like to talk about much, and one I don’t invoke lightly: authenticity.
I want to devote this first installment to explaining what that word means to me. It’s necessary, given that “inauthentic” is one of those terms most often used as a blunt instrument vs. things people don’t like. And, anyway, how can art be “authentic,” which is to say true to life, when it is literally a distillation of the endless, unsolvable complexities of subjective human experience into something comprehensible and, hopefully, entertaining?
Posted by Pontifus on 9 August 2012
Utena’s use of shadows isn’t confined to the shadow plays (it’s another of those time-saving animation tricks, after all). But because the plays are probably the loudest examples of shadow use (and because animated film is a dramatic medium), maybe we should employ the lens of shadows as entertainment.
Posted by Pontifus on 28 July 2012
Posted by Pontifus on 5 July 2012
As promised. Predictably, I’m behind on this one, so there won’t be any spoilers past episode five or so.
I’ll start with my biases, if you don’t mind. I collect old books. Not rare books — monetary value isn’t that interesting to me. I collect utilitarian books. I have a set of old Dickens, for example, printed on paper so cheap that you wonder whether they were pirate copies (that sort of thing happened with some regularity). They’re worth nothing at all, but it’s precisely that kind of volume that would’ve introduced thrifty American readers to Dickens in the first place, and that fascinates me.
Posted by Pontifus on 28 June 2012
The oft-discussed repetition in Utena (inb4 “it saves money”) is, I think, related to the revolutionary business:
They have wandered around in circles, confined to the narrow room in which they’ve been given a deadly brainwashing.
Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa”
Cixous was talking about women, and certainly that would apply to Utena Tenjou herself, but you could describe any viewer of Utena that way. Which might just be the point.
Posted by Pontifus on 18 June 2012