Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Film’

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Hidden Figures (2016) – One Giant Leap for Women (‘Coloured’) One Small Step for Womenkind

What a film!

Award worthy indeed, I absolutely love the way US folk manage to include pathos in drama where one moment your heartfelt swept up in the moment and the next laughing with joy, but seriously lay off the cheese. That said for a patriotic movie (against the Russians of course) it did well in showing US failures both in ethics and the space race whilst portraying the 60’s attitudes and work ethics in a way that is comparable today.

In a way it reminded me of one of my favourite films 9 to 5 (1980) but with mathematics and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, who unfortunately still played Sheldon but toned down and kudos to ‘him’ for playing no:2 instead of no:1 in the genius stakes. Kevin Costner was pretty damned apt at playing someone open minded enough to realize that to be the best (or at least ruthless) you have to at the very least pretend to push aside prejudice but at the same time a person who doesn’t see what’s in front of his face until it’s heavily pointed out. Kirsten Dunst did well as a woman forced to respect other women. The leading ladies were brilliant, of course, an absolute delight to watch and I couldn’t stop smiling every time I saw them (regardless of my severe discomfort due to ‘illness’). I really wanted to see and understand the equations better but I did enjoy knowing how to fix the flaws in their basic explanations e.g. the heat shield and the change in elliptical path. I did love the fact that they reverted to ‘ancient’ mathematics for ‘Atlas’ i.e. remembering the lessons of the forbears rather than needing or thinking they were inventing new theories.

It did make me wonder if/why there weren’t any Mexican, South American or other ‘ethnic’ (hate that word, White and Eurasian people are ethnic too) races involved or just Black vs White (though interestingly Black people were referred to as Browns vs Virginia [state]).

I always dislike seeing/knowing just how much it takes one person to go through to make any kind of change let alone wide ranging changes and then those individuals have to push others ahead as well considerately and sometimes to the individual’s own detriment to build enough confidence in a group to support them. Otherwise they’re practically left outside alone (as a minority or even worse, an extremist) and social change then takes forever. For all the hardship the women faced in the film and indeed also deference and respect from their male peers (which was strange to see) we haven’t come far as a society and in the end I was left thinking – great we made it into space and we can’t even solve out domestic problems, technologically forwards and socially backwards, what a way to spread our problems to the rest of the solar system and galaxy… And who knows where else.

I think NASA could’ve been portrayed a lot worse than they were (and the poster boy astronaut was particularly sickening but at least he had faith in our first amongst equals leading lady or ‘computer’ as she and those like her were known) but the film had to be funny to make it more palatable not only as a meta-nonfiction story but to the inclusive audience watching; teenage and adult women and men of all colours.


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Moving on, some snaps of what I was wearing:

9 to 5 (1980) (featuring another Dolly 😉 and I love it when Lily i.e. ‘Violet’ demands a little dignity and respect! How much do you have to go through just to be treated with the same basic rights as everybody else!?)

P.S – both Hidden Figures and 9 to 5 feature awesome period fashion hence the addition of my photos and a non-in depth review (though I’m far too tired for more detail).

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Making the Unreal Real – Playing Games with Lives – Thieves Who Make Confusion Are Really The Monsters

What if you could engineer a situation where you take a ‘regular Joe/Jane’ or someone slightly ‘different’ and even better ‘alienated’ and turn them into whatever you wanted?

I watched this film when it came out with a friend of mine, it was the last movie we went to see before going our separate ways and I think it was me who chose to watch this one because it had the longest running time but by the end of it we realized we should have chosen a comedy.

Anyway I’m not going to review it but here’s some info from Wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cell

The Cell is a 2000 American science fiction psychological thriller film and the directorial debut of Tarsem Singh, starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D’Onofrio. It received mixed reviews upon its release, with critics praising the visuals, direction, make-up, costumes and D’Onofrio’s performance, but commenting on the Silence of the Lambs-inspired plot, the emphasis on style rather than substance and the somewhat masochistic images.

Plot

Child psychologist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is an expert in an experimental treatment for coma patients: a virtual reality device that allows her to enter into the minds of her patients and attempt to coax them into consciousness. When serial killer Carl Rudolph Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) falls into a coma before the FBI can locate his final victim, Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) persuades Deane to enter Stargher’s mind and discover the victim’s location.[1] Stargher’s victim is imprisoned in a cell in the form of a glass enclosure that is slowly filling with water by means of an automatic timer.

Deane enters Stargher’s twisted mind, where she is confronted by both the violent and the innocent parts of the killer’s psyche. The innocent half shows her the abuse he suffered at his father’s hands and the birth of his pathology when he drowned an injured bird as a mercy killing. Deane attempts to nurture the innocent side of Stargher’s mind, but his murderous half thwarts her at every turn.

Despite Deane’s best efforts, she becomes trapped in Stargher’s dark dreamscape. Novak volunteers to enter Stargher’s mind and attempts to rescue Deane. He frees her from Stargher’s hold and discovers clues to the whereabouts of his victim. Novak relates his revelations to his team and they are able to track down the location of Stargher’s victim (Stargher had been entrusted by a company to take care of an advanced water pump, which he used to fill the cell with water). Novak discovers Stargher’s secret underground room and saves Stargher’s victim just in time. Meanwhile, Deane decides to reverse the process and pull Stargher’s mind into her own. She presents Stargher’s innocent side with a paradise, but his murderous side is always present and manifests as a serpent. This time, however, Deane has all the power; she attacks the serpent/Stargher only to discover that she cannot destroy one half without killing the other. Stargher’s innocent side reminds her of the bird he drowned, and she kills him to put him out of his misery. She adopts Stargher’s dog and successfully uses her new technique on her other coma patient (Colton James).

Artistic influences

Some of the scenes in The Cell are inspired by works of art. A scene in which a horse is split into sections by falling glass panels was inspired by the works of British artist Damien Hirst. The film also includes scenes based on the work of other late 20th century artists, including Odd Nerdrum, H. R. Giger and the Brothers Quay. Tarsem—who began his career directing music videos such as En Vogue’s “Hold On” and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”—drew upon such imagery for Stargher’s dream sequences. In particular, he was influenced by videos directed by Mark Romanek, such as “Closer” and “The Perfect Drug” by Nine Inch Nails, “Bedtime Story” by Madonna, and the many videos that Floria Sigismondi directed for Marilyn Manson. During a scene, Jennifer Lopez falls asleep watching a film; the film is Fantastic Planet.

This is not to justify anybody with such behaviours on either side i.e. the mind control/mind raping/soul destroying side of the ‘security surveillance’ nor the violent, inhumane psychopath they just happen to be following in the film – but just how far would ‘people’ would go to make someone into one ‘side’ or the other, why and how they’d get away with it. A bit like the film ‘Inception’ (2010).

Oh and btw looking up ‘cybernetic’, ‘psychotronic whore’, ‘mollusc’, ‘hybrid’, ‘drone’ and a whole load of other crap doesn’t apply to me, especially the ‘Myra Hindley’.

Note – I mentioned Fantastic Planet HERE titled ‘Who/What are the Blue Beings, why are we inspired by them? Although being a US film it could also conveniently be a dig at the former USSR, like the English and the French the ‘feud’ never ends.)

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Movie Film Symbolism

Hell in a cell i.e. invisible yet visible prison.

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

Her work clothes – one ‘body suit’ which…

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

… She conveniently changes for another and with a mask whilst in his mind – notice the placement of the lights (sun/star and pillars).

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

How very similar to the enemy. Looks is one thing, acting like these people (‘good’ or ‘bad’, or the fake ‘light’ or ‘dark’) is another – some people make great game/targets for ‘change’ to players.

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

He’s a bad bird now that needs killing (apparently mercifully) – and to do so the ‘good’ side go into the mind or as some could call it ‘the astral plane’ to do the job.

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

So it’s ok for her to play Mother Mary now (as well as the Red ‘whore’/’prostitute’ double meaning but with White for the ‘good’ ‘purity’ side.)

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

And then the Dark Mother (wannabe) with the Red and Black. (Note that Mary was never a Mother Goddess or even a Goddess.)

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

Black and White – both extremes, two sides of the same coin, both beautiful; unfortunately here she’s portrayed as a Goddess, even a Warrior Goddess as a rider. Both the violator (the security/watchers) and the violated (here the child was violated and became a violator) are metamorphosed.

The Cell Jennifer Lopez Film Movie Symbolism

Hmm, decide for yourselves.

There is a heck of a lot of symbolism (including religious) in this film which you can see from the pictures and it makes for a very gruesome metaphor, the film is practically a vehicle and anybody wanting to explain or interpret it could have a field day. Again I’m not going to bother right now (maybe later) but basically it shows in a subtle yet obvious way (subtle i.e. artistically and easy to dismiss for those not really looking and hidden in plain sight for those who ‘know’ or think they/we do) both ‘sides’ are one and the same ultimately (so you have to be careful if you’re in the middle and not affiliated lol). Just to point out the use of the serpent and the mercy killing of the bird were streamlined, initially in the film they seemed like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ but ultimately they can and were used together as one thing such as winged serpent beings or Caduceus, or in this case for transformation. An innocent is turned into a villain and taken out by super villains acting as good folk. It’s ironic, Mum and I once shared the same dream on the same night and we both had the same reaction, both involved the killing of an innocent bird and right afterwards three ‘interesting’ networks came along. It’d be more interesting however to look into the ‘history’ of the symbolic so-called cat people [or at least group of] being conquered by a group of serpentine people, I hesitate to call them reptile/reptilian since it’s getting more complicated nowadays with the ‘groupings’.

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The Adolescence of Utena – A Rosicrucian Telling of the Daughter & Mother

On a sidenote – today is the memorial day for Hiroshima, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

I was going to try and explain at least some of the symbolism of the rose but there’s so much of it and whilst similar it varies from Order to Order, age to age. Ultimately though it’s like the opposite of the lotus – whereas the Iris/Lily/Lotus signifies knowledge an enlightenment the rose represents (also in its multitude of layers) silence and secrecy regarding knowledge.

It’s easier to use a visual aid and ‘The Adolescence of Utena’ (1999 film) is a very apt one. It’s a summarized version of the anime series (1997) ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ (of course based on the manga (1996-7) and it’s one big metaphor. The whole thing, there isn’t anything in it that isn’t symbolism and yet at the same time hidden in plain sight truth. Whereas the longer manga and anime can be seen as ‘coming of age’ stories (and they are exactly for some of us) the film tells it like/as it is. (Bear in mind that adolescence is the activation stage for Goddess grooming, girl becoming physical woman with the sacred blood – Red rose from White rose, Mother from Daughter – at puberty, and puberty is artificially getting younger and younger with pharma-drug-faux-food culture but especially age 15/16, the height of teenage/feminine ‘beauty’. Evil, nasty, psychotic politco-religious bastards.)

There was once an Indian girl called Anthy (Anthony – look up the meaning and origins) and she was conquered by her false brother/the masculine. Her brother was known as ‘the prince’ or the Headmaster’s son (right away you’ve got the school and indeed mystery school symbolism), he wasn’t her real brother but pretended to be – took the title, to have the association. He put her to sleep (made her into a ‘living corpse’) and raped her in that state. The thing is, she wasn’t totally asleep, we don’t even know if she was ever asleep in the way we think it – but more like in a different state of consciousness and that state took her to a different place (like how the ‘traditional’ story of Kali – a root Indian goddess, one if not the oldest still known/living in the world – being pushed into a sexual frenzy and losing herself). With the capture of Anthy things changed.

From thence a Castle of Eternity arose, a mind boggling, twisting, tardis of a school/building/place/’dimension’, before that I’d guess the question of mortality/immortality wasn’t as important. It’s with the wars of the gods and others, the bargaining, the game playing and mixed breeding where it became sought – maybe because the innocence was lost?

The Gate and in this case trap/prison

The [arch] Gate and in this case trap/prison, its shown before the first duel so representative of the outer layer/courtyard, the gate to the other two major sections of the masonic temple/kingdom.

Anyway, the cartoon shows Anthy as already captured and in ‘custody’ of her ‘brother’ (we never see the Head Master), Anthy is now what is called the Rose Bride i.e. a prize in an elite tournament of ‘duelists’ (mostly male competitors but some female) where she has to do the bidding/grant the wishes of any one that ‘wins’, they win her, they think of her as their possession rather than a living being with thoughts and feelings, and they treat her as a sex toy. Which is why when her exhibitionist, popular and well loved/admired/respected ‘brother’ rapes her she doesn’t realize she’s been raped because that’s what she’s used to and is overawed by him when actually he’s the one in awe of her power (and hence desirability) so seeking to possess it even in the most insidious ways.

Totally Rosicrucian

Totally Rosicrucian

When he sees that she wasn’t actually asleep like he’d intended he gets hysterical because he’s been caught out and doesn’t want everybody to find out, he’s already lost his keys (get to that later) and so is subject to mortality/damage/going rusty and now he’s lost his marbles *ahem*. He [nowhere near really] gets what he deserves…

Note: Anthy wears a bindi which traditionally is a sign of marriage but it’s also an unacknowledged sign of the the third eye (hence women’s sindoor is made of toxic chemicals/colours and not the men’s).

Fast forward in time and cue a rose haired (colour – Pink in the day, Rosé at night) girl who has come to the school looking for her long lost prince (by this time duellists who are participating for the title/place of the illusory/dead prince are called princes and some princesses). She’s different though, in this modern age a real Princess is called a Prince (the ‘son’, the male messianic figures etc based on the Daughter) and she’s come to the school dressed as a Prince whilst not claiming to be male. (Like in Wonder Woman.) It takes this secret Princess/Prince to rescue the old India Earth Goddess (Anthy and notice that Anthy & her ‘brother’ are the only Brown skinned characters in the film but he is lighter in bother skin and hair signifying that he is younger) i.e. the Daughter rescuing the Mother. It’s shown as a sensual relationship and most would consider it lesbian/sexual but remember the old Goddesses are sensual, they feel/experience acutely because they are one with nature (can also be thought of as a ‘revelation’/exposing/stripping the false layers) – what it’s showing is that the Daughter & Mother become one again. The Divine Feminine. They even do the ‘dance’ as well, the dance representing time, space, cosmos and which the bastard Shiva has become known for.

Utena Anthy Rose

Interestingly when Utena (the rose princess/Daughter, not the rose bride/Mother) duels she transforms, unlike the other contestants; she gets her hair back and looks more feminine/beautiful. She also has access to the a secret sword/weapon directly from the Mother. Not even the other female contestants do that because they’re not real/original women, they’re a product of the usurper society and playing the game for their own ends. Utena is the only one fighting for Anthy’s sake, wanting to be by her side because of how she is treated and to stop others from hurting her. Initially she also fights with a broom, i.e. the sweeper/cleaner goddess symbolism which has later become associated with monks in a monastery (priest schools, secret, snobby, schools where knowledge is passed on to the ‘worthy’ master-servant style – in that sense the ‘little old man/cleaner’ is always the wisest, and sometimes underestimated with his secret, smug smile – hey I’m not knocking smugness, sometimes it’s necessary…)

Showing that this is linked back to ancient India is the use of vehicles (which I tried to talk about in Momo); it’s kind of awkward to explain but modern vehicles aren’t so modern. If you lookup Vimanas for example you’ll see where the modern/streamlined version of gods/demons flying around on animals comes from. A vimana was a high-tech vehicle to travel in, they weren’t limited to sky travel, they could also be used on land and water; there’s schematics for such vehicles in old scripture (as well as a ton of ‘alien’ – not really alien though, just other beings on this planet – imagey carved in stone and drawn in artwork throughout world culture). They could be called spaceships simply because they traverse space (and water is used in the cartoon to symbolize the barrier/difference between life/death, awake/asleep worlds too) but that doesn’t make them alien as in from another planet necessarily. Basically the duellists change into cars so that they can reach the ‘outside world’, a ‘modern’ version of a horse but unlike a horse or other animal, a car is an exo-skeleton (remember the use of bones in She-Ra), a vessel. A vessel for what? Some say the spirit, others the soul, others the mind, consciousness (remember the spirit and the soul aren’t necessarily the same ‘thing’ either).

Horned and serpentine

Horned and serpentine

When Utena wins the tournament instead of owning Anthy she tries to free her, tries to take her out of the closed/false/crazy world to the ‘outside’ and so she transforms into a car (a super car – note to self: funny how a certain astrologer used a Formula One racing metaphor for me to see recently) and of course the closed world/security/surveillance tries their darnedest to stop them. Interestingly it starts off with a race track where other duellists have transformed and chase them, but they are driverless – they don’t have Anthy – they don’t have the innate power, the spirit nor the soul.

Anthy/Utena face many more obstacles and Utena is worn down badly. We can finally see the whole castle (‘castle in the sky’ which you get in a lot of these hinting stories e.g Laputa) is just a glowing ‘illuminated’ construct, a block between worlds, a distraction and the dead/illusory prince/’brother’/ghost beckons Anthy back “come back and be a living corpse, a living corpse” because that is the only way he can survive even if its only a memory, a ‘title’ that princes dreaming to fulfill his role/place fight over.

Remember the palace/castle from The NeverEnding - Story - the SAME GUY who wrote Momo.

Remember the palace/castle from The NeverEnding – Story – the SAME GUY who wrote Momo.

Needless to say there are false friends a long the way, hidden friends, fairweather friends and unlikely friends. You can never trust anybody because at one moment they’re treating you like sh*t, the next they’re apparently supporting you, you just never know, it depends on the circumstances and what they want to get out of it. The castle however is a towering inferno (Utena has been the accelerant for the Fool, the Hanged Man, the Blasted Tower and The Magician saving the High Priestess, Empress and World – adding my own tarot metaphor there) and people want out or at least change so its in their best interest to help the duo.

Utena gives Anthy ‘Hope’ (in typical Daughter style) and Anthy gives her the ‘Wisdom’/Knowledge/Experience (in typical Mother style) and together they are/have the ‘Power’.

The crosses (originally a Goddess symbol) are sneakily added amongst the roses in typical Rosicrucian fashion (the ‘hidden in plain sight’ sneaky yet totally flourishing signature ‘WE’RE HERE, WE DID THIS, LOOK AT US AND BASK IN OUR GLORY – which we took/live through vicariously’ style and remember that Anthy is the sacrifice/loss of innocence), making it appear as if they’re the backbone/structure/support for roses in a garden. (Remember some wild roses are edible – e.g. dog roses (rosa canina) which both feed/nourish you and provide/are protected in that the bulbs contain itching powder typifying Mother Nature but modernized/masculanized with the ‘dog’ which has also become an insult, using the ‘feminine’ of something as an insult and ‘dog’ being ‘man’s best friend. I’ve noted the use of cats and dogs in symbolism before but also dogs are purported to be used in bestial ways for ritual programming. The garden variety are cultivated which says it all really, the orchestrators of society, man vs Nature, Man over Nature – very Italian and Eurocentric mindset in general in its gardening ethos – ‘Europa’ meaning trapped goddess.)

All duellists are given a ‘ring’ which seals the deal (like in marriage, and those who ‘win’ the tournament are ‘engaged’ to Anthy).

The cartoon also hints at systematic abuse of the contestants/students/players or at least some of them who are groomed, bought and sold; and it’s decided when they are children by adults, including their so-called parents/guardians. The whole thing is ritual abuse.

Here’s an interesting review:

http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue5/charlton_review.html

Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context

Issue 5, May 2001
Dir. Kunihiko Ikuhara
Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku
(The Adolescence of Utena)
Colour animation, 74mins, Japanese, Japan 1998. – Reviewed by Sabdha Charlton

Anthy and the rose seal the world

Anthy and the rose seal the world

If it cannot hatch from its shell, the chick will die without ever truly being born. We are the chick; the world is our egg. If we don’t break the world’s shell, we will die without truly being born. Smash the world’s shell, for the Revolution of the World.

1. As its name suggests, revolution (kakumei) is a key theme in the suite of productions that go by the name Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena). Like many other Japanese manga, it is a story that has appeared in three formats – as a printed comic (manga), a television series, and a film (known in English as Adolescence of Utena). Each of these formats tells more or less the same story, with more or less the same characters, and though there are also significant differences between the three versions, they all have in common a narrative trajectory that climaxes in a revolution that destroys the world of the story and releases the main characters into a new world. This review will concentrate on the film, with some reference to the series.

2. Adolescence of Utena is a richly detailed and visually stunning film, with a storyline so complex that it is impossible to do it justice here. It occurs in what is commonly known as an alternate universe; that is, the story and characterisations differ significantly from the series, rather than being contiguous with Figure 1. Utena, Anthy and the Rose Seal the world set up in the series. Briefly, the film revolves around a pink-haired, boyish girl called Utena Tenjou, an eighth grader at the Ohtori Academy. When she arrives at the school, she receives a ring with a rose pattern on it from the centre of a white rose. Her old boyfriend, her ‘prince’, Touga Kiryuu (who we later learn is actually dead, and thus a figment of her imagination) also possesses a ‘rose seal’ (bara no kokuin). Utena soon meets other members of the school who wear the rose seal, and she learns that the wearers of the seal must duel each other – the winner of the duel is then engaged to Anthy Himemiya, the Rose Bride (bara no hanayome).

The possessor of the Rose Bride receives her services (sexual and otherwise), but, more importantly, also possesses the ‘power to revolutionise the world’ (sekai o kakumei suru chikara). Disappointed by the failures of her own prince, Utena has decided that she wants to become a prince herself, and so duels for Anthy not because she wants the revolutionary power, but because she is angry about the way the other duellists treat Anthy when they are engaged to her. Like Utena, Anthy also has her (dead) prince – her abusive brother Akio, the chairman of Ohtori Academy and the mastermind of the Ohtori world. Anthy is drawn to Utena because of her nobility and sincerity, and Utena eventually returns this feeling. Their bond is cemented by their mutual guilt over the deaths of their princes, and together they escape both Ohtori and their princes in a climactic scene where Utena turns into a car that Anthy drives through many obstacles to eventually reach the outside world. In doing so, together they revolutionise the world of Ohtori through this act of escape.

3. This revolution involves the complete collapse of the Ohtori Academy and the castle suspended above it. This castle is significant because it promises eternity and miracles to Utena as the possessor of the Rose Bride, at the price of both their freedoms, and its destruction means simultaneously the gaining of freedom but the loss of eternal life. Although the series also involves these kinds of excessive cataclysms of disaster and emotion, the Utena movie is a site of excess even beyond the series. The film is highly intertextual – at its most basic level, this is evidenced in the way that the narrative is very difficult to understand without prior knowledge of the storylines and characterisations of the series [my comment – or without knowledge of masonic symbolism and ancient culture/history]. This means that comparisons between the two are inevitable, and thus the movie is always more than the series more obscure, more symbolic, more artistically impressive. Similarly, in the characterisations of the main characters Utena is more masculine, Anthy is sexier, and Touga and Akio more princely. This excess extends to the settings and technical codes of the movie. For example, there are masses of roses as far as the eye can see where in the series there is a simple glasshouse within which the roses are contained, and all the characters have masses more hair (except Utena who, in keeping with her more sober, masculine characterisation has her hair cropped). The architecture of Ohtori academy is angular, distorted and often shown in long shots which emphasise space and distance – indeed there are huge echoing spaces everywhere, inside the buildings and out. This excess is particularly clear in the depiction of sexuality, most notably in the ending, where the same-sex love of Utena and Anthy is graphically illustrated, unlike the series where the same-sex eroticism is limited to a subtext fed by a visual vocabulary of looks and poses. Revolution is in itself a kind of excess or uprising, and thus these excesses of characterisation, mise-en-scene and sexuality in the movie are key in producing Utena as a revolutionary girl.

4. However, revolution is figured in Utena in more subtle ways than through setting and narrative. Both the series and the movie are known for their extensive use of symbols and myths from a variety of sources. One of the major sources from which these are drawn is the work of famous manga artist Riyoko Ikeda, in particular her path breaking work The Rose of Versailles, and indeed Chiho Saito and Kunihiko Ikuhara, the creative team that authored, drew and directed both the movie and the series, cite Ikeda as a major influence on their work.[1]

The Rose of Versailles is a re-telling of the French Revolution through a fictional character called Oscar, who was born a girl but raised as a boy by her father (who was frustrated by his lack of sons). Oscar goes on to become the commander of the Royal Guard, and protects Marie Antoinette and the French court. Ikeda’s influence can be seen across many aspects of Utena, most immediately obviously in the use of roses as the primary symbolic sign, and the figure of revolution as the narrative engine of both series. Furthermore, all of the Utena series, manga and movie are subtitled in French (La Fillette Revolutionnaire). Revolution as it is invoked in Utena is thus inflected through this association with an allegorical link to a romanticised version of European history, specifically the French Revolution (which in Utena’s subtitling becomes a French revolution). Furthermore, Saito’s characters, like Ikeda’s, have angular, lean bodies, long flowing brightly coloured hair, wear close-fitting, romanticised, old-fashioned military uniforms complete with tassels on their shoulders, and regularly take part in spectacular sword fights. Their genders are similarly romanticised and fluid, and the main character in both The Rose of Versailles and Utena is a girl who wears boy’s clothes, uses the masculine self-referential pronoun boku and has a distinctly boyish way of speaking (especially in comparison to the hyper-femininity of characters such as Marie Antoinette and Anthy). Indeed, these characteristics of the two works are located within the broader tradition of shoujo manga (girls’ comics), which abounds in floral imagery, ambiguously gendered characters, and romanticised references to vaguely historical European culture.

5. The genre of shoujo manga is generally acknowledged to have been started by the ‘god’ of Japanese manga, Osamu Tezuka (best known in Australia for his Astro Boy series), and early shoujo manga was indeed mostly drawn by men. However in the 1970s a group of women known as the 49ers (because they were born in and around 1949 [my comment – notice how the re-introduction of the Divine Feminine started ‘finding’ its way into popular culture after WWII, before that it was purely secret society secret knowledge even amongst themselves]) came to prominence, and the genre of shoujo manga has been dominated by women authors and artists ever since.[2] Ikeda was one of these 49ers, and is probably the most well-known of these outside of Japan thanks to Frederik Schodt’s translation of a few pages of The Rose of Versailles in his book Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics.[3] Shoujo manga is known for its fascination with human relationships, and notorious for its treatment of gender and sexuality through the sub-genre of bishounen manga (comics about beautiful boys, often with romantic, homosexual storylines). Ikeda’s work, and by extension Utena, is a twist on the beautiful boy story, in that the beautiful boy (Oscar, Utena) is actually a girl, yet stylistically and thematically both works are clearly influenced by this sub-genre. In drawing on Ikeda’s work, Utena harks back to a period in the history of manga when women artists were revolutionising the genre, carving out a space for themes not treated in mainstream boys’ and adult manga.

6. This relatively new genre of manga has received much attention in the academy. Many authors have been concerned with trying to understand why Japanese girls favour stories about subjects completely removed from their own experience – stories of love between boys, manga set in the West, and fantasy and magical storylines are those most often analysed.[4] According to these scholars, Japanese girls are so subordinated and repressed in Japanese society that they turn to shoujo manga for an escape from the limited versions of sexuality, gender and desire that are proscribed for them. The director of Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara, echoes this when he states that the reason that the female characters turn to each other, rejecting their failed princes, reflects Japanese girls’ dissatisfaction with their position in contemporary society – ‘women no longer wish to be subordinate. Women are asserting their position in society.'[5] Utena is thus self-consciously produced from within a discourse that is concerned with women’s desires and resistances to their social positionings, and Utena’s revolution is as much about the feminist uprisings of the 1970s as it is about the French Revolution.[6] In this sense, Utena and Anthy’s escape from Ohtori is also an escape from dependence on men, and by association, on the society that privileges men. Their escape is not a simple running away, however. By refusing the world of Ohtori where they can only ‘be alive while dead’ (like their princes, Akio and Touga), they revolutionise that world – without them to prop up the fantasy of eternity and miracles that Ohtori promises, it collapses behind them (almost destroying them in the process).

7. The outside world to which Anthy and Utena escape is a utopic world where ‘there are no paths, where we can make our own paths.’ In this line the ambivalence of Utena’s revolution becomes clear, for even though it suggests that the potential to revolutionise the world lies in a rejection of dominant discourses of gender and sexuality, it does not champion the taking up of other discourses, for example that of lesbianism, despite the fact that it seems to be so clearly figured in the barely subtextual grammar of looks and shots that suggest a same-sex desire between Utena and Anthy.[7] Utena is perhaps the most popular ‘lesbian’ themed anime amongst fans of shoujo-ai and yuri (literally ‘girls’ love’ and ‘lily’, both terms used by fans to denote anime and manga that either contain female same-sex references or in which they can be read subtextually).[8] However, the application of the word ‘lesbian’ by fans, and as a descriptor of Utena reflects a specifically Western desire to interpellate the text into pre-existing notions of lesbianism and same-sex desire. Utena does not invest in discourses of lesbianism or same-sex desire – in fact it paradoxically simultaneously invokes and disavows them. Rather, Utena invests in the romantic notion of revolution as being capable of fundamentally changing the world by erasing categories of gender and sexuality, even as it invests in these very categories.

8. Utena is a brilliant fantasy, richly textured through its invocation of the symbol of revolution. It pays homage to both the history of manga, and the desires of Japanese women, and its complex, highly allegorical narrative and imagery allow for a wide range of identifications and viewing positions. While Utena’s revolution of her world with all its gender and sexuality-bound restrictions may not be available to us in the ‘real world’, this utopic fantasy is pleasure enough in itself.

Endnotes
[1] Mona, ‘Re: Utena and Ikeda Riyoko,’ in Yuri: The Yuri Mailing List, 27 February 2001, (27 February 2001).
[2] An informative site that covers the history of shoujo manga as well as information on the genre in general and some anthropological analyses, see Matt Thorn, Matt Thorn’s Shoujo Manga Home Page, 9 March 2001, (21 March 2001).
[3] Frederik Schodt, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1983).
[4] See, for example, Tomoko Aoyama, ‘Male Homosexuality as Treated by Japanese Women Writers,’ in The Japanese Trajectory: Modernization and Beyond, ed. Gavin McCormack and Yoshio Sugimoto, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, pp. 186-204; Midori Matsui, ‘Little Girls Were Little Boys: Displaced Femininity in the Representation of Homosexuality in Japanese Girls’ Comics,’ in Feminism and the Politics of Difference, ed. Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman, Boulder: Westview Press, 1993, pp. 177-96; Matt Thorn, ‘What Japanese Girls Do with Manga’, in Matt Thorn’s Shoujo Manga Home Page, 23 September 1997 (9 May 2000); Maia Tsurumi, ‘Gender and Girls Comics in Japan,’ in Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 29, 2 (1997):46-55; Sandra Buckley, ‘”Penguin in Bondage”: A Graphic Tale of Japanese Comic Books,’ in Technoculture, ed. Andrew Ross and Constance Penley, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991; andYukari Fujimoto, ‘A Life-Size Mirror: Women’s Self-Representation in Girls’ Comics,’ in Review of Japanese Culture and Society 4, (December 1991):53-57.
[5] Cited in Shoujo Kakumei Utena Home Page, 5 September 2000, (22 March 2001).
[6] For more on feminist movements in Japan see Vera C. Mackie and Japanese Studies Centre (Melbourne Vic.), Feminism and the State in Modern Japan, Papers of the Japanese Studies Centre 22, Melbourne: Japanese Studies Centre, 1995; and Sandra Buckley, Broken Silence: Voices of Japanese Feminism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
[7] Indeed in the film the subtext becomes canon in the final scene, where ‘Utena and Anshi [do] the naked street luge while sucking face’ to quote one fan – that is, they exit the world of Ohtori Academy and the duelling arena on the remains of the car that was Utena, stark naked, kissing.
[8] It is worth noting that the other series that Ikuhara is famous for, Sailor Moon, also has a canonical female same-sex couple that is hugely popular among yuri fans.

Seal – Kiss From A Rose

Superchick – One Girl Revolution

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Are You Gonna Go My Way?

This was the pilot for the Buffy The Vampire [and everything else except ‘poor hu-mans’ 🙄 ] Slayer series:

‘Illuminati’ garbage, bursting with references. I’m glad they re-did it; changed the dialogue (particularly the dialogue), visuals, clothing, backgrounds, settings, they kept some and added others which is fine and generally ones I don’t mind (the cross is beyond merely linking it to Christianity and acting like that religion would scare away those it also loves and who also flock to it as a safe harbour; Buffy is the Daughter/Christ figure, the Cross is a Goddess symbol like how she gets a triple weapon Red/Silver scythe ‘For Her’ later on but can also wield the weapons of the ‘gods’. Symbolism in itself is not a bad thing like the Golden Cow (which became a bull) and whilst the club is called the Bronze (they couldn’t do anything higher for this) she still has to be there at that/this age so it’s still metallic. I preferred the pilot’s display of her ability to go from level to level though which usually scares people and causes them to say stupid things like “she’s giving birth” whilst thinking she’s going to die (personal ref there, not in the show) or vice versa especially since they can’t. This girl now lady (and they changed the reference from ‘women’ to ‘girls’ in the revamped version which makes sense since they’re younger and 15-16 is an important Goddess-in-different-form/body related age) knows how to jump/leap/cross without injury thanks, it comes naturally, although you could stop adding and reinforcing barriers making the sky lower and lower, you’ve put a major damper on the flying and sent it all out of whack, just because you can’t make it above the clouds. In terms of cosmetic superficial changes the theme music and even faster ‘instantaneous’ disintegration = better sfx.

The origins of how and why this version of the story got on air and what they were trying to achieve is interesting anyway (and Luke Perry/Pike was later picked up for ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ and got the [Tori to Aaron] Spelling connection – thanks to the person who pointed out Elly May and Jethro to me in ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ regarding my Call of the Wild post, take a look at Elle from anime ‘Shadow Skill’ and the episode 2 unicorn scene). Although I find it strange how they reverted the pilot back to this crap and then changed it back to the path they were on/had aimed for with the film.

I don’t like that they re-cast Willow; did all the cast need to be rake thin and so many have a similar type of mouth? This one seemed less scatty as well but hey it was only one episode.

Obviously the omission of some key points from the original to the series are still missing; one of which being it’s the same Slayer reborn over and over, not a different one each time but the end of this like most shows that are allowed to air are twisted and they wanted to make it more inclusive. (Even though the girl who couldn’t even choose a proper weapon for the environment nor how to use it so shouldn’t pick one up in the first place thought she was such a badass whilst throwing herself at Willow and Willow going along with it in the final arc really annoyed me.)

Also of course – for ‘safe’ tv viewing vampires are made out to be ‘the demon within’ as if when they change they have no control over themselves and their urges, as if they’re not bad if they get ‘back their soul’ because being human is somehow innocent. That they’re evil because they’re more efficient predators higher up in the food chain and need to eat to stay ‘alive’ like every other hybrid on this planet. Vampires/vampire like creatures and humans are attracted because they’re similar, they’re linked, each other’s slow poison, fascinated yet anxious of each other, it’s the difference between domesticated dogs and wolves (which haters of humanity and ‘people’ who are part of the/a branch of the ‘club’ love to be) and domesticated cats to big cats. Humans and dogs are each other’s be[a]sties, bffs; cats are slightly different and make better alarms hence their link to ‘witches’/wise women/protectors (who aren’t necessarily nice – or good – but have got what it takes). (Did you chip your dog this year *sigh* – notice the surge in attacks beforehand?)

I’ve always hated the ‘organisation’, the ‘company’, the ‘watchers’ who hoard (the Evil Horde, Horde Prime, Horde Troopers, Hordak) and meter out information on someone who isn’t them and reality as and when is convenient to them. Built themselves up around her and her legacy like they’re essential and important and then have the audacity to act like they own her.

P.S – I never liked ‘Angel’is and Spike is too ‘get a girl while she’s down’ (and promiscuous and too touchy feely/wannabe rapist), as for soldier boy RobotRiley of the ‘Mother’ of Adam 🙄 – they’re all like one guy, and he’s no Sea Hawk (sea and sky – and remember Dorothy is a ‘Gale’ transported by whirlwind – one ‘world’/limited parameters are not enough for some us you ‘other’ ‘border control’ “are you ___, [please] sign this” f*ckers). Plus those love interests are a morph of some of the vampires in the Anne Rice books (for which she felt the original ‘Interview with [a] the vampire’ was dictated to her and in which both pedo-Marius/pedo-Angel have unique hence persecuted-cum-religious-victim-creations Andrei renamed/owned Amadeo, and Druscilla. When Amadeo renamed himself to Armand (disguising truth in theatre), both he and Marius love Pandora – though Marius has a really sh*tty, cowardly, hypocritical way of showing it and he prefers her docile; so insulting that when Rice wrote ‘Blood and Gold’ she changed his greeting at formerly being rescued from resentful to grateful. LeStat/Spike thinks of Pandora/Buffy as ‘damaged’/different/wrong yet is still interested.)  The ‘Watchers’ Council of Britain’ is the ‘Talamasca’ which coming back over the water implies Tavistock.

Remember Pandora didn’t go along with or like the ‘Queen’ (& consort) just as Buffy refuses the ‘Council’.

My back hurts but I manage, as does Mum, and we’re not alone. There’s distance to protect the supposed-to-be-protected but there’s been too much distance. We’re not cold even though we may feel it inside. We hurt, we cry, we fight, we cry some more, we cry, fight and ache at the same time. But it’s gotta be done.

I’m beyond tired, I’m beyond scared, I’m standing on the mouth of Hell and it is gonna swallow me whole. And it’ll choke on me.

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Truth and fiction are as strange as each other

Throughout our lives when Mum & I have moved residence interesting changes tend to happen, the place starts off as a hovel – we have had holes in the walls, doors, damp, leaks, mould and bodily fluids on the furniture, stuck doors & windows, big burns in the carpet, us losing gas/electricity but not the neighbours even in places where there’s manual override switches for every property controlled by the landlord etc (and when we’ve temporarily been in places the fire alarms have always decided on that time to be on low battery and so spend a day beeping loudly until the landlord accesses it) but one thing improves en mass; the cars and interiors of the people who live on the same council and housing estates and sites, really nice cars, usually BMW-Merc but the sometimes a Jag, Bentley or similar. We’ve not bought furniture in 20+ years, used to look in skips & stuff people’d thrown away (before it was illegal and you have to ask first – though that didn’t stop neighbours taking post & even our clothes horse in front of our door whilst lots of people put their washing on the landing), we haven’t bought clothes in 4 years except bits and pieces to replace the most essential of the lots of stuff that die from mould each year no matter how much we try to protect them, lol we didn’t even care what colour/pattern/style of the clothes were as long as they were functional and clearance. After the car phenomenon here there now seems to be a downturn – Peugeot cars are increasing. I guess people know about a deal or something even though there isn’t a Peugeot dealer in the area, maybe they just like the upright lion symbol. Which reminds me, when I was 30 the no:1 worst person I knew gave me a present. Imagine the person who hurt someone you love in the most awful ways giving you a present, especially when you haven’t celebrated your birthday since 11/12 and it’s rarely mentioned, even forgotten some years. They give you an unchained unicorn; like in the lion & unicorn herald coat of arms, a pendant by itself both without the necklace chain and without chains on the unicorn. I was once taken to visit that person when I was a kid by the person who apparently took me to see Cinderella at the Elephant & [Pink] Castle, in the person’s home there were painting of unicorns/Pegasus in the hallway and he gave me one but my chaperone said I had to give it back (the two hated each other). What does it mean – someone/those involved in abusing your loved one giving you a mark of respect, goodwill, or some kind of insult? Interestingly enough in the film ‘The Last Unicorn’ (1982) when the unicorn is turned into a human she is called Amalthea – the mother goddess figure represented by a goat, even a ‘mountain goat’ and in the film she’s saves the other unicorns from their prison in the sea, so she represents both a mountain and a sea-goat – Capricorn (Capricorn is a mountain goat on top, sea creature on bottom). Reminds me of the time we went out and returned to find an iridescent plastic fleur-de-lis on the carpet, not ours and in the same style as the ones of the gas heater (which we never use), and the time when we moved into a newly renovated place (that a trading standards person was not complimentary about upsetting Mum & I who were proud of it since it was so much better than the place and hostel before that) to find a guru sigil on the inside door step or the time someone left two big, wool blankets in the bin before we moved in; one Red with a tiger, the other Green with what I thought was a tulip and a random group of people outside calling me ‘Tiger Lily’ afterwards.

Lucky Seven

Lucky Seven (1986) was a Chinese film featuring hot housed children who are amazing at martial arts and other athletic skills, it’s dubbed in English in the usual ‘funny’ way for the time but it was a great film. The beginning is a bit awkward but once it gets rolling it’s really well done. I was reminded of it because of the ‘Spy Kids’ movies featuring Jessica Alba in her thigh high boots, ziplining and fighting the enemy whilst at the point of giving birth, she’s married to a guy whose children still aren’t used to their stepmom and acknowledged as ok when they find out her background and then taken into the family business. Ultimately it’s wacky, massive amounts of cgi and basically making people look cool whilst dependent on technology and little personal skill, unlike Lucky Seven. Here’s some funny pics of the seven’s watcher/handler:

Lucky Seven 1986 pink teal suit

Seriously, light Pink & Teal? Can’t say anything about the fabric due to the fashions of the time but with the Pink & Teal, quite the fashion disaster (and colour scheme of where we live which is approx the same age as this film so perhaps it was in fashion 0_0 though this place probably looked like a doll’s house when it was new) for someone trying to hide from the smart kids.

Lucky Seven 1986 pink teal suit

Jacko?

Lucky Seven 1986 pink teal suit

He follows the kids into a women’s self defense meeting and then he turns into a…

Lucky Seven 1986 red green cross dresser

…A fake version of the woman they’re looking for! Red and Blue or Red and Green (full versions of Pink and Teal) are usually attractive combinations except in this case, and again the fabrics!

Science vs/+ fiction = science fiction today = science tomorrow

There was a show called ‘Science Fiction Theater’ (1995-57) in which the audience would get a soundbite introduction to present day science thought and then a fictional story based on hypothetical use of those principles, exaggerated. I liked the intros better than the stories but still it was a good show.

Then there’s the real deal, to an extent:

‘Dark Matters Twisted But True’ (2011-12) – documentary series on The Science Channel.

A show about past controversial, unethical practices/developments in science and the main scientists involved. The above episode is about resuscitation after death using oxygenated blood (wanting to test/bring back to life people a death row prisoner but having the issue of double jeopardy), MK Ultra brainwashing (funded by the CIA and involving obvious torture) and the “father of immunology” Louis Pasteur’s rabies vaccine where he’s willing to murder a peasant boy and lie about it. Other episodes include include the attempt to impregnate female chimpanzees with human sperm to create super soldiers, another a Syphilis study testing on Black people who were lied to about their treatments and reported in the media 40 years later, another with the successful head transplants of monkeys “you know, it’d be so much easier to do this on a human, everything’s bigger… You could save great minds” and lot’s more – a series that could just go on and on. However keeping it in a past tense scares people less. The endings of the episodes tend to say ‘the project ended’, ‘not enough positive results’ or ‘the greater good – many people benefited’ ignoring the begging/pleading/refusal of test subjects ‘in the name of science’, their curiosity, their overwhelming egos. Once they set their mind on a goal will do anything to achieve it, dispassionate towards those tested on yet fixated and passionate on what they’re doing and unwilling to let test subjects go, the ‘father of gastric science’ even enlisting his prisoner into the army so that if he tried to escape he’d be killed, thinking and acting as if their test subjects are their god given property. They show that animal and human life isn’t worth anything in the pursuit of power and prestige, weapons of war, everything else is a side benefit but popularized to make it seem worth it, even moreso the further back the experiment happened. The episode with the bringing back to life/defeating death wannabe showed how he used euphemism for his work – he can save your beloved dog that was put down in the pound by bringing it back to life – no mention of lab bred dogs, caged, tested on, how many would be lost to the cause, not that people would care much but they would care if it was their beloved pet/family member. Using a historical setting makes the pill easier to swallow but they don’t go into the aspect of how goals/aims and driven obsession that had funding/support doesn’t just stop; if potential was found, the possibility of the test working, with a bit of tweaking, a bit more work, funding – why not? They do show that a project or method can have a name change (e.g. changing the name of a food ingredient after bad publicity/controversial findings but not wanting to remove it from food – aspartame to NutraSweet Canderel, Pal Sweet Diet and AminoSweet), personnel change, sponsor change and so technically that project can be called closed but it’s continued in another form. People are always willing to sacrifice another especially if it’s someone/thing they don’t care about to reap the benefits, even in religion – Jesus? One/few for the many. That makes it ok eh. ‘Progress’ even when it isn’t progressive they think they have a divine/intrinsic human right to know absolutely everything and control no matter the cost.

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We Stand on the Shoulders of Those Before Us

I finally part watched/part listened to the adaptation of ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ (2004) with Jackie Chan (I still prefer ‘Around the World with Willy Fog’ – 1983 Japanese/Spanish cartoon successor to ‘Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds’ – 1981), whilst reading ‘The Earth Turned Upside Down’ (published 1889), it’d be easier if Jules Verne hadn’t been so ahead of his time, so well written and reminds me that in written format people prefer the details because that way they can skim over the bits they don’t want and imagine the rest, and prefer the drama on the screen whilst perhaps light on the facts. The book is brilliant; a critique and wonderment at the same time, scathing and yet so delicately done. It tells of man’s audacity to own and use everything, of people vs people, of vanity in the media and diplomacy and its effects on the public all with a distinct vein of humour. As someone who is able to laugh at myself and able to laugh at others laughing at me, I can appreciate that. It reminds of me Saki (1870-1915) though he was apt at making jabs at other people even if they were of his class. Verne wrote ‘The Earth Turned Upside Down’ so well that it’s almost like he didn’t know how the story would end so he simply circumvented the plot and made it into a joke, but the ‘what if’ remains if you didn’t skim the false technical lingo, if he really knew what he was talking about he hid it in implication which was understandable, people still believe Newton discovered gravity by an often depicted Red apple falling/being given to him like Eve in Eden. (He studied the ‘occult’; Alchemy, Freemasonry, Sacred Geometry and some of his ‘alternative science’ writings were conveniently destroyed in a laboratory fire. Remember many of the ‘fathers’ of the sciences were masons and many religious.) Over 100 years after Verne’s book people are trying to find out about the types of poleshift we’re going through, what’s causing the magnetic one, the movement of the crustal one and then the possibility of the other one, the effects of the Nibiru system, fracking and the booms/metallic sounds people keep hearing, weather modification, changes to the gulf stream and Earth cooling.

On being jaded

I understand a lot of people are put off by the most grasping and envious personalities, the ones that cling the longest and take the most enjoyment in it even if you don’t want anything to do with them and they can only really shine when the more able personalities have left their pond, lapping up your years of work like they were there. There’s a difference between survivors and people who’ve gotten older, the latter tend to have done so off the backs of the former.

You know the phrase ‘keep calm and carry on’ – that pretty much translates into ‘ignore it, don’t get bothered’ in practice but that’s dismissive and careless; the helpful level of calm is being in complete control of your mind, not just thinking you are. That’s why so many people are scared of kundalini yoga for example and put others off, they talk about ‘activation’ and ‘opening yourself up to entities’. Unsurprisingly it was Mum who told me to do it (whilst she didn’t because beyond being excellent at basketball and a speed walker when she was younger exercise isn’t her thing), and I achieved in 7 weeks what it takes others years to get to because they separate the mind and body of it (like we do in modern marital arts). Our concentration and hence consciousness is already stretched as it is.

I didn’t experience any kind of physical makeover but that’s most likely because I’ve spent most of my life since childhood doing disciplined exercise, thinking hard, learning from older people, trying to get people to be kind to themselves and each other, trying to do so myself; I was prepared. Therefore I don’t know what ‘activation’ or ‘awareness’ is like from kundalini yoga but I do know it can be triggered by other things like trauma, illness, seeing something strange that changes your understanding of life, physical accidents, mind altering substances. I know that I was forced into ‘interesting’ subjects at age 12 and from families with wealth believing their children are god sent and one generation being named in chronological order of the ages/stages of humanity/spiritual conversion/destiny. Except for the wanderer beggar priests/esses I have a sliding scale of respect for the others, diminishing the more the status of ‘Brahmin’ means to those more interested in materialism, part of the reason Buddhism was so successful was because it sheltered the ‘untouchables’. The priest framework is still masonic, obviously, knowledge and ability can only be put in the minds and hands of the trusted and trustworthiness and loyalty proved. They play a big part in people’s lives, even ‘common’ people can have a birth scroll written for them. Destiny, place, honour and respect are very much steeped and I wouldn’t be against that if it weren’t overdone, the opposite in the West and Westernizinfg influence over there. Over here people in general don’t have to earn everything in their lives, even their life, the right to speak, to lift the eyes, head up, don’t owe a debt to parents and ancestors for birth, every bit of food on the plate, though of course over there people can get around duty by using proxies. Ironically both methods turn into false pride – people there have earned their place in society or not (or can’t if the caste/class system is still strong where they live), here we’re allowed to be big mouthed and full of ourselves based on almost nothing other than that we exist – except we too feel the pull of class systems. All these years and we still haven’t really got a balance.

By the time I was 15 I was pushing against the influence of the older but not wiser. When I got into kundalini much later I didn’t have any epiphany. It just made me calm, very calm, able to breathe in multiple ways which was the most important thing and less affected by those who have to bother others, and that bothered them. This is where I see possible risk comes in for full body disciplines that work on your available senses e.g. yoga affects your hearing, sight, breath, nerves and touch via using the vehicle/body, it’s practical and so your body gets stronger, supple, more immune as well as long as you’re devoted to it and not just scheduling it in. Most people do not achieve that, many find even the idea of meditation alien and would need mind altering substances or frenzied states like chanting/dance for the same thing but would likely lack the control since the physical/mental exercises give you practice. If/when a person gets close to focus, trance/meditative states they may find something traumatic happens (if in a situation with hangars on) that would set them back and throw them off kilter, maybe even put them off trying to focus again for years if not life. But that is the nature of having so many conflicting personalities all vying to live and climb above each other via breaking the will of others at the same time. It’s just like people who go on pilgrimages and then stampede when they get there trampling and crushing those they’re supposed to be helping and if you stop and try to help someone and ask others to stop, help or give you room they just look at you blankly if they notice at all.

‘Opening yourself up to’ others via strengthening practice to me means it won’t just be regular people who usually notice you, it’ll be those on your new level and above, that’s why you have to strong beforehand and ready to get stronger afterwards because you’re the new kid on the block and everybody has to throw their weight around, why being strong comes at a price. I haven’t found any easy route but those who latch on to you are looking for an easy ride. Why many abusers are attracted to people who’ve already been abused, easier than breaking new ones in and they can slide into their comfort zone without much hassle, until they get bored and want somebody else. There are more people who aren’t predatory personalities getting stronger but everything takes a long time – we have to ask ourselves where we want to be in the balance of weak to strong and how much you’re willing to lose (and there’s always more to lose even when you think you’ve nothing left) in the possibility of gaining small steps. Are you the kind of person who people feel better for knowing, who feel more confident? The people you like find their circumstances improving, even long standing problems they thought wouldn’t change, they feel happier and those who you don’t like/dislike you benefit too usually through mutual dislike of you with others and the perks that come with that which are important to them?

I agree with trying to get along with each other, trying to understand – remember retro tv shows like ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ (1972-76) – excellent piece of satire almost like the later shows ‘The Real McCoy’ (1991-96), ‘The Word’ (the dates elude me) and ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ (on radio 1996 then on tv) which featured ethnic groups taking a mirror to themselves rather than making frequent comparisons with other groups; they’re not promoting racialist prejudice, they just show us what we’re stereotypically like and how we can appreciate each other better. It’s not for everyone and it’s not always the best method, but when it’s necessary it can be profoundly effective. I don’t agree with unconditional love, as far as I can see people who dislike you want any emotion/rise they can get; famous people survive as long as they get a reaction. If your ‘enemies’ prefer your love/approval/benevolence/association, why? Anger is always put down because people like to see superficial anger in those they dislike as something to laugh at, to catch a person out in, to get them into trouble, others find it unnerving and makes them wary. If/when you find yourselves in situations where others do their best not to let you get angry, and the situations change if/when you do, why? I’m not talking about superficial emotions here that fluctuate, change from moment to mood and drive people. This is self-possessed emotion which is why I can talk about calm, love and anger together when they’re not obviously complimentary (1 seeming neutral and the other 2 passionate or changeable); but remember anger is not hate, you can get angry with those you love and it’s often easy (so something we have to work on) but that doesn’t mean you hate them. It’s the same with love and all your emotions, don’t waste them on those who aren’t worth it. People say being angry is losing control, the same goes for love if you’re just living in it, in the moment (or in love with the romance over the person). There’s justifiable anger, justifiable love, both are something to hold dear.

There’ll be plenty who imitate and those with the audacity to want to be better at being you than you, but under their identity. It’s pathetic even moreso when they dislike you. They’ll put you down for something, then do the same themselves and try to be loved/acclaimed for it. They need you, work on not needing them. Those who dislike you will dislike you more for it. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away, I’ve never agreed with the ‘ignore them and they’ll go away [and concentrate on someone else]’ mantra of teachers a couple of generations ago and further – but making people admit what they’ve done is a long, hard slog too. Why should they? If they apologize they’d prefer it to be token, private or public in a way that makes them look good and you’re expected to forgive them and move on. Not many want to genuinely be sorry and deserve to be forgiven (if what they’ve done is forgivable), people prefer forgiveness to be an act of compassion/charity and others expect too much before forgiving or tolerating in situations where the upset was disproportionate.

I’m not talking about strength and balancing emotion as if I’m an example, I’m not that strong anymore. That’s life, the people in it and me for being both too strong and not strong enough. But there have always been people who want to be strong, really strong and I’m not going to say it’s all about love and light, and that positive thinking will win; it’s not about good vs evil, and good being destined to win over evil. We’ve lived in a long state in disharmony haven’t we, according to ancient history and geology there’s been at approximately 5 extinction level events, or major planetary upheavals that we remember and we still haven’t changed. It’s about who is stronger, the way we live we make ‘might is right’ but you have to ask yourself what kind of strength you want to win – the type that’s been winning and warring throughout history or something else? And bear in mind that being too loving may have been what got us in this predicament to start with.

Just for a bit of levity – imagine a traditional hot spring, you’re nice and relaxed and then you turn around and see other animals bathing including ones that are as strong or stronger than you and you think ‘oh o_o okay…’ lol it’s not a problem but just don’t expect to be alone or with only those that are just like you. They’re not like those who’re there just because you are, they’re there doing their own thing and that’s ok, there’s nothing to be afraid of or worry about as long as you don’t provoke each other and they can better sense your emotions anyway no matter what poker face you have. The spring wasn’t meant for anyone to monopolize. It’s the hangars on that live off you and that you perhaps live off that causes the friction. Ask yourself do they need you or do you need them, and if you don’t need them do they hang on to you even more?

As far as I’m concerned the weak already inherited/took the Earth, it was done and we continue it through pack mentality and pyramid scheme – hey it works and when there’s discontent and unrest you just shuffle round the public figures and change the names of the heroes and enemies – I prefer to be both independent and sociable, neither servant or master. In the structure of varying levels of weakness/strength the strong that put up with the weaker/less strong yapping, deriding, having a go etc because it makes the lesser ones feel better about themselves and if the stronger came down on them it’d make them feel bad. I realize that applies to me in comparison to those stronger than myself too, if only much more of us put a lot of effort into trying not to make existence into one big feeding exercise though (e.g. ‘you’ feeding off the stronger, the weaker feeding off you vs ‘you’ feeding off the weaker, the stronger feeding off you), consistently evaluating and trying to improve, being conscientious.

On symbolism

I’ve written quite a bit on symbolism, it’s a tool, a lingua franca so changes; both pictograms and written language have levels of meaning e.g. phonetic, concept and slang, the further back you go the more context you need and etymology becomes even more important. Many words and symbols have multiple meanings.

That said some vehicles of symbolism are not even a messenger, the symbolism is the message e.g. the children’s film ‘Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure’ (2012), one big ball of symbolism playing both sides for US patriotism, confederates vs the yanks, they even get the children to swear an oath of allegiance. Ironically if this was a film of a different nation with a different national religion it probably wouldn’t be seen positively.

Japan has and still is the best at revealing and exploring information; history, the feelings, thoughts, technology, the effects of life, possible situations, desire, dreams and destiny despite many people immediately associating it with ‘childish’ battles/card games, teenage ecchi and adult hentai.

‘No. 6’ (anime version 2011) tells a partially twisted version of the story where all other stories come from, to the point and stays there but you have to know what you’re looking at otherwise it seems formulaic, lacking in depth, cliche, unsophisticated though the artwork is good – quite the sleight of hand to make the important seem unimportant, hiding in plain sight so people don’t even notice, making it mediocre. (For the more modern audience a better symbolic telling of the rat, human psyche and our place in life would be ‘From the New World’ – anime version 2012-13.) I know the older stories to an extent but people’s plans show through their chosen endings and many anime endings are twisted, to the point where I can’t even be bothered to watch them anymore. In regards to the use of the Mother Goddess; in some stories she is missing/taken/dies and replaced by a false mother, in others she returns in some form or another, in ‘No. 6’ she is forcibly returned and sacrificed so the children of the Earth can continue, again.

I just want to say thank you to the person who showed Mum an image they made of me carrying her and others so not to be too hard on me, I don’t often and don’t think I should appreciate those who use their skills to intrude, but once in a while there’s something. Don’t worry I’m a softie 🙂 but I won’t be relinquishing anything.

On levels

For those who see things in levels; doors, windows, barriers, bridges, slopes, stairs, balconies, fences, gates, floors etc that is the inside and outside and layers of each. Traditionally people think of 3 levels; the gate/outer wall, the inner and the temple/house/city whatever imagery. When I visited an exhibition at the Grand Lodge on Great Queen Street – the building with the White high, almost windowless, thick walls and Egyptian temple structure in the middle – afterwards a man who seemed quite nice wanted to know who I was, the thing is he was outside of the gate and I went through easily. (Even though I’ve gotten on with people I’ve met in Masonic lodge libraries/museums I only try to visit once because I’d rather not be there.) He was a member, I’m not but it doesn’t work like that – just because you put boundaries on a place doesn’t mean the ‘property’ agrees with them so even outsiders can be inside and insiders out, just like making/extending an Eruv. All sorts can pass through/exist there even if you’ve marked it for your travel/residence.

There are more than 3 levels to that symbolic virtual game (not the existential physical game), most people will not make it through 1 in their lifetime. I can get through 4 without thinking about it, 5 I notice, 6 a bit more and getting tired nowadays, 7 & 8 I don’t get to much and beyond only a handful of times and practically impossible in the last 10 years since fortifying has improved. If you’re not getting to 5+ regularly you might as well be a nothing, you don’t count and have to rely on those more able. If you want to better the game for everybody you need to be making it to levels 6-8. Like all virtual and augmented reality it’s absolutely not for those with any physical health issue. If being transitional and visualizing are not your thing changing the situation is better, any little thing can look like something else, it’s just how you recognize it. I can’t say how to, I don’t know, but you’ll likely fail far more often than not.

Better not to play really, especially if you see things in more than levels – e.g. in duplicates, triples, quadruples etc that copies. Ever been so wry that your dreams/daydreams could have ending credits/logos and theme music? Probably why so many in the film industry can switchover and in between public and private films, and why video games are so intense.

Some interesting dates for today:

Cinco de Mayo
Europe Day
Hidirellez
Kodomo no Hi
Liberation Day in Netherlands
Martyrs’ Day in Albania
National Day of Prayer
National Day of Reason
National Hoagie Day
Ascension of Jesus
Leilat al-Meiraj
Feast of Saint George – Interestingly enough both Christians and Muslims see Saint George as the curer of madness (perhaps an underlying theme for the controversial Red Cross organization).

A lot of war, religion and politics there; a lot of suffering.

Like I’ve said before I’m not religious, I don’t believe in God(s) even if I knew about it/them I don’t have faith and to some that’s a problem but whilst I don’t like many of the beliefs I’ve never begrudged people having belief. There are many people who without them would have nothing, nothing to hold on to; horrible pasts, sh*tty present and no nice foreseeable future. They need something/someone to believe in, to make life worth living, to get through the days. I don’t think it’s alright to take advantage of them and everybody should be educated in the history of their beliefs imo but at the same time one of the few Ghandi phrases that I agree with is ‘there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread’. It’s not that easy to mock when you know that.

Silly news of the day in retrospective

So I’ve just read about the reactions of parents to Channel 5 showing ‘Watership Down’ (1978) on Easter Sunday, I don’t see anything wrong with the decision to show it. It’s an important story and at least it’s closer to the book than Animals of Farthing Wood (series 1992-95) and Animal Farm (cartoon 1954) though the message for all such stories is the same, just used by different people hence the conflict.

I don’t agree with scaring or scarring let alone parents/guardians who cause phobias and complexes in children by remarks, stories, jabs, insults but the point of metaphors and similes is to purvey meaning and maybe truth (the problem is some people’s allegories are just cruel, and not in the ‘truth is cruel’ way but just told for the sake of being cruel); pretending to sanitize the world won’t make it less of a jungle, hiding those who are beastly by behaviour whilst simultaneously seeing danger lurking in every shadow.

Perhaps they would have preferred the largely altered ‘Water Babies’ (1978) instead and none of the Disney films that show traumatizing events (I’m not a fan of Disney but obviously a lot of their films are ‘high’ caliber, they have the experience for it and that’s not necessarily praiseworthy) but again the message is the same since we as people have hardly changed, our lifestyles have not our personalities.

Now this is a story many would think looks childish, it’s not and was widely banned/restricted. Not for the fainthearted.

Ringing Bell (1978)

I’m not a sheep, ram or wolf.

Gallery

10,000 Years Later, or Not

http://gbtimes.com/life/china-made-x-rated-animation-10000-years-later

Cinema is big business in China. Overall box office there racked up US $4.8 billion in 2014. That may be less than half of North America’s overall box office of US $10.35 billion during the same period, but still represented a rise of 36 percent from 2013. In North America, the numbers showed a 5 percent decline.

Among all the reasons behind the changes, ticket prices and viewing habits are quoted as two of the most significant. An average ticket costs RMB35 or US $5.6 in China, compared to US $10 in the US. An absolute majority of the cinema-goers in China are young people below 35, who reckon the activity as part of a nice day out. For those in the US, watching a film can take place at home whenever one wants via online providers such as Netflix.
Venture in the Void

There is also something quite remarkable about the top ten highest-grossing films in China last year. Five of them were US productions. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” came first by earning more than US $300 million. The runner-up, a home-made romcom, fell short by more than US $100 million. The other US films on the list were namely “Interstellar”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. The one thing they have in common, besides the “Made in America” label, is plain to see: they are all sci-fi.

Indeed, for all the domestic cinema successes in China, that is one major element missing. Sci-fi and fantasy is a genre that Chinese fans cannot get enough of, but so far the country has yet to generate a credible offering. But that is about to change in 2015 with the release of “10,000 Years Later”, an animation about the dystopian world in 10 millennia from now.
X-rated?

The film has been seven years in the making, according to its official press release. It is described as a showcase of the “aesthetics of violence”, and therefore, is saddled with an adult-only certificate barring audience under 18. Just how effective the ban is remains to be seen, but the story itself is hardly X-rated.

It centers on a little girl from a Tibetan tribe. The world has become a desolate place after it lumbers on another 10,000 years. A dark force is growing to threaten the very existence of the earth. The girl realizes she holds the key to destroying this enemy and embarks on an adventure to save the world.

Sounds innocent enough. The fuss is solely due to images deemed violent and disturbing but are an essential part of the combat between good and evil, and due to the special effects which makes the film sci-fi. Some comments from the ever-discerning Chinese audience on seeing the trailers, however, are not encouraging.

But after all, they are connoisseurs of such US classics as “Transformers” when it comes to state-of-the-art SFX. One can only see for oneself how good or otherwise China’s first brave foray into the genre looks.

The film is scheduled for both domestic and international release this March [2015].

This is a strange film both in animation and storytelling. It was China’s first fully CGI film and it shows. The animation switches from dated to breathtaking constantly, from basic virtual reality/video game characters in both their styling and bulky movement to awesome beings and increased fluidity, contrasted with utterly superb landscapes and architecture. I didn’t find the musical score as noticeable and the sub-titles were enough to make me wary of the dubs which are often worse in my opinion. There’s more battle scenes and overly long to boot than action fans need, they ripped off Lord of the Rings big time plus Yoda from Star Wars and Cheetara from Thundercats made it in there. The characters don’t really get much dialogue, it’s basically one big fight and yet it’s compelling…

10,000 years after the Earth has gone through some kind of catastrophe human, humanoid and non-human tribes have formed, there are multi-cultural areas and wanderers too. A young girl from the Ballad (bard) tribe along with her faithful dog Warrior and blind grandfather travel through all the lands they can accumulating and spreading knowledge and soon that nomadic, well learned yet innocent spirit will come in helpful. A warlord has decided he’s going to acquire the ancient magic and bring back TechCity (the age we had before the catastrophe). Calling our science ancient was understandable given the future setting but it was surprising when the ancient magic spoke and said it was older than the gods, and unfortunately (perhaps the subbing) it seemed to say the period between it giving us fire to much more advanced knowledge was negligible e.g. 10,000 years ago we got both fire and Einstein’s equations. To a being/existence of such advanced age it could be a blink of an eye whilst being lost/forgotten for another 10,000 years felt much longer in comparison… Perhaps.

When the world as we knew it changed we lost all of the gods except two ‘gods of humanity’ left to watch over us. One invisible female whose voice we hear and power is shown through flower petals and a male stone giant; both are exquisitely portrayed but apart until the little girl reaches out to them. The goddess is in another ‘dimension’ and the god stiffened to statue his heart hardened but the girl is able to bridge both space and emotion even without knowing how.

The fights scenes take up most of the film; as well seeing the variety of strange species, the final battle shows that we caged animals, controlled food/veg by DNA, cash was king and even used fire people as cigarettes/lighters; the way in which the girl defeats the warlord is incomprehensible but beautiful.

Due to the violence the film’s age rating in China was 18 but exempting one bloody scene at the beginning it would likely be PG-certified here since it’s not very ‘realistic’ (well, the zebra guy proves to be quite the martial artist). Amidst the battling there are scenes of sadness and hints of humour that did move me but might seem superficial to others. It’s a strange mix of messages; being Chinese it’s not surprising that the warlord wanted to rebuild and spread TechCity in the West (though it was showed as the West of China) but at the same time it was promoting Tibet…

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

I want to live in Fruit & Veg Land O_O

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

‘Books were burned, buried. Witnesses killed. Much went into preserving each one.’

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

‘We have one power left: hope. We live in confined and restricted environments. We can only see knowledge from above, away from the distractions.’

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

‘Is it really the ancient magic you seek. Look to the oracle’

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

“I felt your helplessness. Thank you for singing your song in the Western regions'”
…………………. “Me? I’m too small and weak. I won’t be able to do this.”………………………. “The path is already before you. It only takes someone to see the dark clouds, and the light beyond.”

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

‘I will write history.’

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

The goddess’ hand/stones of power – the warlord’s minion tells him to take it but he can’t and wants to let it destroy the enemies first instead making it easier to use himself.

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

The ancient magic, it existed in the minds of many creatures before influencing people.

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

‘I made them into gods, and they forgot me. Took me for granted. Why should I give power to gods with humanity in them.’

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

The giant stone god. He feels betrayed and alone, tries to crush the girl and her protectors but feels her heart and decides to protect her too.

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

They were turned into statues and constellations, the stone god walks above the planetary grid to get to them.

10000 years later chinese cgi animation film

TechCity returns to Earth.

I don’t know which gods the two gods of humanity are supposed to represent from the Tibetan pantheon, if any, they could just represent the general idea of Tibetan Buddhist compassion and mercy. That said the perception of Buddhism has been skewed for… The whole time Eastern vogue spread again last century? A bit like people associating yoga with Sikhism and Western yoga teachers converting to it (especially those who learned kundalini from Yogi Bhajan) when Sikhism is only a few hundred years old and a streamlined form of Hinduism with bits of Islam. Yoga is one of the comprehensive life sciences predating Vedic/modern Hinduism but was incorporated… In regards to Tibet their native beliefs before Hinduism and Buddhism are hard to ascertain (as well as priests being very exclusive), Bon re-emerged with Buddhism and then being in the Himalayas all the areas attached to it hold the mountains as an earth home of the major gods, the area also being sacred to Jainism. Everybody likes to claim Mount Kailash/Kalisa in particular, well they would wouldn’t they. And some forms of Buddhism also shamelessly claiming the Taras are male. By the time Buddhism got to Tibet they already had numerous mother/goddesses but since the Hindu main males (Shiva – female name, Brahma – female name and concept, Vishnu – not female but he’s bisexual and at times turns into a woman, Indra – female name] have put their names over everything e.g. you have Shiv[a] claiming to be Kalachakra and Mahakala and to live in Kailash. If only his name hadn’t been retrospectively stuck on a weather god from Harrapan. It’s no wonder the popularity of the ‘thunderers’ (a mightier version of the ‘roar’) being the heads of the pantheons to follow e.g. Odin, Zeus, Thor, and the God of the old testament.

Whether they represent any of the known gods or not it’s interesting how the film claims the ancient gods died out/went away and so when they’re re-awaken for the fight you see the Tibetan rock god reaching out and working with the Greaco-Roman gods who claimed the last they were here they helped people… In one sense Tibetan Buddhism allows for this because it acknowledges bad enlightened beings or enlightened beings pretending to be bad in order to create moral dilemnas for people and push them to be better/enlightened, they basically admit to playing both sides. Akin to the Greaco-Roman gods playing games with people for entertainment, to alleviate their boredom. In that sense the misuse of the swastika by the Nazis kinds of works since the warlord is compared to Hitler (though worse) but at the same time it doesn’t appear that well thought out, the filmmakers had the Tibetans as the heroes yet forgot the importance of the swastika to them?

After the people and then the gods coming together we’re shown nature and culture joining the fight so we see elementals and figures manifesting from their environs such as water and paintings working together as if to say our whole culture will prevent/defeat TechCity but our culture included and brought about the technological age its highlighting. It’s awkward because we are tool orientated without modern technology but there’s a difference between using tools and needing them to the point of not being able to manage without. The film shows the popularized idea of intricate and dangerous ancient building mechanisms (it would have been more interesting had they shown ancient cultures had batteries, specs for flying machines and temple statues that floated via magnetism) but not why they dislike modern convenience tech e.g we have become dependent on it, weaker and less able in essential skills.

Ultimately it seemed to say don’t worry no matter what we do, over how long, even repeatedly – a Jesus/sacrificial figure[s] will try to help and then a goddess will come, save us and give us another chance. Hmm.

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