Eye of the Story

The Evergreen State College

Author: crohay21

College Freshman, filmmaker, nice guy.

Another Film Idea

This is an idea i had for another film. For whatever reason i am extremely interested in animation in live action. Bear with me.

So the film opens with a young guy moving into his dorm the first year of college. He know he has a roommate and is naively excited to meet them and become best friends. Upon his arrival he is shocked to find that his his roommate is an animated character. Turns out the rest of his suite mates are animated characters. Honestly this is all i have to go on so far but i want it to be sort of a comedy with some degree of intelligence and feelgoodness to it, but like some dark realism that will appeal to our generation. Like eventually i want the main character to question his sanity but also have a really good time with these new friends. who apparently are real. To clarify, they are sort of like Wilfred in the sense that everyone can see them but they don’t acknowledge that they animated characters, only the main character see them this way for some reason.

Anxiety Meds

I took my anxiety medication today after class. I accidently saw a picture of my ex-girlfriend on my friends phone and almost puked. I got back to my room and immediately gulped down the dosage. This usually makes me pretty tired so i try not to take it on class days. I layed down and listened to music for a solid hour thinking i would fall asleep, or maybe wishing i would. It’s embrace never came. Friends knock on my door asking if i would want to join them for dinner in town. I thought this sounded like so much fun at the time. We get on a bus and arrive at the restaurant. It is here i begin to feel exhausted beyond comprehension. The meal comes and goes and i am about ready to pass out. Slumped over into  a heap against the wall. Past this things start to get really fuzzy. I remember leaving and getting on the bus. i pass out again. However i wake again only to find the bus hasn’t moved. Bam asleep again this time on my friend who doesn’t tell me or do anything. Everyone’s snapchat is just me acting loopy and out of it. They all think i am wasted. Nope just tired and dehydrated unfortunately. Somehow i made it into my room and took all my clothes off, a detail which i have no recollection of.

WhiteWashed

I want to take time to acknowledge how much whitewashing of Hollywood films is going on. Though it’s been going on for a while, there are a few recent developments that i find especially interesting. The first is of the rumoured new project of Christopher Nolan. It’s said to be a live action adaptation of the revolutionary anime film Akira, which sounds cool on the surface, will more than likely cast white english actors in all, if not, lead roles. This is stupid, so much of the integrity of the film relies on the Japanese heritage of the characters. I hope they at least don’t change the setting to like Neo-New York instead of Neo-Tokyo. Another big thing is the Ghost in the Shell film that is well into production now. This film is another adaptation of anime that takes place in Japan revolving around a special operations unit of the government. Today they just casted the first Japanese actor which really worries me. The main character Motoko Kusanagi is very Japanese and they casted Scarlett Johansson as her. What the hell.

Slow

Today was pretty bland and, for lack of better word, frustrating. It started off with me waking up to realize it was 10:40 and the charger that i plugged my phone into the night before was unplugged resulting in the death of my battery leading to the failure of my alarm going off. So this wasn’t the end of the world and i get up to throw my clothes on and i become so lightheaded that i stumble and hit my head on my bedpost. Awesome. Just what i needed. I then go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, the combination of the lights being too bright and their terrible droning buzz coupled with my recent head trauma gave me the worst headache ever. As i went back to my room i felt like throwing up so i sat down in my chair and immediately fell back asleep. It was at this moment i remembered how i once heard you could die from falling asleep after a concussion. Waking up 10mins later i stood up and felt completely fine, but i just really didn’t want to go to class now because i was afraid that i would fall asleep again. If that were to happen there would be no point. So here i am i read the entire book for the week and didn’t eat anything all day. I did drink an entire thing of iced tea though.

Tokyo Story Close Viewing

As if we haven’t talked about it enough, I’d like like to take us back to week 3 for Yasujiro Ozu’s film Tokyo Story. I have been a fan of his for awhile now and have studied his films in the past. His direction style has greatly influenced me thus far, along with countless other filmmakers. This particular style being conscious of classic Japanese Aesthetic concepts and utilizing them in his cinematography. I had talked a bit about these when we had got into our critique groups early this quarter. Though it may not be immediately apparent to the majority of his non-Japanese audience, many can see that there is obviously some cerebral and cultural depth behind his films.

The concepts of zen and yugen are featured throughout Ozu’s film. Yugen meaning dark obscure, mysterious and beautiful; an example of this being the scene with the older couple at the coast. Obviously the cinematography is dark, utilizing light and shadows, however the fact that they are on the coast and there is no ocean sounds is pretty strange. That shot of the couple against the sea is framed in a beautiful manner. Aside from it being aesthetically pleasing, i can’t really say why i liked it so much. Zen, though a broad concept, I found present in the theme of the film. Part of zen is being aware of the continuous changes in our consciousness. The grandparents are quite retrospective in their small talk with each other noting the way their family has grown up. It is also discussed throughout about how the children and parents relationships drift apart over time and the shifting dynamics of them. We see the most dramatic representation of this in one of the final scenes when Noriko who appears level headed and acts as though she has not changed and is happy, breaks down in tears and confesses, and maybe realizes, her terrible loneliness. It is in this scene she articulates acceptance of life’s disappointments as well.

Another couple concepts found in the film are wabi-sabi and mono no aware. These in a way go hand in hand; while wabi-sabi is the beauty in the imperfect and impermanent, mono no aware is awareness and gentle sadness toward the transience of things. Though wabi-sabi could be applied to some of Ozu’s shot set up and set direction, a narrative example of when wabi-sabi came into play was when Noriko spent time with the grandparents in her small apartment. Here the grandmother speaks of how it’s a treat to sleep in her dead son’s bed. Seeing some sort of elegance in the grim matter. Mono no aware is a theme present for the entire film. One of the more obvious is the grandparents feelings about their son’s death. Though they are saddened by it, they wish for Noriko to remarry to be happy, as this was traditionally uncommon at the time. They recognize his passing affects the rest of her life and want her to move on as she is still young. Another time it comes up is when the grandmother is talking to the youngest grandson on the hill about how he will grow up and what he will achieve and who he will become, though she will not be around to see it happen. All the while keeping a smiling face.

My final concept ma is space and emptiness; it comes from the word mu which actually means nothingness. While this can be exemplified in Noriko’s feeling of sadness and the literal empty space left by her husband and his mother’s passing, it can also be found in many other aspects of the movie. The dialogue of the film, the positioning of the actors in the frame, the sound and music score or lack of, and shot composition all consider ma. Ozu used this concept of nothingness in all his films in some way or another. When Ozu passed away in 1963 he actually had the single word mu placed on his grave. If you go far enough back the chinese root of the word actually means “the gate to enlightenment”, I think this is a quite fitting relation.

Oscar Wao and Genre

Hayden Crongeyer

Cline/Schrager

2/8/16

Without researching the novel ahead of time I had zero expectations for it. Not evening reading the back of it, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized what this book was actually about. I connected with the novel in a way that I couldn’t with the others. The tragic stories of Oscar and those around him are often compared to the sci-fi or fantasy genres that he was greatly interested in. Being a Genre nerd myself, I believe it is the narrator, Yunior’s inside references and comparisons that allowed me to relate to Oscar on a level unlike any of the other characters we have read about this quarter. It is the same love of Genre that established myself as an outsider since a young age.

First, I want to talk about Genre and how it affects Oscar. When Yunior speaks of Oscar’s love of Genre, it is always capitalized. Genre is used to refer to the sci-fi/fantasy comic books, films and television, and games that could be considered “nerdy”. Because of this, it is Genre that establishes Oscar as a “nerd” and it is his nerdiness, intelligence, and appearance that establish him as an outsider. Along with this, he feels like an outsider within the Dominican community because of his interests. Then once his family moves back to the Dominican Republic, he is even more of an outsider. Fitting in almost nowhere, his only real solid ground and “home” is Genre.

Now directing attention to chapter 4, this is where Yunior talks of living with Oscar in Demarest Hall. Right off the bat it is apparent he is talking himself up in a macho jock ladies man sort of way and making Oscar sound even more sad than he really is. Yunior wants to conform to the stereotype of Dominican masculinity, less interested in Oscar’s “fanboy madness”and more about weight lifting. Keep in mind, it has been Yunior making all these Genre references in the novel so far. On page 172, it becomes apparent that he is ashamed to know about nerdy things when he says Oscar put up a sign on his door in elvish language. “(Please don’t ask me how I knew this. Please.)” Yunior narrates. It’s further down this same page that he talks about giving Oscar shit for watching the anime film Akira all the time, though he “liked shit like Akira”. And this is where I immediately found a weird parallel.

Bear with me as I add some context. Akira is a 1988 dystopian cyberpunk anime directed by Katsuhiro Otomo based on his manga of the same name. The film has amassed a large cult following and is considered by many a landmark of Japanese animation. The plot revolves around a young biker with new found psychic powers named Tetsuo Shima, and his friend Shotaro Kaneda, the leader of their biker gang; The Capsules. Tetsuo is weak and introverted among the youngest in the gang, he has problems with being seen as junior member and a runt. He is stubborn and naive about the consequences of his actions as well as exhibiting an inferiority complex. Kaneda is egotistical and a show off, though beneath his tough cocky exterior he has a heart of gold. He looks out for the safety and well being of his close friends, especially Tetsuo.

I thought for awhile that I discovered an amazing inside Genre reference, but it turns out on page 184 it directly acknowledged. “I always thought of myself as the Kaneda of our dyad, but here I was playing Tetsuo.” states Yunior after witnessing Oscar hanging out with the goth girl Jenni. This was just one of the many Genre parallels and nerdy inside references that Diaz has placed in the book. I have found that my enjoyment of the novel is largely in part due to me being able to understand and catch all if not most of Genre in-jokes. Diaz has masterfully created a multidimensional character that feels like a real person, and it’s the depth of Oscar’s character that makes me feel as though I know him. I can’t help but feel like we would have gotten along.

January 17

It’s now Sunday, it’s been a long day. I had bought plane tickets last night for my brother and i to head home. we both needed to return to school and felt like we had said our goodbye to grandma. my mom didn’t understand and was a crying wreck. She wanted my brother to stay with her. it was a control thing more than anything. without getting into too much detail he had to sneak out. i kissed my grandmother goodbye. i felt her cold hands and placed a note i had written to her in it. i knew i would not see her again. this pained me more than i could explain. so as i left out the front door and my brother climbed out a back window and over a fence, my mom broke down crying and begged me not to go. and that was hard. but i had to get back to school, i was now telling myself this was my grandmas wishes. my brother and i met up at a Lowes hardware store down the street. we had no ride to the fresno airport from madera so i had to call a cab. this taxi was cash only so i had to go get cash back at the store by making three purchases. the cab ended up being about $100 and we got to the airport on time. we got to our terminal safely early and sat there looking out some giant windows. my brother and i sat in silence for the most part. really for most of the day we didn’t speak to each. i think this was in fear of someone mentioning grandma. we didn’t want the guilt of us fleeing back to Washington to become known to each other. the plane ride got played over in phoenix Arizona. we were there for about 3 hours. we were there until about 5:30 when or next plane took off. we sat in this terminal once again in silence. the sky outside had turned a pale blue with oranges and pinks streaking across the landscape. i don’t think i had ever seen anything like it. i started to cry. my brother saw this and he too started to cry. at some point i realized this and we shared a silent look of acknowledgement. this lasted for a about a minute as we wiped our tears and tried to appear less sad. the plane ride home wasn’t too bad the sunset as we took off was too beautiful to describe and the foggy starlit fight was haunting to say the least. absolute yugen. we landed in pdx and our father picked us up, we then got some food and started heading up north to take me back here to olympia. my father got me some groceries and dropped me off. i said goodbye to him and my brother, we once again shared a look. i told him to take care of himself. i think he will be fine, probably better than me. as they left some friends come into my suite and i told them about my past week and the long day. they seemed like they cared and offered consolation. they then retired to their respective rooms. by this time it was about midnight, and my phone had been dead for hours. i plugged it back in and was surprised to see a text from my mom. my grandma passed away at 11:20 that night, roughly around the time i got back to my dorm. peaceful and in her sleep she took her last breath. my mom said “she had returned to the stars”. i wept alone in my room for the next hour.

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Movie Idea

The following is an idea for a feature length film I had.

The film centers on a young man who is the last person in existence. There was no apocalypse or war or plague. Everyone is just gone. He simply woke up one morning and realized no one was on earth anymore. He didn’t have any strong relationships or family so it wasn’t to big of  change for him. Or so he thinks, as time goes on in the film we watch his character go mad and become extremely lonely and even more depressed than before everyone disappeared. He begins to wonder if its all a dream. This causes him to feel like he needs to wake up and he tries everything to do so but nothing works so he turns to trying to hurt himself awake. He decides that falling will wake him up, as the sensation of doing so generally wakes him up. He goes to the largest building, which he recognizes as somehow familiar in the city and jumps from the top, however he lands on a car appearing dead and not waking up. Everything goes black. However he awakens from the top of the car and is faced with an animated character who takes him back home and nurses him back to health. The character becomes his best friend and it is implied that they he is possibly just a figment of his imagination. The man then starts seeing other animated characters. These imaginary friends begin to populate the empty world and the character seems to be in a better mental state. he now has relationships and friends. they get into silly situations and hijinks. All the while the man feels in the back of his mind that none of them are real and he is crazy. but he doesn’t care. However all the fun comes to a stand still when the main character sees a real life human woman who seems oddly familiar. They both can see the animated characters and begin to have a relationship. The animated characters become a bit jealous and they plant a seed of doubt in the man’s head by telling him that if he created them, then it’s possible he just made up this woman. the man starts to spiral out of control at the thought of nothing being real and is tormented by the city of animated characters. In order to escape it all he believes he just needs to get away with the girl. So they both leave the city behind, and go into the surrounding wilderness. This is an exciting adventure at first, free of the characters who he now believes were somehow real because they stayed in the city, though as things progress he is more and more suspicious about the girl. in conversation it is brought up that it’s possible she isn’t real. he realizes that he doesn’t know where she comes from and when questioned the girl doesn’t know either. When it becomes apparent that she isn’t real either this is when all hell breaks loose. The other characters begin to reappear and the environment bends and twists and transforms into different trip landscapes that are all obviously unreal. The world then swallows him and suffocates him. his last sight being that of the girl floating above him in a void of white light. Suddenly he wakes up. it really was all a dream, he was in coma after he tried to kill himself by jumping off of his office building. it was a miracle he survived. He was driven to suicide about a year earlier after the stress of losing his job and separating with his girlfriend. it was her who kept him on life support the entire time he was out. they are reunited and make amends, all is seemingly coming to a close when the man sees out of the corner of his eye the cartoon character that was his good friend. the film ends with the open question of what the hell was that?

© 2022 Eye of the Story
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, Washington

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