Films are therapeutic

What is film therapy and can it replace psychotherapy?

Reading time 7 minutes

With the onset of autumn often comes a slight sadness and apathy. According to statistics, in the autumn season, one in two people may be in a  depression, or otherwise moping. In this period of grey workaday life and distancing can lift your spirits with the help of films. But is it possible to cure yourself with them?

A movie will brighten up a dull autumn evening (source: Istockphoto.com)
A movie will brighten up a dull autumn evening (source: Istockphoto.com)

HOW CAN CINEMA BE A THERAPEUTIC TOOL

When watching a film, the viewer often associates him- or herself with the main character and notices the similarities between the situations in his or her life and the character’s difficulties. Because of this, there is empathy for the characters. Thus, the behavioral tactics pursued by the film’s protagonist can inspire the viewer and encourage them to solve their own problems. This is called film therapy.

Film therapy is a branch of psychotherapy in which films are used as medicine. Movies reduce anxiety levels and help people find answers to their worries.

HISTORY OF FILM THERAPY

Throughout history, filmmakers have searched for ways to hold an audience’s attention. Hence the interest in the study of the human psyche and methods of influencing it through color correction, sound, editing, and other creative mechanisms of cinema.

The audience’s reaction to the movies they watched was actively studied from the early 50s. Both individual and group perceptions of films have been studied, in conjunction with the psychological processes that can arise during viewing.

The first publication on film therapy came out in 1951. It was an article by M. Prados’ article «The use of films in psychotherapy».

So how does our mind react to films? (Source: Vuzopedia.ru)
So how does our mind react to films? (Source: Vuzopedia.ru)

BASIC METHODS OF FILM THERAPY

«Cinematology» by Antonio Meneghetti: films can be used to analyze people

The first book on film therapy was written by Antonio Meneghetti. One day during a collective discussion of a film, the psychologist noticed a consistent link between the complexes of the participants and the opinions they held. This was the starting point for the discovery of a therapeutic method, which the author called cinematology.

The author believes that from the patient’s reaction to the film he watched, one can draw significant conclusions not only about the person himself but also about his psychological traits.

«The purpose of cinematology is not to teach or critique the director’s work, but to use the film to analyze the people experiencing these images: the viewer is emotionally complicit in exactly that which identifies him,» Meneghetti wrote in his book «Cinema. Theatre. The Unconscious».

Films often make viewers feel strong emotions (source: Bigstockphoto.com)
Films often make viewers feel strong emotions (source: Bigstockphoto.com)

Harry Solomon’s film therapy: films make our problems obvious

American neurologist Harry Solomon tested the effectiveness of film therapy through his own experience. As an adult he became bankrupt, addicted to alcohol and drugs, but he got himself out of this state thanks to films.

But he started to use films as therapy after a particular situation that happened to him at work. A patient’s life story reminded Solomon of a film, so he recommended her to see a film. The practice made a lasting impression on the woman and helped her to cope with the problem.

Solomon found that film therapy was more effective if films were chosen in which patients could recognize themselves. This helps people to recognize problems that they did not want to hear about.

You empathise more with someone who is similar (source: Kinorium.com)
You empathise more with someone who is similar (source: Kinorium.com)

Tav Sparks’ Movie Therapy: Movies as a GPS navigator for self-discovery

Psychologist Tav Sparks also believes in the healing power of film. In his book «Cinema Yoga», the author explained how cinema therapy works. Each person has an inner power, which is expressed in their reactions to the world around them. The task of the patient, therefore, is to learn to control his or her emotions and to stop being a victim of what is going on around him or her.

The author sees watching films as a process of self-knowledge, in which, as in a psychotherapist’s appointment, one works on oneself. However, the advantage of film therapy as a method of healing is that film allows you to learn about yourself in an entertaining and playful way. Interesting fact: In his book, Sparks describes in detail how film therapy takes place using an example of how a navigation system works.

Sergey Krasin’s Directed Film Therapy: The Importance of Film Therapists

Sergey Krasin, PhD and psychologist, has long developed film therapy training programmes for teachers, parents and school students. In the course of his work, the author became convinced that treatment with films can be more effective if patients are psychologically prepared beforehand to watch a film and discuss it afterwards. Thus began the story of Sergei Krasin’s method. The author divided film therapy into three equally important stages: work with the film therapist before, during and after watching the film. The task of the therapist is to help the patient mentally adjust to consciously watching the film in order to gain new information about themselves and their difficulties.

Film therapy can help people cope with their difficulties on their own, without the intervention of psychologists or psychotherapists. It is worth remembering, however, that in serious cases this method is best used strictly under the supervision of a specialist.

 

«Stick it»: it’s all our own fault

The new «W-M» crew begins their flight and looks into why sport is simply absurd

Reading time 11 minutes

With autumn moping sweeping the country, it’s high time we turned to energizing and driving films. On this occasion, today we decided to delve into the world of artistic gymnastics and review «Stick it», starring the feisty Missy Peregrym!

Мисси Перегрим с коллегами по фильму (источник: Кинориум)
Missy Peregrym with her film colleagues (source: Kinorium)
Storyline

A woman’s eye

«Stick it» is based on the story of a strong girl with «sports in her blood». But her parents’ divorce and the disgrace of a previous competition discourage her from aspiring to anything, much less a gymnastics career. The new Haley Graham chooses individuality and freedom to be in control of herself and her life rather than «six hours of daily exercise that kills you». Fun friends, BMX freestyle and a fresh breeze in her head. Soon, however, Haley has to face up to the gritty world of gymnastics and her carefully forgotten past again, because otherwise, she’ll face jail time. It’s up to the heroine to rein in her rebellious spirit and learn some important life lessons. What’s really wrong with the world of artistic gymnastics? What does winning depend on, and what is its true value?

Burt Vickerman and Hayley Graham in the gymnasium, still from the film (source: MoviePlay)
Burt Vickerman and Hayley Graham in the gymnasium, still from the film (source: MoviePlay)

But «Stick it» isn’t really about sport. It’s a film about life, about growing up, about finding your values. The main characters of the film are, first of all, ordinary people, with their personal problems, and only then – strong-willed athletes. Haley tries to cope with the resentment of her mother leaving the family, Joanne dreams of going to the prom, and Burt Vickerman struggles with his greed for victories.

A man’s perspective

The plot is interesting in that, if reversed, you get another stand-alone statement. In the exposition, we see a girl (Haley) completely disillusioned with the sport and finding her place in the skateboarding subculture. She sees sport – in this case, gymnastics – through. And it is extremely difficult to argue with her views: sport is indeed traumatic, both physically and mentally. A bizarre set of circumstances, or rather a choice without a choice (in which she is willing to choose prison and the military academy over returning to gymnastics, but her opinion is ignored) forces her to return to sport and take revenge (on herself or on life?). Throughout the film, her beliefs don’t really change. Rather, Hayley acts as a messiah and opens the eyes of other girl athletes, and therein lies her rebelliousness.
Turning the plot around in reverse order, we get a character who is disillusioned with the sport and has found herself in a different occupation and a different society. I don’t claim to know which is better, the original or the reverse, but the second is at least closer to the truth.

What's behind the cheeky shell? (source: Irecommend)
What’s behind the cheeky shell? (source: Irecommend)

Directing

A woman’s eye

«Stick it» is directed by Jessica Bendinger, who is known for writing scripts for films such as, «Bring it on» and «Aquamarine». Jessica is also the scriptwriter of some episodes of the popular TV series «Sex and the City».

Jessica Bendinger with the cast (source: kinomania)
Jessica Bendinger with the cast (source: kinomania)

Bendinger spent several years researching and selecting material on the sport of gymnastics before starting work on the film. She subsequently created a documentary presentation based on them, after which several studios were interested in the project. However, Disney got the rights for the project and so Bendinger made her directorial debut. Jessica thus completed her project for Touchstone Pictures in association with Spyglass Entertainment.
Despite the fact that «Stick it» pretends to be a sports story genre, many critics gave the film low marks precisely because of its poor conveyance of the atmosphere of sports. However, if you look at the film as a whole, you can’t help but enjoy it in terms of music, styling and color correction.

Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)
Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)

The costumes of the gymnasts reflect the inner world and character of each heroine. Haley Graham’s fiery leotard, in which the rebel gymnast performed freestyle exercises at the US championships to driving music, deserves special attention.

Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)
Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)

The musical component of the film is also admirable. The lead song was sung by six-time «Grammy» winner (Missy Elliott), and Mike Simpson, who has written music for such critically acclaimed hits as «Fight Club», «Road Trip» and «Freaky Friday», worked on most of the soundtrack.
It is also worth noting the presence of interesting technical tricks in the film, thanks to which «Stick it» looks with interest and does not lose its dynamism. The school championship scene which is mounted in kaleidoscope style stands out in this regard. All the gymnasts in brightly colored leotards and fast music perform their routines at the same time.

School championships, still from film (source: l2db)
School championships, still from film (source: l2db)

Also very evocative was the introduction scene of the two significant characters in the film, Burt Wickerman and Joanne. The figures of both characters scrolled 360 degrees while information about them appeared on the screen nearby.

A man’s perspective

The film offers aggressive editing in the comedy and action scenes, and conversely, long, even slow-motion shots in the drama scenes, further enhancing the emotional edge of the action. The overall aesthetic, coupled with soundtracks and sound effects, is reminiscent of MTV music videos. Flip phones, BMX bikes, snapbacks all evoke a sense of nostalgia for the early to mid-2000s, the time when the film was released.

Overall impression

A woman’s perspective.

The story may be sagging in terms of sports atmospherics, but «Stick it» is definitely a colorful, stylistic film that’s a pleasure to watch. At the same time, the film is not devoid of meaning; each protagonist has his own drama and questions about himself and his life.

Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)
Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)

The film is really not about sport but about people. Haley Graham tries to understand who is guilty of her failures throughout the whole film. Eventually, the girl realizes that there is no point in looking for those responsible – she has to act because everything depends only on herself. This allows the protagonist to curb her rebellious spirit and gain the courage to take complete control of her life.

Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)
Still from the film, 2006 (source: Kinopoisk)

The film leaves a pleasant aftertaste, brimming with inspiration and hope. The story brings out the universal rule of life: it’s never too late to take matters into your own hands. And it doesn’t matter at all whether the issue is sports, decency or winning. In this respect, it’s a good thing that the subject matter is not limited to sports because this makes «Stick it» more interesting to a wider audience.

Burt Vickerman and Hayley Graham at the US Championships, still from the film (source: MoviePlay)
Burt Vickerman and Hayley Graham at the US Championships, still from the film (source: MoviePlay)

The male perspective

The film, which is announced as a sports drama, maintains a relaxed atmosphere. And though the humor is sometimes based on toilet jokes and stereotypical behavior of the stereotypical characters, you don’t have a desire to switch it off – all the same it is a light film for an evening viewing, preferably in the company of your friends. As for the overall message, it’s clear: if the sport is brutal and meaningless and – since you happen to be there – stay in solidarity with your partners and rivals, and be prepared to take responsibility for your actions. A similar philosophy should be transferred to life. For Haley, it does, as the sport becomes just the backdrop to a central message voiced by the heroine herself: «We are the only ones responsible for everything. That’s the real reality».

 

 

 

Lobster’s adventures

On the merger of the real and virtual worlds in the works of Philip Colbert

Reading time 3 minutes

Actual art is often perceived as the antithesis of the traditional, when the artist breaks with its old forms and patterns and creates something fundamentally new, and — most importantly — consistent with the interests of the modern public. The most unusual means of expression are used now. The more extravagant these methods are, the better: it’s more likely to surprise the viewer. Many art objects in galleries today are perceived by visitors as “divorced” from aesthetic samples of past years. Philip Colbert’s work (by the way, some find similarities between him and Andy Warhol) is another example. This British artist manages to saturate classic painting subjects (such as a hunting scene) with elements of modern reality, recreating their original meanings.

Like a bolt from the blue
Like a bolt from the blue

«I became an artist when I became Lobster», — said Philip Colbert in an interview. Exactly this fictional character in bright pajamas, placed in the center of most Colbert’s paintings, reflects the author’s alter ego. For him, Lobster became a kind of mediator between the real and virtual worlds, which, according to Colbert, today are often mixed and become difficult to distinguish. The influence of the consumer society and, as a consequence, mass culture (one of the main topics for this very artist), which for Lobster turned into a struggle for survival, is ironically played out in many works, which at first sight amaze in their own way with aesthetic randomness and wide color spectrum.

Find your alter ego!
Find your alter ego!

«I believe the duality in my work is expressed primarily in the use of very bright colors — festive, positive and cheerful, which convey positive energy, but with dark, gloomy subtext, scenes of violence, as well as a reflection of the modern cult of consumption and the negative effect that it is having on our planet», — explains the author.

The charming Lobster is at the center of events
The charming Lobster is at the center of events

Colbert boldly mixes time periods and styles, collecting his own cultural code from disparate fragments. It contains dozens of logos of popular brands, faces of recognizable artists of past eras, landscape elements, pop-ups of social networks, and even references to surrealism (for example, Salvador Dali’s elephants in the background of an artwork).

Everything we can imagine is real
Everything we can imagine is real

Lobster Land is a semi-fiictional/semi-real world. An alternative reality, overwhelmed by the possibilities of choosing a wide variety of goods and entertainment for any taste (though first you have to «obtain» it). However, perhaps the most difficult thing for someone who once appeared there, is not to lose his or her head and return to the earth in time!

5 reasons to watch Patrick Melrose

Not recommended for the faint of heart, but still...

Reading time 6 minutes

In 2018, German filmmaker Edward Berger premiered the mini-series «Patrick Melrose», which tells the story of the eponymous hero’s attempts to deal with the traumas of his past and live a life of dignity. The project did not receive an unequivocally enthusiastic response from the audience but was nevertheless extraordinary. This article explains why it’s worth watching.

  1. An atypical role for Benedict Cumberbatch

One of the most in-demand actors, not only in the UK but worldwide, admitted in an interview:

«I think my strength is in my brain, not my muscles. But that doesn’t embarrass me. It is very easy to look clever. It is much harder to play smart. But, because I grew up in high society and went to one of the oldest schools in the world, I have to play asexual sociopathic intellectuals for the rest of my life…»

Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.

So Patrick’s eccentric role is an entirely different one. The protagonist claims to be a self-destructive leader in every possible way: alcohol, drugs, promiscuity – the list does not end there. Not every film gives you the opportunity to watch an almost completely demoralized Benedict dancing in a drunken stupor.

  1. Visuals.

«Patrick Melrose» is full of its own aesthetic: in places bright and juicy, like the fruit on the trees that grows outside the luxurious Melrose villa, in places depressing and gloomy, highlighting the spiritual poverty of the individual characters (no spoilers).

Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Melrose Jr.

The detailed interiors complement the style of the recreated time. The same applies to the choice of locations (the French countryside alone) and the costumes of the characters: together, they create a harmonious picture that is particularly pleasant to look at in natural, warm light.

sun was shining. What else was it supposed to do? - Patrick Melrose
The sun was shining. What else was it supposed to do? – Patrick Melrose
  1. The sound of music

The musical accompaniment to this story also leaves no one indifferent. The retro atmosphere here is not just in the picture, but also in the soundtracks. The pilot episode, for example, is accompanied by the Cat Stevens song «Wild world», as if preparing the viewer for a mental transport to a couple of decades ago. Except that as one gradually delves into Patrick’s childhood and learns details of his interactions with his parents, it becomes difficult to call the nostalgic mood evoked by the music a restful one.

A person can lose their mind because they are experiencing an emotion that they have to suppress. - Patrick Melrose
A person can lose their mind because they are experiencing an emotion that they have to suppress. – Patrick Melrose

The series also has a place for original soundtracks, with emotional responses ranging from anxious and disturbing to melancholy and alienating.

  1. A witty tragicomedy

Patrick’s story is a coherent narrative not only and not so much about the ways in which he destroys his ‘normal’ life, but about the reasons that have made the latter unbearable (primarily mentally). Melrose was born into a well-to-do aristocratic family, but his background and wealth did not make him happy. His mother’s indifference and his father’s unreasonable, perverted cruelty turned little Patrick’s life upside down for many years to come. The relationship within the family is a central theme of Berger’s mini-series, and one which all of us can feel particularly strongly about.

Forgiveness is an important thing, especially when you are forgiven. - Patrick Melrose
Forgiveness is an important thing, especially when you are forgiven. – Patrick Melrose

With each series, the life of the protagonist grows more and more hopelessly detailed.  Nevertheless, his story is presented in an interesting, even amusing and satirical way so that we want to watch it through to the end (even if it is psychologically difficult).

  1. A chance to compare the series’ experience with the books

The plot of the series is based on the series of novels by Edward St. Aubyn, whose work is highly regarded by the performer of the title role. The series of books is called a modern classic, noting the author’s distinctive style with its inherent sincerity, impartiality and irony. It is important to note that the works about Patrick Melrose are largely autobiographical: their idea was inspired by real events in the life of St. Aubyn.

 

Great artists – truth or myth?

Dispelling myths about 5 great painters

Reading time 6 minutes

Art of the turn of XIX-XX centuries – what is it? Great? Breakthrough? Unexpected? Undoubtedly. But the word «different» better describes the art of this period.

The second half of the 19th and 20th centuries gave us many great artists and genres. And individual masters have become tightly associated with their directions in art. Does no one doubts that Kazimir Malevich – Suprematist, and Auguste Renoir – the pioneer of Impressionism?

But there were artists who did not identify themselves with those styles at all, as is commonly believed. Today we will tell you about five of the most famous of them.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí

What is the question? Obviously, he is surreal… however, stop. In fact, the most famous surrealist painter in 1939 was excluded from the group of surrealists, and for the next 53 years of his work he was not the official representative of this direction. From their conflict, by the way, was born the phrase of Dali «I am not a surrealist, I am surrealism!»

Dali discovered his own unique technique – the paranoid-critical method, which differs from the method of the surrealists. And despite the fact that Dali is now considered the greatest representative of Surrealism, for most of his career he formally belonged to a different style.

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882
Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882

In many sources, Édouard Manet is ranked alongside Claude Monet and the Impressionist company. In fact, Edouard was their predecessor. Of course, Manet communicated with the Impressionists and was interested in their work, but he himself denied any involvement with this style. On the contrary, throughout his career Manet strove for an official professional appraisal – that is, the recognition of the Salon, which the Impressionists opposed. And Manet never even once exhibited with them.

Edvard Munch

Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893
Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893

Next on our list is the author of the famous «The Scream» and other masterpieces. The direction of the artist, it would seem obvious – expressionism. But no! Expressionism evolved much later and independently of Munch. Meanwhile, the Norwegian master the young expressionists considered the ancestor of the direction and were inspired by his work.

But Munch himself created under the influence of Symbolism – a style of which he was a contemporary.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)

The Mexican artist was considered by her contemporaries to be a Surrealist (particularly André Breton). But Kahlo herself categorically denied it (although she actively exhibited with the surrealists). She said that she «painted only her own reality and was not into fantasies». Plus Kahlo had no special education, and in combination with her formal features her work is referred to as the direction of naive art.

Bonus

Leonardo da Vinci's drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)
Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)

Leonardo da Vinci – who was he?

The author of «Mona Lisa», «Vitruvian Man», «The Last Supper» and many other masterpieces which everyone knows for sure. However, the master never positioned himself as an artist. In the Renaissance, science and art were two sides of the same coin, and an outstanding man had to prove himself in different fields. Leonardo da Vinci referred to himself not as an artist but as an engineer (for example, in his resume, which he sent to the Duke of Milan in 1482). Another indication that painting was not his main occupation is how few paintings he painted.

Of course, the boundaries of styles in art are very conditional – everything is adaptive and subjective, each work of art is unique and combines many elements. But we have tried to dispel 5 common myths about well-known artists, based on generally accepted norms.

All that is known about the 2021 Grammys

Nominees, scandals, date, and new records

Reading time 5 minutes

The Grammy is the most prestigious music award in the world. Each year the National Academy holds an award ceremony. A jury of producers, sound engineers and musicians award the artists by voting. Each musician dreams about gaining at least a Grammy nomination. Here’s what you need to know about the 63rd Awards.

When and where?

The awards ceremony will be on 31of January at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It has been held there for 40 years, since the beginning of its broadcasting. It’s not yet clear what format the event will take: it all depends on whether the coronavirus situation in the U.S. worsens. «We will make a decision about the audience and the carpet closer to the date,» the Grammy website says. In addition, the names of the presenters and performing artists are unknown.

55th Grammy Awards, 2013

Beyoncé got the most nominations.

After the «Black is King» album released in July of this year the singer got 9 nominations. Now Beyonce has 79 nominations and 24 statuettes. If she wins 8 more, it will be the record-breaking quantity of Grammys. In addition to Beyonce Dua Lipa (5) and Billie Eilish (4) lead the way in the number of nominations.

A still from Beyoncé’s visual album «Black is King» 2020

BTS’s first serious nomination

BTS is a Korean boys band that continues to break records and conquer the West. The guys finally received Academy recognition and a nomination for «Best Pop Duo/Group Performance» for their song «Dynamite». Their hit topped the Billboard Hot 100 music chart for two weeks. BTS will compete for the statuette with other pop stars: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
The band did not receive a nomination for «Best Album», although their release «Map of the Soul: 7» was recognized as the best-selling album in the first half of 2020.

BTS on the carpet at the 62nd Grammy Awards, 2020

The Weeknd vs. the Grammys

This year’s announcement of nominees was not without scandal. The Weeknd did not receive any of the nominations and accused the Academy jury of corruption. There really is the reason for doubt: the album by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd’s real name) exploded all the charts and received critical acclaim. It’s all the more strange that the singer’s work has been ignored.
Abel shared his thoughts on his Instagram page. «The Grammys are still corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry in general», he wrote. Drake, Ariana Grande and Halsey supported the performer and agreed with his words

The Weeknd’s «After Hours» album cover, 2020

Russians in the West

Two musicians from Russia received nominations at once. Pianist Daniil Trifonov will compete for the award for «Best Solo Instrumental Classical Music Work» for his performance of Rachmaninov. The second, conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, was in the «Best Opera Recording» category. Leonid Agutin, who originally applied for five categories, received no nominations after the Academy vote.

Daniil Trifonov was nominated in the category «Best Classical Instrumental Solo Work»

VR technology in contemporary art

What happens when science, technology and painting are woven together?

Reading time 5 minutes

On October 16 the M’ARS Center for Contemporary Art opened an exhibition of Evgeniya Maltseva‘s works «FLUIDS – a meta-connection of art and technology». The project was supported by «Art Dynamics» studio and musician Anastasia Martyanova. The exhibition will run until January 10, 2021.

«FLUIDS» is an experiment by Evgenia Maltseva. Her paintings are combined with holographic digital animation. The artworks are accompanied by music created by Anastasia Martyanova in the genre of expressionistic realism.

Work by Evgenia Maltseva, presented at the  «FLUIDS» exhibition (source: ArtMoskovia)

The goal of the exhibition project is to penetrate into the inner structure of a person’s life and influence their future destiny. The artist believes that this can be done through image, sound and word. «Through art I want to restore the broken details of life», says Evgenia Maltseva.

Artist Yevgenia Maltseva (source: AiF Udmurtia)

The exhibition was created using VR-technology. Virtual reality is a world created by technical means. VR refers to immersive technologies that blur the line between the real and the fictional. The trend began to develop actively in 2014, after Facebook acquired the startup Oculus VR.

The new media space became an attractive platform for artists. They found in it an alternative way to express themselves. Gretchen Andrew is a London-based artist who worked at Googlé for several years. Deciding to go into art, she combined art and technology in her work. The artist creates pictures using Google Glass. Gretchen shoots a show about the process of creating the artwork. She presents her art in a VR gallery created for Oculus Rift glasses.

Gretchen Andrew’s «Malignant epithelial ovarian cance» (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Australian designer and illustrator Stuart Campbell (creative pseudonym – Sutu) has been creating three-dimensional paintings for the last 10 years. VR-technology allows the viewer to become part of the picture.

Work by Australian artist Stuart Campbell (source: VR-Journal)

Another outstanding VR artist is Eric Parker . He brings his surrealistic worlds to life. The plots of his paintings turn into a dystopian film about the possible future of the earth.

Eric Parker «Switchstance Bay» (source: ARTANDHOUSES)

Exhibitions of VR artists began to take place more and more often in museums and galleries. In the mid-noughties, the M’ARS center even appeared in Moscow. The founders want to regain the audience’s interest in art by using new technologies. Therefore, M’ARS shows works by famous artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dali, and Claude Monet using VR.

Photo from the exhibition YOLO: You only live once (source: M’ARS Center)

With the onset of the pandemic, the rapid transition of art into the digital space began. It is now possible to visit museums without leaving home. For example, the Pushkin Museum has a virtual platform, and the Tretyakov Gallery has launched online exhibitions. To learn more about the world art of the 21st century, we advise to watch a series of videos on the Artifex channel.

The look of artworks is increasingly a hybrid of science and technology. The breaking down of physical barriers and the opportunity to become part of the process brings art to a new level of communication with the audience. «The field of art has boldly stepped into the digital», states international art dealer and independent art digital expert Catherine Schneide

Reading time 6 minutes

Banksy is a British street-artist and a political activist. He is the most famous graffiti artist in the world but works incognito. Banksy’s mysterious personality makes him and his art extremely intriguing and popular: the artist’s works are worth millions of dollars and exhibited by top world galleries. 

Today Banksy’s anonymity has become his unique feature and seems to be a metaphorical part of his image. However, its origin is pretty simple. In Britain there is a law about property damage that protects some city buildings. Drawing graffitis on their walls may entail serious legal sanctions.

A monkey mask and a black shirt – a basiс Banksy’s look

«In the era of the Internet and social media it is hard to hide something. Banksy remains anonymous, and this fact itself is a piece of art. Still, the main factor is the talant, not the artist’s personality. His art is perceived differently by everyone, but the irony, sophistication, and complexity of his works is obvious», — says the founder of street-art festivals Ivan Panteleev to «Kommersant».

1. A girl with a hoop

Someone made a graffiti of a girl spinning a tire-like hoop on a wall of some Nottingham building. This work appeared in October 2020. There was an abandoned bicycle without a tire near the mural. Several days after the graffiti had appeared Banksy posted the picture of this work on his instagram page.This was a confirmation of him being the creator. This place instantly became one of the most popular both for the citizens and tourists.

«Everyone needed such a ray of positivity in these corona times », — Nicola Marshall said to BBC when she came with her son to see the mural.

Cr: BBC
Cr: BBC
2. EU flag without a star

This work is dedicated to inglorious Brexit. The long procedure of leaving the EU caused some backlash in society. The mural shows a worker that is removing one star from the EU flag.

Cr: RBС
Cr: RBС
3. Slave labour

The graffiti was spotted on a wall of a London store in 2012. It shows a little boy bending over a sewing-machine. He is sewing together several British flags. This work is Banksy’s reaction to the news about usage of child labour for souvenirs’ production for 2012 Olympics.

This mural appeared right before the birthday of Elizabeth II. A year later this part of the wall was removed and stolen.

Cr: RIA News
4. Balloon girl

A child with a heart-shaped balloon emerged on a wall of a central London building in 2004. Some believe that the graffiti is a metaphor of hope. Others think that it symbolizes the cruelty of modern society which forces children to grow up yearly and abandon their dreams.

Later Banksy made a copy of his work on a canvas. In October 2018 on the Sotheby’s auction it turned out that the frame had a shredder inside.The canvas self-destructed after it was sold for 1.4 million dollars. This was a projection of the creators’ discontent with the sale of his work.

Cr: Gazeta.ru
5. Kissing coppers

This is one of the most famous and controversial works of the British artist. Banksy portrayed two passionately kissing policemen. He wanted the public to pay attention to the problems of LGBT-community. After time passed, the graffiti turned into a symbol of rebellion. Due to a grand backlash it disappeared: it was covered with black paint by anonymous people.

Cr: bit.ua

Banksy doesn’t reduce himself only to street-art. In 2010 he became a director of the movie “Exit through the gift-shop”, it was nominated for the Oscar. Additionally, several years ago the artist opened an amusement park called “Dismaland”. However, the park had nothing to do with conventional entertainment: it was a platform for modern artists and their works.

Angels and “demons”: did aliens really contact saints?

Depictions of UFOs in Christian churches and pictures since the 11th century

Reading time 4 minutes

Did the humans descend from Adam and Eve? Not quite, some of the researchers say. We can see an increasing amount of assertions and so-called “facts” that human beings are under the control of aliens.  Some ufologists state that extraterrestrials allegedly contact some of us. However, the Church’s official representatives do not just reject all these statements but even a theoretical possibility of such kind of “interaction” between a man and “beings from other planets and not just”. Why does the Church with so much vigor try to “retain its monopoly” on the Human Origins?

2014 almost the whole scientific community was curious about an unusual finding. A strange fresco with a supposedly depicted flying saucer was found in a Romanian church. Moreover, the same kind of enigmatic inscription from the Bible was written at the bottom of the image in German: “Israel hoffe auf den herrn” (“O Israel, hope in the Lord”). Apart of a flying saucer, in this story we face 2 more additional mysterious facts:

  1. The fresco dates from the 14th century and there is an original line in German, although Bible was translated by Martin Luther only in 1522.
  2. At that time there lived the ruler of Wallachia Vlad II who was father of Vlad the Impaler also known as Vlad Dracula.
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)

One more similar discovery happened in 2017 in Georgia. There, during the reconstruction of the church, scientists found the mural painting of 12 apostles and Jesus during the crucifixion dating from the 11th century. At the top of the picture one may see 2 unknown flying objects which resemble alien spaceships.

"Crucifixion of Jesus" on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)
“Crucifixion of Jesus” on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)

Two other images of the Jesus’ crucifixion with flying saucers being present are the “Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani dating from the 14th century and a picture “La Tebaide” created  by Paolo Uccello (1396-1475) .

“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)   

So, what do the Church’s officials say about the “extraterrestrial contact” and existence of other civilizations beyond Solar system?

Regardless of being Orthodox and Catholics, Jews or Evangelicals priests are convinced that all the information from so-called witnesses is nothing else as a part of their vivid imaginations, nightmares or even a proof of their sinfulness and connection with the devil.

One of the most logic explanations of such kind of Church servants’ reaction is just a lack of this sort of information in holy scriptures. The Church fears to lose its impact on people, its dominating presence in people’s life in terms of accepting the fact of existence of more developed and powerful forces. It fears to get a lower rank position in people’s world outlook and as a consequence a loss of its respect and authority.

"Baptism of Christ" Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)
“Baptism of Christ” Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)

Anyway, it looks a bit illogical from priests’ side that in view of the absence of information they do preserve only a negative attitude regarding flying saucers as they are depicted in temples near saints and not in a “hostile” way. Why in case of their existence cannot they be helpful to us?

A good example of it is a depiction of Moses receiving commandments from God. It is a world-famous fresco which is placed on one of the walls of the Belgian Cathedral Conti Dotremond.

A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown
A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown

It depends on you whether believe or not in aliens and their possible “visits” to our planet but in no case we have a right to accuse somebody to be inadequate, mentally ill or “linked to the Lucifer” as it sometimes happens. Nevertheless, we should not trust everyone who has seen “them” as too many people create stories for different reasons.

Theatricality in Cinema

What is the relationship between these two arts

Reading time 4 minutes

What makes the languages of theater and cinema so different but at the same time so good complement each other?

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the cinema and theater is that the first one is fragmented. To achieve the desired effect, the director can use many takes – he has a few chances to «replay» the planned. But the viewer has no opportunity to «touch» the action. Film production and the process of consumption of the finished product by the viewer are separated in time.

«Stop! Cut!»

On the contrary, theatrical processes are continuous. The performance implies constant interaction with the viewer, who acts as a «creator». The degree of influence of production depends mainly on the audience involvement, its concentration on what is happening «here and now».

The theater is the art of reflecting (c) Konstantin Stanislavsky

The degree of the conventionality of both cinema and theater is closely connected with communication (mainly non-verbal) between actors and audience. The emotional connection of the viewer is a necessary condition. The theater aims to unite actors and spectators in a single spiritual effort. But both cinema and theater strive to lead us to a state of “secondary belief” – appealing to our personal experiences, associations, and feelings. We empathize with the characters, project the events and behavior of the characters on themselves, interpret meanings, and rethink what we see.

Another important feature is the illusion of reality, and in cinema, it is much higher than in the theater. The director is able to recreate almost any historical epoch, and modern technology makes this task much easier. In the theater, all «special effects» are built-in, and the main mechanisms of influence are the actor’s mimicry and scenery. Spatial restrictions (stage frames) also have an effect.

Cinema should make the viewer forget that he is sitting in the movie (c) Roman Polanski

There are films that are on the verge of theater and cinema. «Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead»(1990, directed by Tom Stoppard) and «Anna Karenina» (2012, directed by Joe Wright) are interpretations of classics in which the artistic possibilities of theater and cinema complement each other.

In the first of them, the techniques of anachronism, demonstrative violation of sequence and visual citation (these resources give the cinema) are combined with the involvement of the heroes-observers in the course of the action: the world for them at some point becomes theater, they move to the stage, in the heart of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» – so there is an external conditionality (theatrical feature).

There are two ways to become an artist. The first is to do what everyone thinks is art. Second: to make everyone think that what you are doing is art (c) Tom Stoppard

In the second – we meet the excessive acting mimicry and live plasticity, striking the splendor of scenery (the illusion of the place) with the effect of «behind the scenes» (in the design of the back of the stage).

Shootings of the film “Anna Karenina” (2012, directed by Joe Wright)

Another interesting example is «The Hateful Eight» (2015). Quentin Tarantino borrows from the theater a method of narrative division into acts: the film consists of chapters, each of which becomes our «guide» in a confusing, dark, and bloody story. Interesting here is the mise-en-scene transferred from theatricality, designed to reflect all the components of the inner life of the heroes, resulting in a struggle between them – both on the moral and ethical as well as physical levels.

«They don’t come here without a good reason»…

The theater has something to offer to the film industry – the possibilities of its language, if used by the director correctly and appropriately, are really able to make a film brighter visually and deeper – in the sense.