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.

«Requiem for a Dream»: a manual for a drug addict or a tragic and beautiful story?

The anniversary of a cult movie is the time to review and rethink.

Reading time 11 minutes

In 2020 the film «Requiem for a Dream» celebrated its 20th anniversary. On the occasion of the jubilee, Darren Aronofsky decided to release the director’s version of the film in 4K on October 13. We decided to remember the film, which is familiar to virtually everyone and discuss our impressions.

«Requiem for a Dream» on the screens again (source: KinoPoisk).

The plot

Female perspective

The plot of the film is quite simple. Aronofsky presents us four main characters: Mrs. Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), her son Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly) and their mutual friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans). From the first minutes of the film we learn that each of them has a certain dream: Sara Goldfarb wants to do a popular TV show, Harold and Tyrone are eager to get rich, and Marion sees herself as the owner of a designer store. There is a weighty obstacle between the heroes and their goals – drugs. Addiction becomes the main obstacle to the dream, making all their plans unattainable. All plotlines are brought to a logical end: four heroes pass through summer, autumn and winter. Their destinies are gradually collapsing, and at the end of the film the tragedy reaches its climax. The director managed to find the balance between the storylines and to reveal each character to the full extent.

Carefree “summer” Harry and Tyrone, frame from the film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s view

I would not agree with my colleague. Yes, each of the heroes has a dream, but it is not what Aronofsky brings to the surface of the plot. The problem is not drugs, but that the characters are too deep in dreams and illusions because of weak will. Yes, Marion dreams of creating her own clothing brand, but take into account the financial situation of her parents. If the girl behaved more seriously, they would support her endeavor. But is it the main thing for her? In fact, Marion herself wants to spend her life next to Harry and to realize herself. The last one, in a very distorted form, she gets at the end of the film. Yes, Harold and Tyrone dream of a «pound of cleansing» (453 grams of pure heroin) and wealth. Is this what they live for? No! It is important for Harry to be with Marion. She was the first person he thought about during the amputation of his hand. His meaning of life was Marion, not money and drugs. He dreamed that she would succeed in the fashion industry and become truly happy. Tyrone wants to become a significant person in society and is ready to do everything for his «ideal» future. This is shown in a scene where he enthusiastically agrees to work for a drug lord for money and status. In reality, each of them just wants to find his place in life. The drugs in «Requiem for a Dream» are a metaphorical curtain on the window. Heroes dream of getting into the street, but do not go out. They prefer to draw the curtain and not to think that there is a neat yard outside their room. And because they «pull the curtain» regularly, they forget about the existence of the world around them.

Acting

Female perspective

The selection of actors in this film was, as it seems to me, extremely scrupulous. Aronofsky approved for the role of those who will immediately arouse the sympathy of the audience. While watching the film, the characters are not disgusted, but rather compassionate. This is a very well thought out move. Of all the cast, the most memorable is Ellen Burstyn. Her heroine gave me the creeps.

Ellen Burstyn as Sara, frame from the film (source: Yandex Zen).

Men’s view

It’s hard to argue that the cast is definitely beyond any criticism. I would especially like to mention Jennifer Connelly. If the theme of drugs is far from your worldview, the motivation to continue watching will be the charming beauty and stunning game of the main character.

Directing and production

Female perspective

The film was filmed beautifully. Colors, frame staging, scenery and views – all in the same style, pleasing to the eye. The business card of the film is the famous splices of the frames, embodying the use of substances. The film is imbued with the aesthetics of that time and society. The strongest scene is shown at the end of the film picture, where all four heroes lie in the embryo position, embodying their helplessness.

Tyrone in embryo position, frame from film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s view

Stunning «Hip-hop» montage from Aronofsky and just an unreal number of splices! The ingenious breakdown of the film into seasons reminds «The Seasons» by Vivaldi. Montage allows us to feel the pace and rhythm of what is happening and it is the «heart» of the picture and sets the movement. However, I did not have enough flowers in this picture. Perhaps more daring solutions could add extra vividness to what is happening.

Overall impression

Female perspective

The film undoubtedly contains strong scenes that show how harmful drugs are to physical and mental health. Accordingly, the message is quite simple and clear: if there were no heroin and amphetamine heroes in life, everything would be perfect. The disadvantage of this picture is the certainty that none of the heroes will be able to live a normal life and cope with their addiction which has developed since the very first scenes. Therefore, the whole film turns into waiting for the fatal outcome, which will be a disaster for all characters. «Requiem for a Dream», in my opinion, lacked the unpredictability of the plot that Uli Edel was able to create in the film «Christiane F ».

Harry and Marion, frame from the film (source: KinoPoisk)

Men’s View

I did not have enough beautiful, bright, carefree scenes «in summer», I would like more colors. Moreover, the heroes are so often «high»!
Another factor that slightly embarrassed me was the lack of noticeable contrast in the scenes starting from autumn.
I definitely liked the plot structure based on the extremes. If you need a «dope», it is impossible to get it in more than eight million city (the film is set in one of the districts of New York – Brooklyn). Therefore, the heroes go in search not just in a neighboring city or state, but in Florida, the distance to which is more than 8500 km! However, to me, it gives additional dynamics, and in combination with the installation looks organic.

Social significance 

Female perspective

«Requiem for a Dream» is among the 250 best movies. The movie by Aronofsky is considered cult because it shows the drug addiction of the present. «Requiem for a Dream» does not romanticize drugs, it shows how substances break destinies. There is a tendency for all movies or series that mention drug addiction to become quite popular (e.g., TV series «Euphoria», «Eagles», «Elite» and «13 Reasons why»). Is it necessary to show the topic of drug use in movies? Why not? But only as long as the mentioning does not turn into the propaganda of such a lifestyle. By the way, Russian psychologists have noticed that «Requiem for a Dream» has psychotherapeutic properties and allows to fight harmful habits.

Ellen Burstyn on filming (source: Tvkinoradio)

Men’s view

I do not think it is correct to compare this picture with work like «Euphoria», too different contexts. In «Requiem for a Dream», drugs are used as one of the connecting elements of all heroes. The «dope» increases rapidly, time runs faster, and the situation in which the heroes drive themselves becomes increasingly desperate.
Drug propaganda is a bad thing. However, take, for example, the cult movie «Dazed and Confused», which is famous in the USA. Throughout the whole time the heroes «get high» and this is what makes it possible to recreate the atmosphere corresponding to the film’s idea. In this way the director helps the viewer to feel the epoch (the action takes place in the USA in the 70s). Aronofsky also uses drugs in the frame to make the viewer experience emotions. The film’s author tries to convey to us: «Live here and now, not in illusions. Act, be yourself and everything can work out».

«DAU»: reality show and documentary film

This autumn the project will resume showing films on the Internet-portal.

Reading time 5 minutes

Some materials of the film project became available at the «DAU» in spring. Ilya Khrzhanovsky planned to show unreleased films at international movie festivals in 2020-2021. However, the pandemic made its corrections and the director decided to publish the remaining films on the Internet.

Still from the film «DAU» by Ilya Khrzhanovsky (source: «Theatre»).

The «DAU» is a parallel spatial and temporal universe, allowing to return to the Soviet Union and explore the complex relationship of Soviet man with the totalitarian regime of the USSR. Ilya Khrzhanovsky He has been creating the project for 14 years. «DAU» includes 14 films, 3 series and 700 hours of filmed timekeeping, which do not obey either chronological or single plot logic and cover about 40 years of life: from the late 1920s to 1968.

Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, actresses Olga Shkabarnia and Natalia Berezhnaya (source: RIA).

The film project literally recreated life in the USSR. The shooting involved non-professional actors who played without a script and lived on the film set throughout the work. The main location of «DAU» is the Institute of Physical Problems. It was home to religious figures, artists and scientists. Including, even our famous contemporaries. For example, Nobel Prize winner physicist David Gross. Employees were paid in Soviet rubles. Party and trade union meetings were also held at the Institute, and the First Department was functioning.

None of the items from the XXI century, up to underwear, was allowed on the territory of the Institute. Ilya Khrzhanovsky in an interview with Kseniya Sobchak said that women during periods used gauze, and there were fines for those who used words and concepts not related to the time of the act.

Screen from the film «DAU. Natasha» (source: platform dau.com)

At some point, the film set turned into a psychedelic journey. With the help of special invitation, visitors could join the project, communicate with its residents, real artists, scientists, filmmakers, and feel the atmosphere of Soviet times. Among the episodic characters were Demyan Kudryavtsev, former director-general of «Kommersant» and «Vedomosti»; film director Alexander Shein, director of Prada store. Thus, the mansion on Piccadilly that embodied the Soviet institution and which is located in one of the most prestigious areas of London, gathered a heterogeneous mass of people – from Marina Abramovich to Roman Abramovich.

At the shooting of “DAU” (source: KinoPoisk )

Despite this widespread public interest, the project caused conflicting emotions. Thus, some critics refused to write reviews, motivating their decision by unwillingness to participate in the PR of a film that demonstrates rape, humiliation and sadism.

In Kharkov in the spring of 2020, a criminal case was opened against Khrzhanovsky. The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office accused the filmmakers of torturing children during filming and of propagating violence and cruelty.

In Russia, the project was treated with caution. Only six films were given rental IDs. The rest of the films were considered propaganda for pornography by the Ministry of Culture.

Salvatore Ferragamo will restore sculptures in Florence

The fashion house will donate more than 1 million euros

Reading time 3 minutes

Salvatore Ferragamo will contribute more than a million euros to the restoration of sculptures in Piazza della Signoria in Florence. Italian fashion house has already donated funds so that the masters can restore the Fountain of Neptune. Over the next three years, it is planned to restore both copies of the statue of David, one of them is located in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio, and the second – in Piazzale Michelangelo. In addition, the equestrian monument of Cosimo I will be restored, as well as the statues Judith and the Head of Holofernes and Hercules and Cacus.

Fountain of Neptune
The Fountain of Neptune is a fountain in Florence, Italy, situated on the Piazza della Signoria
The Fountain of Neptune is a fountain in Florence, Italy, situated on the Piazza della Signoria

Bartolomeo Ammannati’s Neptune is made of Carrara marble and has the features of Cosimo I de Medici, it overlooks the representation of the two sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis (in Greek mythology, two immortal monsters that assaulted the hero Odysseus and his sailors in the wanderings described in Homer’s Odyssey) and is surrounded by satyrs and sea horses, the fountain was built for the marriage of François 1er de Medici who would in turn become Grand Duke of Tuscany and was the eldest son of Cosimo I.

The statue of David

Michelangelo’s David is one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. During that period, sculptors such as Donatello, Ghiberti and Verrocchio produced works inspired by the Bible where David was shown after having beheaded Goliath. However, Michelangelo chose to represent the moment before the combat. Young David is ready to strike the giant holding a stone in his right hand with a sling resting on his left shoulder.

There are three copies of Michelangelo’s David in the city. The original one can be found in the Accademia Gallery. The second copy is located in Piazza della Signoria just opposite to the Palazzo Vecchio. The third replica is in the middle of Piazzale Michelangelo.

Judith and Holofernes
A copy stands in Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio
A copy stands in Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio

Judith and Holofernes, completed around 1460 is a masterpiece by Donatello. Under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II, there lived in Samaria, present-day Israel, a beautiful widow named Judith. The king’s general, named Holofernes, besieged the city where Judith lived. The situation was critical. Judith dressed in her finest attire and took some liquor and delicacies. She went to see Holophernes. The latter, charmed by her beauty, invited her under his tent. Judith made him drink and, taking advantage of his drunkenness, cut his head. By doing that she terrified the soldiers and saved her city. This precise moment is represented there by the artist.

Hercules and Cacus
Statue of Hercules and Cacus in Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, Italy
Statue of Hercules and Cacus in Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, Italy

When the Medici family (late 14th and 15th centuries) returned from exile in 1530, they instructed Baccio Bandinelli to create the statue of Hercules defeating the giant Cacus. It illustrates the victory of the Medici House. Among the members of the royal family were several dukes, two French queens and four Catholic popes.

Salvador Dali exhibition through the Curator’s eyes

A win-win combination for the immortal glory

Reading time 4 minutes

On January, 28, the large exhibition “Salvador Dali. Magical art ” opened its doors to the public in Moscow Manege. Everyone, like Elvis Presley, knows him. Thanks to bewitching paintings, mustache sharp as rapiers and a laid-back walk with an anteater. Painter, graphic artist, fashion designer, sculptor, performer and animator, he staged the ballet “Mad Tristan” and painted the ChupaChups logo, without changing himself.

Monsa Ager, the director of the Dali Museum, helped us to understand better the blossoming complexity of the creator.

In search of immortality

I would call Dali a true universal creator: an artist, graphic artist, sculptor, someone who can translate reality into a completely different plane. But first of all, he is a painter. Interested in classicism, the Renaissance, science, mysticism, he was able to achieve a triumph in surrealism, but did not stop there. He worked with well-known fashion houses, painted the covers of magazines and created jewelry.

He was a humble man who understood that creating a shocking image was simply necessary for his art. All his life, a struggle of becoming as good as his brother, followed him. His name was also Salvador (he died nine months before the birth of the future artist). In his autobiography, Salvador Dali wrote that he had been searching for real faith all his life, but never found a suitable one. Science gave more answers, considering that the artist aspired to immortality. And working on his art, he earned the immortality.

Dali’s secret is kept in the ability to reflect the anxieties of people, their dreams and fears in a very realistic way. When you look at the work of Salvador, you always see elements that cause discomfort, it is impossible to look at them calmly. So, the artist provokes the viewer to play a game. He arouses curiosity. At first glance, it seems that everything is clear in the picture, but then we go deeper and deeper into this tricky game, noticing all the new elements, details and symbols. As a result, the artist leads us into this complex maze and leaves us alone with ourselves and our thoughts. And whether you get out of this labyrinth or not, it is up you.

Symbols

Clock is a favorite Dali’s symbol. The artist was fascinated by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The shape of the clock in his work is fluid and unstable. It shows the master’s interest in the contrast between the soft and hard state of the object.

The Persistence of Memory, 1931
The Persistence of Memory, 1931

The perspective plays a very important role in all Dali’s works. It is an indicator of both time and the depth of a person’s subconscious.

Double images are constantly hidden on his canvases. Perhaps most often they appear as a self-portrait of the artist. This is probably a type of narcissism: Dali was constantly ill in childhood, so he was given a lot of attention – family, doctors, relatives – he still had a need for constant care until his death.

The Invisible Man, 1929-1933
The Invisible Man, 1929-1933

A face with an airplane is the image of a just dropped atomic bomb, which instantly explodes in the right corner, right next to a clock twisted into a tube and a human figure. It instantly affects the world, the passage of time and a human life. Other watches are leaning against the head. They flow down, hinting that the idea of the length of time after the appearance of the atomic bomb has changed.

Melancholy Atomic, 1945
Melancholy Atomic, 1945

Tears, a sad blue face and shadows demonstrate the artist’s attempt to find a place for his art in a new world.

Cracked elements such as vases, clocks, columns represent unbearable human pain.

Color and the turn of the head are homage to Diego Velazquez. Dali turned to his works quite often in the last period of the career.

Seated Figure Contemplating a 'Great Tapeworm Masturbator', 1981
Seated Figure Contemplating a ‘Great Tapeworm Masturbator’, 1981

Vertical figures in the background are cypress trees, which the hero of the picture (presumably Salvador Dali himself) reproduces from his childhood memories. He saw them through the window at school.

The male figure on the left – Dali himself, young, twenty-year-old. His whole life is yet to come. Light stripes symbolize good memories from life, dark ones – awareness of the inevitable end.

Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954
Portrait of Gala with Rhinocerotic Symptoms, 1954

Recognizable features of Gala can also be considered as a certain symbol – inexhaustible love, passion, inspiration and sex. They appear in his works throughout his entire life – sometimes with a naked torso, then with a portrait, sometimes she is only taken apart into elements – but Gala is always recognizable.

 

Theatricality in Cinema

What is the relationship between these two arts

Reading time 6 minutes

What makes the languages of theater and cinema so different but at the same time so well 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, a director can use many takes – he has a few chances to «replay» the planned. But the viewer has no opportunity to «touch» the action. A film producing process and viewer’s consuming of a finished product process 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 a play depends mainly on the audience involvement, its concentration on what is happening «here and now».

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 involvement 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 characters, project the events and behavior of the characters on themselves, interpret meanings, and rethink what we have seen.

Another important feature is the illusion of reality, and in cinema, it is much stronger than in the theater. A director is able to recreate almost any historical epoch, and what is more, modern technology makes this task much easier. In the theater, all «special effects» are built-in, and the main mechanisms of influence are the actors’ 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 violations of sequence and visual citation (these resources are given by the cinema) are combined with the involvement of the heroes-observers in the course of action: the world for them at some point becomes theater, they move to the stage, in the heart of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» – that is how an external consistency (theatrical feature) occurs.

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 one we meet the excessive body language and lively plasticity, striking with the splendor of scenery (the illusion of the site) with the «backstage» effect (in the design of the rear 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 are the mise-en-scenes transferred from theatricality, intended to reflect all the components of the inner life of the heroes, resulting in a struggle between them – as on the moral and ethical as on physical levels.

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

The theater has something to offer to the film industry –its language possibilities if used correctly and appropriately by directors, which are really able to make a film more saturated visually and deeper in meaning.

Where to find a new year tree?

What to do if a New Year eve is coming but the tree is absent?

Reading time 7 minutes

The tradition of decoration a fir at Christmas came to Russia from Germany. Peter The Great introduced this custom to the houses of the noble families and a century later sweets and fruits appeared on coniferous trees in every house. The Soviet government transformed the Christmas tree into a New Year’s one because of the ideological causes. As a result, nowadays it is impossible to imagine New year without a decorated spruce in the room. However, what if the New year is coming and you still do not have the tree?

Buy a tree in the nursery

In Dmitrov or Ulyanovsk nurseries you can choose a tree of 50 cm high for 200 rubles. Unlike the forest cutting, such one does not harm the ecosystems because workers of the nursery regularly sow new trees. In The Moscow region a meter-long spruce costs about three or four times cheaper than in Moscow. Cutting down a tree in the forest is illegal and lead to a fine of 3000 rubles or criminal liability. The forests of the Moscow region are patrolled since December 10.

Eight steps towards New Year mood
Eight steps towards New Year mood

If there is not enough space for an entire tree in the room, you can use spruce branches as a basis and make a garland, wreath, or two-dimensional tree. It depends on your preferences. To make a wall Christmas tree, lay out the branches in a shape of fir and fix them with tape or office buttons. Decorate the tree with garlands, tinsel or balloons, as you would do with the traditional one. Besides the traditional paper snowflakes, you can make Scandinavian garlands or paint papier-mache toys to decorate the Christmas tree. If you want to make a wreath, weave a circle of branches, fixing them on the base with ropes and ribbons. Add cones, beads, and toys to it.

Create a hand-made eco-friendly Christmas tree

Make the main holiday tree on your own from cardboard boxes left over from Packed gifts or old equipment. Also, boxes can be bought in food-stores. It may give them a second life: you can put up the same cardboard Christmas tree for several years in a row. When it becomes redundant or unusable, take it for recycling. Depending on your confidence in the abilities, choose the variant with appropriate difficulty.

Cross Сhristmas tree. Initially, draw the details of the future fir tree on the cardboard as shown in the picture below. After cutting out all the details, take the parts of the tree and insert one half into the other. Then place the connected parts in the base. Color the Christmas tree as you like.

Cross Christmas tree
Cross Christmas tree

Snowflake Christmas tree. It makes almost as the cross but with more details. In this version after cutting the parts of the Christmas tree, they should be glued in the middle with double-sided tape not put onto one another.

Snowflake Christmas tree
Snowflake Christmas tree

Cone shaped Christmas tree. Firstly, you need to make several cones out of A4 sheets. Secondly, connect the parts together with tape or hot glue to make the structure more stable. Putting them together will require a bit of dexterity. A cylinder made of thick cardboard will be suitable as a base.

Cone shaped Christmas tree
Cone shaped Christmas tree

Pyramid-shaped Christmas tree. This variety is for those who can read drawings. Detailed instructions on how to do it are here. So that the tree can be disassembled and reassembled, fasten the parts with buttons not glue.

Pyramid-shaped Christmas tree
Pyramid-shaped Christmas tree

Christmas tree for chemists

For this purpose, you will need legs for a laboratory tripod, the tripod itself, flasks and reagents. Before you start, remember the safety precautions and school chemistry course. Attach the legs to the tripod according to the number of flasks. Choose the color of the “balls”.

Keep such tree away from fire and little children
Keep such tree away from fire and little children

The blue color has copper vitriol (Cu(OH) 2) and copper sulfate (CuSO4). Silver chloride (AgCl) will give a white curd precipitate, and aluminum hydroxide (Al (OH)3) — white jelly-like, barium sulfate (BaSO4) — white flake-like. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and zinc hydroxide(Zn (OH)2) will also produce white precipitation. Silver bromide (AgBr) and silver iodide (AgI) will make the ball light yellow, and silver phosphate (Ag3PO4) lemon yellow. KMnO4 — high quality potassium permanganate, which will stain the water crimson. Conduct experiments, put the flasks in the paws and decorate the spruce.

Tarkovsky is back to large screens again

"Solaris" will be released on New Year's holidays in a restored form

Reading time 4 minutes

On December 26, one of the most famous films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky will be released in 70 cities of Russia. It is a movie adaptation of the novel “Solaris” written by a Polish writer, Stanislav Lem. The film was first released in 1972. Immediately after the premiere, it received recognition from the general public and positive reviews from critics both in the USSR and abroad. This is proved by such awards as the Special Jury Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1972 International Cannes Film Festival, the Prize at the XXVIII International Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 1972, etc. Also, the picture is often recognized as one of the best science fiction movies in the history of cinema. Interestingly, the author of the original source did not accept Tarkovsky’s work.

Андрей Тарковский на съемках «Соляриса»
Andrei Tarkovsky on the set of Solaris

The plot of the film tells a story about the interaction of people with an alien mind discovered on the distant planet Solaris. Like many other Tarkovsky’s films, the main theme of Solaris is various existential problems of a person, such as awareness of self-hatred or acceptance of one’s own fears. The main roles were played by Sergei Bondarchuk’s daughter, Natalia, the famous Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis, one of the regular actors in Tarkovsky’s films, Anatoly Solonitsyn, as well as Yuri Yarvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky and Nikolai Grinko.

Наталья Бондарчук и Донатас Банионис на постере «Соляриса»
Natalia Bondarchuk and Donatas Banionis on the “Solaris” ‘s poster

Restoration of “Solaris” has been carried out at the Mosfilm studio since 2011. Such a long period is a standard for films released more than 40-50 years ago. All defects of the old movie should be eliminated by specialists manually: color correction and sound recording errors. To achieve maximum quality after the restoration, professionals have been working on old materials for years. In addition, “Solaris” is the second restored Tarkovsky’s film in the last year. In October 2018, his 1979 film “Stalker” was released for re-rental. It was about a journey to a mystical room located in a certain forbidden zone. According to rumors, any human desire could be fulfilled there. Just like Solaris, the dramatic parable quickly became a cult and was awarded at the International Cannes Film Festival. Anton Dolin, an editor of the “Cinema Art” magazine, noted that Tarkovsky is one of the few representatives of Soviet cinema whose films still regularly resonate with young people. And not only in Russia: “Stalker” is regularly included in the list of 250 best films according to users of the world’s largest cinema website IMDB. At the moment, the picture is on 181 place. That is why, Dolin believes that the re-releasing of such films on the big screen is justified.

Кадр из фильма «Сталкер»
Shot from the movie “Stalker”