Though Errol Morris has been increasingly prolific in film and television work since the early 2000s, his first few works were released more slowly. Prior to his 1988 documentary (or “nonfiction film” as some would have it) The Thin Blue Line, he had only made two other films. His 1978 debut, Gates of Heaven, is an eclectic examination of the owners and patrons of a pet cemetery, which manages to evoke deeply spiritual and human concerns despite—or because of—the sometimes vain and superficial subjects. Roger Ebert praised it in the highest terms, as “one of the greatest films ever made.” It was his “Great Movies” review which inspired me to take a look at Morris’s work for the first time.
Since I began this blog last summer, I discovered the wide world of blogathons, and have already participated in some great ones. A blogathon (goofy as the neologism may be) is a great opportunity for finding other like-minded folks who might be interested in reading what you have to write, and in turn for reading their work. I have enjoyed the chance to interact with some great writers and gracious readers, and to have some generous promotion of my own pieces by the hosts of the blogathons.
Here’s a brief departure from my usual content: a very short cartoon created by my son, Leo, on his Nintendo DS. I’m pretty impressed by the animation!
Take 30 seconds and enjoy the most efficient ways to climb a wall.
Steven Lisberger’s 1982 cult Science Fiction adventure, TRON, is a fun exercise in visual storytelling. It is the fantastic tale of a man who is beamed into the electronic world of the computer, where he is forced to survive against the villainous Master Control Program by playing video games against other enslaved programs. On the level of the computer world, the programs look like people with glowing circuit covered tracksuits and helmets. Lisberger was aiming to make a searching statement about the spiritual relationship between humans and the machines we create. By employing the most state of the art computer generated and hand-rotoscoped animation techniques of its day, TRON explored the theme of the interpenetration of the human spirit with our technology. Something of us is in each program we create, but conversely, our technology reaches out to transform and shape the society we live in, and the individuals who make it up.
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
With those words, Ray Bradbury opens his 1953 novel, which still startles with the wisdom of its warnings over a half-century later.
François Truffaut adapted Bradbury’s novel into a film in 1966. The novel and film are centered around the story of Montag, in an unspecified future time where firemen are called to burn books, and their dangerous ideas, rather than put out fires.