345 – Pacific Rim (2013)

spacetime coordinates: 2020 – 2025 Alaska // Hong Kong // Manila // San Francisco // Pacific Ocean //  Tokyopacific_rim_coverPacific Rim is a 2013 American science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Charlie HunnamIdris ElbaRinko KikuchiCharlie DayBurn GormanRobert KazinskyMax Martini, and Ron Perlman. The screenplay was written by Travis Beacham and del Toro from a story by Beacham.Pacific-Rim-Quad-PosterPacificRim_DOM_RGB_3200x1600.inddThe film is set in the future, when Earth is at war with the Kaiju,  colossal sea monsters which have emerged from an interdimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers,  gigantic humanoid mechas each controlled by at least two pilots, whose minds are joined by a mental link. Focusing on the war’s later days, the story follows Raleigh Becket, a washed-up Jaeger pilot called out of retirement and teamed with rookie pilot Mako Mori as part of a last-ditch effort to defeat the Kaiju.

Knifehead, the first Kaiju to appear in the film, is a tribute to the plodding kaiju of 1960s Japanese films, and is intended to look almost like a man in a rubber suit; its head was inspired by that of a goblin shark. Leatherback, the bouncer-like Kaiju which spews electro-magnetic charges, is a favorite of del Toro, who conceived it as a “brawler with this sort of beer belly”; the lumbering movements of gorillas were used as a reference.  The Kaiju Otachi homages the dragons of Chinese mythology. The director called it a “Swiss army knife of a Kaiju”; with almost 20 minutes of screen time, it was given numerous features so the audience would not tire of it. The creature moves like a Komodo dragon in water, sports multiple jaws and an acid-filled neck sack, and unfurls wings when necessary. It is also more intelligent than the other Kaiju, employing eagle-inspired strategies against the Jaegers.  Onibaba, the Kaiju that orphans Mako Mori, resembles a fusion of a Japanese temple and a crustacean. Slattern, the largest Kaiju, is distinguished by its extremely long neck and “half-horn, half-crown” head, which del Toro considered both demonic and majestic. 

Gipsy Danger, the American Jaeger, was based on the shape of New York City’s Art Deco buildings, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, but infused with John Wayne‘s gunslinger gait and hip movements. Cherno Alpha, the Russian Jaeger, was based on the shape and paint patterns of a T-series Russian tank, combined with a giant containment silo to give the appearance of a walking nuclear power plant with a cooling tower on its head. Crimson Typhoon, the three-armed Chinese Jaeger, is piloted by triplets and resembles a “medieval little warrior”; its texture evokes Chinese lacquered wood with golden edges. Striker Eureka, the Australian Jaeger, is likened by del Toro to a Land Rover; the most elegant and masculine Jaeger, it has a jutting chest, a camouflage paint scheme recalling the Australian outback, and the bravado of its pilots.

Rather than popular culture, the director drew inspiration from works of art such as The Colossus and George Bellows‘s boxing paintings.

The classic Japanese woodblock print  The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai was a common motif in the ocean battles; Del Toro recalled, “I would say ‘Give me a Hokusai wave’… we use the waves and weather in the movie very operatically.”  The director asked that Knoll not necessarily match the lighting from shot to shot: “It’s pretty unorthodox to do that, but I think the results are really beautiful and very artistically free and powerful, not something you would associate with a big sci-fi action movie.” Del Toro considers the film’s digital water its most exciting visual effect: “The water dynamics in this movie are technically beautiful, but also artistically incredibly expressive. We agreed on making the water become almost another character. We would time the water very precisely. I’d say ‘Get out of the wave [on this frame].'”

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Rim_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/

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338 – Doomsday (2008)

spacetime coordinates: 2035 Glasgow // London doomsday posterDoomsday is a 2008 science fiction action horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall. The film takes place in the future in Scotland, which has been quarantined because of a deadly virus. doomsday mapgreg-staples-the-wallWhen the virus is found in London, political leaders send a team led by Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) to Scotland to find a possible cure. Sinclair’s team runs into two types of survivors: marauders and medieval knights. Doomsday was conceived by Marshall based on the idea of futuristic soldiers facing medieval knights. doomsday poster 2The director intended Doomsday as a tribute to post-apocalyptic films from the 1970s and 1980s,  (Conception)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0483607/

152 – The Lost City of Z (2016)

spacetime coordinates: Ireland 1905 > England 1924  //  uncharted eastern Bolivia 1906, uncharted Amazonia 1912, 1925 // Battle of the Somme, France 1916

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The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American biographical adventure drama film written and directed by James Gray, based on the 2009 book of the same name by David Grann. It describes real events surrounding British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon and disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition.

imdb.com     wikipedia

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On 21 March 2004, the British newspaper The Observer reported that television director Misha Williams, who had studied Fawcett’s private papers, believed that Fawcett had not intended to return to Britain but rather meant to found a commune in the jungle based on theosophical principles and the worship of his son Jack.  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Fawcett

114 – Alois Nebel (2011)

spacetime coordinates: autumn and around Christmas 1989 to the backdrop of Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution // jeseniky mountains // small railway station Bílý Potok // Prague

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Alois Nebel is a 2011 Czech animated drama / neo-noir directed by Tomáš Luňák, based on the comic-book trilogy by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99.

It is set in the late 1980s in a small village in the Jeseník Mountains, close to the Polish border, and tells the story of a train dispatcher who begins to suffer from hallucinations where the present converges with the dark past of the expulsion of Germans after World War II. The black-and-white film was animated mainly through rotoscoping and stars Miroslav Krobot as the title character.

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trailer

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1374985/

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…but what does it all mean, when there is no one left to remember…
…the great cavalry charge at Gaugamela… or the mountains of the Hindu Kush
…when we crossed a 100,000-man army into India…
What do they know of the world, these schoolboys?