O Menino E O Mundo(2013) – A Musical Bildungsroman

the_boy_and_the_world_-_p_-_2014.jpg_0Boy and the World (O Menino e o Mundo, 2013) directed by Brazilian animator Alê Abreu tells the bittersweet story of a little boy who goes in search of his missing father from the idyllic village of naive, simplistic childhood to bustling towns of growth, progress and knowledge. The music elevates the whole narrative to a whole new level, with its instrumental and folk touches.  The drawings are mostly minimalist, created so as to look like a child’s drawings splattered with a wild but intelligent sense of colour. Continue reading

Thoughts on Austen’s Emma – Growth or Decline?

emmaAfter I read Conrad (Victory & Heart of Darkness) and Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility & Emma) I have come to this conclusion: Never believe it when your literary history books call something “excellent” or “brilliant”. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with these texts or their authors, except that you read them not for the stories themselves but their use of words–and the worlds within the words. No ‘humour’ by itself–sidesplitting or nonsensical or the Wodehousian fantastic, but grim ‘reporting’ of perceptions. If there is any humour, the ability to identify them is a reader’s privilege to be earned and the joke is to be solemnly smiled at. The language is distractingly self-conscious; in describing a landscape or a thought, the narrator must go to unparagraphed lengths, abandoning the characters in mid-action and mid-speech, even in mid-thought. For Conrad, craft is art, while in Austen, it is the author’s mind and values that seep through the narrative facade.

Emma is rooted in a commonsensical, pragmatic and highly sensible view of the meaning of life and the world. Emma Woodhouse is an attractive person–in manners, conversation and daily life, but rather than a progression of character (in keeping with its pre-supposed bildungsromanic genre), Continue reading