On Tuesday Amber took me to see Madame Butterfly at the ENO. It was the Anthony Minghella adaptation. The sets were really brilliant they used bunraku puppets. There were plenty of references to Kabuki; the Kurogo stage-assistants operating lanterns birds and puppets. One of the stage sets included the hanging blossoms borrowed from Fuji Musume. It was visually really engaging and definitely helped my project. The opera was imbued with the cinematic, as you would expect form a film director’s vision.
Although some of the costumes didn’t appeal to my eye it was a very imaginative and visually enthralling experience. It is such a moving story, it made me look again at Pjotr Sapegin’s Aria that Shelley showed us when she set the brief. I really love his interpretation of the story. It’s so painful at the end when Pinkerton goes of with Barbie in the Jeep and leaves Cio-Cio to her tragic fate…
One other indispensable discovery was in the Madame Butterfly program. I saw a picture of Sadayakko, and so I’ll tell you all about her in the next blog post….
At the animatic crit I got some really useful feedback. Everyone seems to be saying that the whole animation needs to be more dramatic, more explicit. Especially at the point of Ariel’s transformation. This is great because I completely agree, I felt the same way when I played back the finished animatic. The more recent Medea inspired character designs will also fit with this, showing a more obvious shift in costume than I managed to express in my first animatic. In fact there were quite a few things I really didn’t convey in the story boards, for example the sets, the shift in costume and the double exposures that were really important. I think I just needed a lot more detail and more panels, so the idea was clearer. Good practice though! I’m going to work on the improved one today.
I want to add lighting effects and stronger camera angles, and possibly even limit the back drops to plain black, and have a single sliding one when the moon appears at the end. Looking at Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome [above] is really helpful for inspiring visual drama; the ornate style of opera combined with the makeshift aesthetic of renegade filmmaking, the extreme coloured lighting with the context suggested by a few props.