19 October 2014

India Timelapse


This is a fascinating time lapse of the sights of Tamil Nadu in India.  The area (which is the size of Greece) is home to almost seventy million people and has been the home of the Tamil civilization for three and a half thousand years. The capital, Chennai, is perhaps more familiar to some by its old name - Madras.  It is home to many enormous Hindu temples built in the dravidian style.

The timelapse is the work of Visualmondo and is accompanied by a sound track is accompanied by perhaps the most different version of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire (by Ramesh Weeratunga) that you will ever hear.  Altogether it makes for intriguing viewing.



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Lavatory Lovestory


It is said that some men lead lives of quiet desperation - and the same could be said of some women too.  I must say that the title of this Oscar nominated animated short film did put me off a little but I should not have worried that I was going to see something that I would have preferred not to.

It tells the story of a single, middle aged lady who works as a lavatory attendant.  To all intents and purposes it looks as if there is little else in her life but her mundane job and she longs for company.  Making matters worse, of course, is that she is surrounded by unavailable men for the duration of her working day.  Then, one day, she finds flowers in the jar that is used to collect the payment for using the facility.  Is her life about to change?

I never thought that the words toilet and charming would go together, but this really is.  Simply drawn in black and white (except for, well - you will see) this animated short film has pathos and humanity in buckets (and it has buckets too, believe me!).

It was created by the Melnitsa Animation Studio, which is based in St Petersburg in Russia.  You may know them for the animated feature film Little Longnose which was released in 2004. It was directed by Konstantin Bronzit and produced by Alexander Boyarsky and Sergey Selyakov.

Enjoy!



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18 October 2014

A Fisher Cat is Haunted by all the Worms it has Killed


Halloween is almost upon us so you can expect a few more shivers than usual at Kuriositas.  This is by the Tom Fun Orchestra and is for the title track from their latest album Earthworm Heart and animated by Alasdair and Jock from Trunk Animation.  Although most cats would heartily disagree despite the fate of this feline fisher, perhaps vegetarianism is an option after all.



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13 October 2014

The Fleet – London’s Underground River


If you listen carefully just above this unassuming grate you can hear the ripple and splash of flowing water. This is the sound of the River Fleet, London’s largest subterranean river. Forced underground by the city’s burgeoning populace the river still flows from its source to its mouth where it joins London’s main waterway, the Thames. Yet what lies beneath?

Below the ground there is a remarkable network of tunnels and chambers, put in to place by Victorian engineers, the final step in a process which took centuries.  For over a thousand years there had been a shipping dock at the mouth of the river – its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon fleot which means a tidal inlet. Yet it was not destined to persevere as a river in its own right.


A Typical San Francisco Morning


San Francisco has never looked more stunning than in this wonderful aerial project shot by Toby Harriman during two morning flights during the month of October.

As you glide over the city you get a feeling of what we can achieve as a species – but for me it was the fog, rolling through the streets and around the tall buildings, that I will remember. Just gorgeous.



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Hitchhiker


Liam and Aurora are meteor spotters and on their way to Lake Frost when they bump in to – literally – a rather odd hitchhiker.  They soon begin to wonder what they have let themselves in for as they near the lake as their passenger, not to mention those in other cars, act more than a little strangely.  Hitchhiker is an entertaining animated short by a group of LISAA students.



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Pray You Never Have an Anniversary like This One


May I make a suggestion? Don’t watch this if you are either feeling a little squeamish or if it is your wedding anniversary today, particularly the latter.

Itches come in many shapes and forms when it comes to marriage but it’s fairly rare, when it comes to thoughts of separation, for one partner to imagine herself alive and the other dead. However, such is the case with the individuals who make up this couple: after ten years, this lady wants to cut her losses (rather literally, I'm afraid - and take that as a warning), and call time on her marriage – not to mention her husband. 

Written and directed by Jonathan Mills, Anniversary has something of an unexpected twist in its tail and one of the best last lines I have heard for quite a while.

If you enjoyed this, then why not check out another film by Jonathan that we have featured on Kuriositas, A Short Film about Love and Fate and Death.



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12 October 2014

UK Teachers to Swear Oath: They Already Do, Regularly!

Here in the UK the shadow Minister for Education Tristram Hunt has just spent five minutes in Singapore (where teachers are respected to the point of idolization) and decided that back in the UK they should all swear an oath – to emphasize the moral calling and the noble profession of teaching.

Well, Mr Hunt, teachers in the UK swear oaths regularly – and above are just a few of them.  Yet I think that this idea could be amenable at some point in the future – just as soon as politicians take an oath to work to ethical standards.  What do you say, Tris?

Here are a few of the responses at #teacheroath





Here is one way it could be done!



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Peacock Spider – Australia’s Show Off Super Hero Spider

This is the peacock spider – and it knows how to show off. Featured today on our sibling site, the Ark in Space, this species wave their legs when first in courtship mode – and you might think that bizarre enough. Yet when he raises a pair of patterned flaps this elaborate courtship process goes from the comically strange to the extraordinary. There is little wonder why its common name is the peacock spider – pop over to Ark in Space to see more amazing pictures and videos.

Image Jurgen Otto



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When The Time Comes


The semi-nomadic Samburu tribe of Kenya still practices female circumcision, despite the fact that it was made illegal in 2003 by the Maputo Protocol (which was ratified by 37 African countries).  However, slowly but surely brave women (with the support of a number of men) are speaking up for their rights and demanding that their daughters are not put through this coming of age ritual any longer.

This may sound like something of a depressing way to spend ten minutes of your time, but I guarantee that you will be uplifted by this very human story.  The debate among the tribespeople is intergenerational with one of the male village elders (inadvertently, I think) giving the game away when he says that a circumcised woman is easier to control – and that is, ultimately what this ritual is all about.  One woman cleverly counters this with an argument with which few red-blooded men would be inclined to disagree.

Beautifully directed by Charles Gay, this short documentary shows a usually hidden side of a secluded culture – it is very brave of these women simply to talk about the subject let alone commit their opinion to film.  It also reveals a colorful and vibrant culture in the throes of change. The amazing traditional clothing worn by the often very beautiful Samburu women is a feast for the eyes, while the subject gives us much food for thought.



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Forward March!


When you are proudly marching through the streets in your ceremonial uniform, the one thing that tops off your general resplendence is the bearskin, the tall fur cap that has been used by the guards regiments of the British Army for centuries.  However, when one of the bearskins takes on a life of its own, there may be trouble ahead.

Created by students at ESMA in France, Forward March gently ribs the British (yet the propensity for tea at a certain time might be said to help save the day here).  However, it’s the crazy bearskin come alive that steals every scene here.  Pierrick Barbin, Rimelle Khayat, Loïc Le Goff, Guillaume Lenoël and Garrick Rawlingson are the students responsible for Forward March. So, if Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells is reading this, those are the names you may wish to include in your hopping-mad missive to the French Embassy…



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Sunday Short Movie: Barbie Boy


Bobby’s parents are very understanding – he enjoys playing with Barbie and Ken dolls rather than with robots and soldiers – although his father warns him that other boys might not be quite so empathetic when it comes to his choice of toys. However, they mostly leave him to it.

However, Bobby recognizes that his choice of toy does not truly meet with their approval.  He goes on a personal journey to discover what he should be playing with. Barbie Boy is about growing up, identity, and the delicate balance of letting go.

Directed by Nick Corporon, this is a coming of age tale that many boys will recognize but perhaps will not so readily admit. A short film about growing up, identity, and the delicate balance of letting go, Barbie Boy has been shown at festivals around the world. 

It was also the recipient of the Alfred C. Kinsey Award for its major contribution to the discussion of gender.



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11 October 2014

The Stairs to Nowhere

Most people are familiar with the expression the road to nowhere, but the stairs?  It does not seem to have made it in to the vast panoply that is English idiom in quite the same way as its more metaphorically obvious relation. Yet perhaps we should make room among the myriad of English expressions for one more. After all, stairs to nowhere are more common than you might at first imagine.


God Only Knows the BBC Music Launch Video Must Have Cost a Fortune


...But now I have got that off my chest I can just revel in the whole 'spot the famous singeriness' of it all.  Although,  goodness only knows how much it really did cost to bring all these famous faces together in one video. That is not to mention the fact that we should now, on some sort of subliminal cultural level, be bored to tears with this kind of self-satisfied celebrity orgy.

So what, you might be thinking - but if you live outside the UK you may not realize that the BBC is funded by the British taxpayer and this video no doubt brought the Mr and Mrs Angries out in force to complain about its unjustified cost.  Well, I'm not going to try and justify it either but as I'm generally happy with the BBC as long as they keep making new episodes of Doctor Who, I'm going to let it pass..

All told there are 27 icons of twenty and twenty first century music singing their little hearts out for the launch of BBC Music.

Created in collaboration with The Mill by director Francois Rousselet it is, admittedly, lovely to look at and not at all a bad cover of one of the best songs ever written, The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows.

You might be wondering exactly who is who in the video, so here are the names of the stars appearing in it.  Accompanying Brian Wilson, the song’s writer, are Sir Elton John, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams. Jake Bugg, Lorde, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Kylie Minogue, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, Florence Welch, Chrissie Hynde, Brian May, Dave Grohl, Alison Balsom, Martin James Bartlett, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Eliza Carthy, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Jaz Dhami, as well as the BBC’s Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Katie Derham, Gareth Malone and Jools Holland.

Phew.



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Breakfast in Paris


When you are a teenager you might be tempted to skip breakfast.  However, when you are from a certain city and, moreover, your mother has superhero powers, you had better not forget breakfast in Paris. This is a very capably made animated short by a group of French students who obviously know better than to leave home in the morning without having had their petit déjeuner.



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Morgan Freeman Narrates the Greatest Story of Our Generation


This is an interesting video simply for the fact that there seems to be no ulterior motive other than encouraging us to do something to help save the planet before it is too late for us as a species. Morgan Freeman narrates the greatest story of our generation – and I have to say, it is difficult to argue with hyperbole sometimes.  It was created by Films for Action, a community-powered learning library for people who want to change the world.



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Thunderbirds 3 Recreated in Balloons to Celebrate the Show’s 50th Anniversary

Thunderbirds started filming half a century ago this year and although it was not first broadcast until 1965, events are already starting to happen to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.  And how do many choose to do that? Why, with balloons of course!


10 October 2014

If Driving Instructors Dread the Teenage Test Now, Watch What Happens When Cars Can Fly


Even when flying cars have (finally) been invented there will still be teenagers desperate to pass their driving test and instructors even more desperate to get them out of their vehicle.

So when serial-failer Gavin’s test date rolls round again, Hank hopes this might be the last time he sees him. An unexpected passenger puts the proverbial cat among the pigeons in Crash Course, an entertaining short from students at the Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand.



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Animator vs. Animation IV: The Stick Figure Goes for Facebook


The stick figure fighting the desktop thing is back in its fourth installment.  This time, however, it’s creator Alan Becker’s Facebook account he is after, not to mention traveling onto his iPhone via USB cord, and drawing animations of his own to dismantle the animation interface. 

Can Alan avoid the destruction of another computer and restore some balance to the stick universe? You had better watch and see.

Oh and don’t be put off by the length – this is something with real pathos: it also has lots of gratuitous stick figure violence too, of course. This is something which wraps the series off beautifully.... if, indeed, it is truly the end...



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9 October 2014

Light Pillar – Nature’s Beautiful Special Effect

Light pillars scrape the night sky over Alaska.  It may look as if an alien invasion force is beaming down to overrun our little planet but, in fact, this is a purely natural phenomenon.  Light and water is all that is needed to produce this remarkable special effect.


Amung Feedjit