Monday, May 30, 2011

Moving Pictures - Adam Borgia

1. Analyze: Event - Secondary
We know from the setting almost immediately that this isn't a modern story. The war is just about to reach France's front door (in part of the narrative, since there are flashbacks), and so it sets the actions and character motivations of wanting to hide and protect artwork from any invaders. Thus it is this story's Event. But the War is always either on the horizon (flashback), or the eventual occupation (narrative present) has yet to reach its feverish high, thus I would label it as secondary over primary, since the interactions between characters and their personalities would still come through I think in another place or time.

As a side note, I feel I need to be honest and say that this book lost me more so than any others I had read to this point. That might be one reason I was disappointed. I think the premise had such promise, but in my eyes fell short of what it could have been. Plus, I didn't find any of the key characters to be likeable enough to draw me in to their lives. Some minor characters were far more interesting and enjoyable to "watch." In this way I am reminded of some artistic foreign films that try to win you over with mood and ambiance and hold to the idea that apathetic and angsty souls automatically make for moving stories. I respectfully digress. What was the main lesson of the novel? How did our character change? Or does she just run away? Because I feel the whole package lacked direction, it left me, as the reader, with little direction of my own.

That all being said, I have nothing but positive things to say about the aesthetics of Moving Pictures. For me, the visuals carry the story and are much more effective in establishing mood and influencing readers than the dialogue and the handling of the characters.

2. Rating: PG-13
A couple is not-so-subtly shown to be sleeping together, although none of these actual scenes are shown. There is one F-word (pg 32), but it is used rather awkwardly (I can only reason that the author used it simply for its alliteration in the sentence) and stands out in a novel which otherwise is fairly clean. And Nazis rarely factor into stories below pg-13...

3. Springboard:
A lot has been said regarding the history research needing to be done to make this story feel authentic. I would instead like to make mention to the research needed in bringing the story to life and giving it authenticity through visual reference. There are scatterings of "reproductions" of actual works of art as background to several scenes and panels. Towards the end of the book are also several pastoral landscapes of the countryside. It is possible that all this gathering of good photo reference could have been done indirectly by third-parties, but I would be more than willing to venture that the creators did some traveling in that part of the world for their own personal referencing.

I looked up the unique history of one of the paintings mentioned in the book, Les Noces de Cana (The Wedding Feast at Cana) by Paolo Véronèse. According to the book, the painting ended up in France because of a post Napoleonic War treaty/trade between countries. Other sources however say that Napoleon first looted the painting from its site in a Monastery in Venice, cut it in half for the journey to France, then sewed it back together in Paris. With regards to the post-war art trading, this painting was never returned to Italy, but a Charles Le Brun painting was sent in its place. During WWII this massive painting was rolled up and transported around France in a truck to avoid looting.

4. Application:
I do not htink that I would like to explore the wartime setting for my treatment (later ones, perhaps). I did appreciate the techniques in panel transitioning though, including some transitions from the "present" to memories in the characters' past. The employment of harsh outlines and silhouettes was striking and I would consider exploring their implementation for my own story.

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