Friday, January 30, 2009

Disney's Eternal Life

Disney's establishing personality in animation, that is, personality over the laws of physics, logic or mere randomness, is a proclaiming of soul over matter, in the same way that his reinvention of life in visible, moving fantasy, represents life over reality: a metaphor of eternal life.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Disney Healing

The healing given by Disney had a psychological and a metaphysical aspect. For having authority, for being commanding, Sleeping Beauty granted support in a paternal way. For being sweet and entertaining, it was also soothing and maternally supporting. Besides, the plot of the story, with its message of effort and integrity to one’s action, had a subtle disciplinarian role, while the pleasure granted by the images’ beauty, movement and humor welcomed you, like mother’s pure love. In a few words, the movie “told” you to buck up at the same time it made you feel good, justified and accepted. It granted command and pleasure. It told you the way and simultaneously inspired utter freedom.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Disney and the Feminine

Disney's princes appear as resolving rescuers, often by the grace of powers beyond themselves, as if with Walt Disney, the only characteristic to define manhood was innate, transcendentally designed heroism. To be a man is a question of virility, and virility is cut and dry either/or. It is either what settles and exorcizes, or nothing at all. When the masculine element is more developed, the characters are either ridiculed villains (captain Hook) or comic and somehow dependent figures (like Tramp, the dwarves, Jiminy Cricket) or yet not fully-grown, such as Peter Pan, whose immaturity is often contrasted with Wendy’s integrity. Not counting Disney’s humor oriented characters, one could think, from the feature animated films alone, that Walt Disney was fascinated with the feminine as much as he was unforgiving and exacting regarding the masculine. The profusion of curves and circles in his signature expresses a graphic symbolism of the feminine element, along with its side of maternal like generosity: Disney takes detours of the necessary lines to add circularity, and to especially round corners. The “W” of Walt evokes women’s as well as baby’s forms.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Disney's State of Grace

Having, for a home, an abandoned mill, different animals inside it cope not just with the changes of nature, but with unpredictability. There is not just an immense humbleness in their taking one day at a time, but a generosity that makes room for love and beauty in their simple lives. Thanks to this, the old mill, a ruin for all effects, becomes more magical than if it were a castle adorned with riches. As the short closes, one can see, through a spider’s web, the old mill by its mother-of-pearl colored lake, as if in heavenly elevation. It is more than significant that the sight of this elevation, by a watery base of rainbow tones has, on the first plane, the spider’s web. The old mill, in the light of natural glory, continues to be a ruin (for human purposes) but, deferring priority of sight to the spider’s web, becomes an assertion of concern for all things living. The short is like a graphic expression of the Sermon on the Mount, in its message of detachment, humbleness and openness to that which is not only beyond riches, but also beyond fear and petty planning.
Like the animals in the old mill, Walt Disney had the necessary self- detachment to live in constant discovery, or, in Christopher Finch’s words “fly by the seat of his pants” (Walt Disney’s America- Finch)

Monday, January 19, 2009

In Search of Disney

For somebody who was born in the last century, a search of Disney is also a search of oneself. That first moment of acquaintance with Disney fantasy, at an age when one is accessible, unprejudiced and totally disarmed, was not only a moment of, more than happiness, awe, but also of healing. In its elevating nature, awe, after all, has a quality of transcendent healing. The Disney aficionados that made Walt Disney their personal hero are, in general, people that recognized the real value of what felt miraculous: their literal seeing of fantasy, its communion with life. Their search of Disney relates to a constant attempt to resurrect that moment, as if resurrecting the best of themselves. Their search of Disney is their faithfulness to themselves and to their childhood’s power of knowing how to receive, that is, to happiness and to innocence, simultaneously.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Disney Extremes

The turning fiction into something to be admired and used at the same time, acted upon and simultaneously inspiring awe, comes relevant to the mentioned Walt Disney’s speech on Mickey Mouse’s twentieth birthday, to his elevation of the mouse from “means to end”, to a creature eternally deserving: a creature by himself. Disney created Mickey for a purpose, but eventually elevated him above all purposes. Mickey was born for the sake of utility and ultimately liberated of all utility: another highly revealing instance of Walt Disney’s power to juggle extremes, to slip them into each other, or to identify them, something he needed to do, apparently, throughout his life.

Consecrating Disney

Disney’s ignoring scruples of tradition and style, limits of history and culture, real and fake, for the sake of his creativity, seems to either eliminate the difference between respecting and infringing, rendering profane and consecrating, or reformulating it in the world he created.
What could be a better account of the mystical than a power to recreate the limit between what to respect and what to use, ultimately, between the profane and the sacred?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Timeless Disney

The different elements of each animation feature of Disney Golden Age (sound, shape, story development, character personality) were as inextricable as the musical notes in a chord. As intense as these movies are, they all have, yet, the subtlety of harmony, of their elements being in the right measure. Because of this integrity, each one is an authority, a reality of its own right: a work of timeless dimension.
The sense of timelessness is a sense of paradise. The timeless quality of classical Disney animation, the feeling it transmitted of having “always been”, gave the joy of watching it a hint of rediscovery and confirmation.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Disney: Indiscriminating Life

It is interesting to see how early Disney’s typical givingness,
his spreading of indiscriminating life, reverts to. When in grade school, Disney was
reprimanded for putting faces and arms on the flowers he drew inside a
vase, when the assignment consisted of just flowers inside the vase. He
reveals to his daughter, Diane Disney Miller (Th e Story of Walt Disney-
Miller) that, when a young man, working for the Kansas City Film Ad
company, he made a commercial emphasizing a telephone number by
having it march on the screen on little legs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Disney Faith

The Catholic school I went to when I was five demanded faith. Faith out of the catechism's dogma, with its constant threat of hell.
But faith can only happen from within. Faith in God is faith that God especially wants something from you, that there is a particular “living right,” a wanted path of
action, as opposed to arbitrariness, especially designed for you. It is like
the prince killing the dragon, or Aurora singing in the woods. It is like
the searched for inevitability with which Sleeping Beauty’s numbered
stickers should follow one another to completion, in the sticker-book
that was launched right after the movie, in Rio de Janeiro.
Like charms created by the Disney industry, those little squares of
paper were swapped between my younger brother and I, passing from
one avid set of little fingers to the other, as a transcendental mission
behind the torrential, shield-like rain that had my dreaded school
providentially called off on that unforgettable morning.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Blessed Beginning

Mickey's success is God’s congratulation to Disney. The worldly recognition the Mouse won is not greater than the integrity of Disney at every step of the fight he survived, for finally pioneering entirely new dimensions with Mickey.