Friday, October 30, 2009

Disney Shamanism

     Some primitive tribes believed, like the Bible, that the word created being. More precisely, their own myths, or stories.  Storytelling that created a world. Their shammans were storytellers and healers. Does this sound familiar? Like with them, Disney storytelling has always been healing, and it created Disneyland. Maybe the primitive side of Walt Disney, that which was complementary to his technological being, had intuitive shammanic power!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Disney Grace

  Dumbo shows that work for work's sake is a mistake. When Dumbo is cast as a clown, he doesn't make it. On the other hand, real work, that for which one is gifted and special is liberating. In Dumbo it is literally liberating, from gravity and from the tyranny of people. Disney constantly approaches the theme of liberation. When Mr Banks is fired in Mary Poppins, he first appears to go mad, eventually expressing that madness as an overcoming of his old enslavement to duty and poetic "blindness".  One could say that Dumbo's flight is the liberation of grace, as much as Mr Banks' joy, singing and adopting the "ridiculous" "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". From then on, everything in the Banks family will be in harmony.  Snow White reaches a state of grace, when liberated from her fear in the forest. From then on, she is trusting forces that are beyond her, and nature starts conspiring in her favor. Liberation is overcoming an old self and resurrecting in a new one,  like it is literally shown in Pinocchio. One wonders how deeply Walt Disney experienced liberation, having to change and overcome himself so many times in his life; how often he was in grace!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Disney Coherence

 To choose the flight of fantasy over the grounding of cynicism,   
 To vow for happy endings in spite of reality,

 To commit to joy before the crudity of life,
 To believe against all odds
 To map a city of tomorrow on the ceiling of one's death,
 To make life absolute in the face of finitude,
concern the  beauty of dignity; the harmony of coherence.
       Disney's unyielding faith was Disney's style: his demand of perfection from himself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Disney Universal Maternity

     Dumbo is generally considered a "coming of age" movie. In fact, the theme "coming of age" has been reported not just to be a constant in Walt Disney movies, but to have intricate connections with  Disney's life. Whether this interpretation is true or not, I think that maternity is even prior, as a theme,   in Disney classic animation. For, even though biological maternity is developed only in Dumbo and Bambi, what I would call universal maternity, that bond of sweetness, completness and protection with the young, cuddly and innocent is so pervasive in the other Disney movies that the audience itself feels maternal towards the cute characters. From the very beginning, Dumbo  is a hymn to literal maternity. The delivery of baby Dumbo shows mother elephant behaving so feminine and yet loving, that she bends her big leg, Minnie Mouse like, when identified by the others to the stock. From then on, the love between she and Dumbo is wittily and pungently shown, in a diversity of trivial and yet totally poetic scenes, like his splashing in the water while being bathed by Mom, or his being rocked on the trunk she  ingeniously turns into a swing, from behind her cell. Dumbo is a constant alternation between extreme drama and the extreme, pure, complete happiness of maternal love. After the little elephant becomes famous and important, it is his mother that is honored, as she sits in the VIP wagon of the train while her son hovers above. The very final scene is nothing more and nothing less than a culminating depiction of the intensity of their union: Dumbo's ears, like toddlers' little arms, embraces Mom as he descends over her from his flight.  One can then can assume that what is really happy in that ending is, more than the  little elephant's success, the love of such reencounter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disney Animation


     Disney could make fantasy visible with the help of technology because he believed in fairy tales and in the ascendancy of life over everything. Disney animation is giving the autonomy of life to fantasy and the timelessness of fantasy to life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Extreme Disney

      Walt Disney's courage was his intensity to make all of the moments of his life extreme moments, to give himself fully to life and to be disarmed to receive life: to respect life's integrity with his own integrity.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Disney Celebration

When one reflects on Walt Disney's life and personality, one is led to think that courage, after all, is integrity: it is the living of one's entirety, in the entirety of the moment one is living. It is this synchrony; this communion of soul and world, heart and moment, this celebration! It is not being split between considerations with the future and residues from the past.
    That is why Art Linkletter described Disney so well, when saying that he jumped the abyss and invented the wings on the way down.

    Courage is the necessary innocence, the disarmed nakedness Disney had for  being constantly born anew.  Synchrony, communion and celebration!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Disney Meaning

Walt Disney was a man of extremes. He was said to have one foot in the past and another in the future; he joined artifice to nature, technology to fantasy, unpredictability to planning, passion to control. This power of wedding extremes result from his ongoing quest of fighting finitude: asserting soul. Finitude, after all, is  drastic enough of a time limitation to not permit the coexistence of polarities, or to make such coexistence "illogic". Not with Disney. He knew how to overcome finitude and keep extremes reconciled in a meaningful whole. Orbiting around personality in story development, nothing in Disney animation is gratuitous, or "souless": The physical, visible side of it, is at one with the invisibility of pure making sense.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Walt Disney World, Life and Faith

 Animation is giving life. But it is also making fantasy visible. The suspension of logic and the laws of physics in animation is what permits everything in it to make sense, what turns this communion of fantasy and life into pure meaning.  Walt Disney gave visibility to meaning, to that which is abstract and beyond proof, that which   exists  as a function of faith. As a world of pure meaning, the world of animation coincides with that of faith. Disney animation is the visibility of faith, a metaphor of it. No wonder, it  has been said that for Walt Disney animation was a religion. Like a religion, it was the expression of his own faith.  Walt Disney gave life because he saw life as meaning, as faith.  His giving  lifeis his giving the joy, colors and freedom of faith.