Friday, December 27, 2013

Disney's Signature

"I won't disappoint you" said Walt, to Travers. The responsibility, love, devotion and readiness to do anything one can and beyond, contained in this sentence, is what Walt Disney stands for....

"I won't disappoint you"

      In "Saving Mr Banks", which I saw again on Xmas evening, Hanks also expresses Walt Disney's total capacity of commitment. "I won't disappoint you" Disney asserts to Travers. "I won't disappoint you" is, in fact, the essence of what Walt Disney stands for: a total capacity of commitment. Why? Because he too was in love with what he was committing; he was putting his whole being in it, and not just taking it out of the way 'to appease Travers'. When I wrote a text titled "Titanic and Humble", I talked of Walt's commitment to Mickey; his humbleness of referring everything to the Mouse. Walt Disney was committed to the good, to joy, to morals and, as Gabler says, to America itself, especially after the war, a commitment he wore heavily. Disney felt it was his duty to provide insignia of Mickey Mouse to the soldiers, because, as he said, "They grew up on Mickey Mouse".
Disney was committed to the highest of causes, through the humblest of ways; entertainment. And his entertainment was religiously treated by him. Religiously, in the sense of infused with ultimate respect. To commit is to respect to the point of surrendering one's integrity to it. It is to have integrity, to begin with, and that is no easy matter.... In committing, one's integrity becomes an expression of dignity...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Disney Take Off

The Innocence, surprise, cuteness and daring of this "Disney Kiss" makes it the most endearing of "Hollywood" kisses. In the Twenties, when screen kisses were shocking for many people, those who are incapable of seeing innocence, most likely, criticized Walt for Mickey's wanting to steal a kiss from Minnie in Plane Crazy. As always, Walt stood his ground. What Mickey managed, in the short, does not show so much detail, but cornering Minnie all the same, both are equally pure. 
The day before he died, Walt "drew" on the ceiling of his hospital bed, the map of whathe planned for Epcot. He died in passion, just as he lived his life in the grip of passion. Like this kiss, Walt Disney was the innocent drive of passion; its hunger and its search. 
In living as well as in dying, Walt was in an always ascending, pioneering airplane....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Disney Commitment

Reading again "The Animated Man", by M Barrier, I come to the conclusion that it is Disney's best biography, so far. To begin with, Barrier contextualizes Disney's break down perfectly, emphasizing the gigantic change Walt had to brace at the time: "This was the time when his role in the studio changed decisively. His distress probably arouse from that circumstance, and it may have been building for years..." ..." After so many years of animating and then directing- and before that, years of other kinds of jobs that required working with his hands, and before that, years of manual labor, all the way back to his newspaper delivery days- Disney now had to persuade himself of the legitimacy of purely mental work", remarks Barrier.
This is a gigantic existential change; Disney had to re invent himself anew, to a point of almost becoming another person, and if he remained himself still, it is because Walt Disney's essence was the power of self- reinvention; it was creativity itself. With no education, ready made thoughts or any type of crutch to help, he had to face the enormity of standing at the most intimidating threshold: that of creating an art form... And creating it through words and guidance.
It makes one think of the courage and integrity Disney had to assume responsibility; to commit.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Disney's Response

    When you are hesitating to jump from the peak of a bungee jumping and finally make it; when you are indignant but afraid to react to an injustice, but in a moment of liberation from yourself you finally "hit" back, when you are shy to assert the truth against some authority that is affirming a lie, but in an untaught of, blissful moment, you come through... 
   Well, I think these instants of self-overcoming (and not recklessness) were the constant time in Walt Disney's life; the "motto perpetuo" of his eternal fight and productivity.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Disney: the Freedom of Reverence

Walt Disney's freedom was the absolute freedom, that which can infringe and even destroy in order to reach a higher degree of reality. As a re invention of the physical world in animation, it was, to begin with, a total liberation from the limits of conceptual thought, that is, the thought that categorizes everything into fixed definitions and roles.  In Disney animation, anything can not only have life, but turn into something else. Take, for instance, the episode of  "Melody Time" that is inspired in the music of Rimsky Korsakov.  The melody played by the piano is identified to the buzzing and movement of a cute little bee in such a way  that the sight of the bee, its buzzing flying and the sound are at one. Pretty soon, the keys of the piano themselves are moving around the bee, expressing the music equally well in visual form. Disney seemed to naturally identify the dimension of the visual and that of sound, (eventually that of touch, with the 3D real characters in Disneyland) as much as to transpose the roles of things and beings, to that of other things and beings. In that particular segment, the bee was buzzing sound; it was the melody  and also the physical and "visible" movement of that melody.  The keys of the piano broke the limits of their usual function and interacted with the dancing bee. They evoked the music as much as they made it sound and they moved to its rythm in interacting with the bee. Bee and piano keys became equally "characters", and equally music. Like the bee, they were what we see, what we hear and what we enjoy and are moved by all in one, as if our sight, hearing and emotion reverted to one single essence.  Disney respected no fixed limits because he had a reverential view of creation. As the overcoming of one's ego, reverence is all comprehensive. Maybe that is why Walt said that he had no problem imagining that animals and plants (and even objects) had feelings just like his own feelings. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

'Unbelievable" Walt Disney

Neal Gabler concludes about Walt, after a lot of sneering comments, that he was "opaque", but I think that if anybody thought that (I've heard terms like "elusive" etc) it is because people don't tolerate, or understand, freedom very well. People in general hold on to limits and labels in order to turn things more predictable (rather than magic and unexpected), except for real, true artists. Walt Disney's freedom was something so immense that it must have been scaring in itself and incomprehensible for most.