Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Artist

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see The Artist as a sneak preview. Knowing little (well, nothing, really) about the storyline, I was surprised to discover that the movie was created as a silent film. Initially, I was skeptical of whether it would hold my attention for 100 minutes but by the third scene, I was totally captivated!

Set in 1920s Hollywood, The Artist tells a story of two charismatic movie stars. George Valentin, a prolific silent film star, struggles with adapting to the world of talking pictures. Peppy Miller, a young and energetic aspiring actress, is destined for talkie stardom. The two serendipitously cross paths and develop a relationship that bridges the generational divide.

Beyond the unique storyline, endearing characters, and feel-good ending, I liked that this film was set in a time when my beloved 1913 letterpress also existed. It confirmed for me that truly great concepts are timeless.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson: Schools Kill Creativity

Even though it was long, long ago, I still have vivid memories of art class in elementary school. I remember the chalky smell of those puck-sized tempera tablets and labouring to grip those giant, red handled brushes.

Like little robots we'd all paint pictures of puffy green trees set against a pale blue sky, with a rainbow falling behind two intersecting hills. You know the picture I'm talking about.

Even though our ever nurturing teacher praised us endlessly for what good little artists we were, when I brought my artwork home, it made my mom cry. She cried not because my painting was just that good (which is what I thought at the time) but because she knew it was the beginning of the end of my free imagination.

In this poignant and funny 2006 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.