Archive for October 16th, 2018



By J.D. Lafrance

Based on Clive Barker’s short story, “The Forbidden,” Candyman (1992) is one of the more well-known mainstream horror films to openly acknowledge and use urban legends as the basis for its story. When most people think of such things the first ones that come to mind are alligators in the sewer or razor blades hidden in Halloween candy. The one Candyman uses is much more sinister. A young couple are about to have sex. The girl looks into a mirror and says the word, “Candyman” five times. A tall man with a hook instead of his right hand appears and brutally murders her. Urban legends are, as one character puts it, “modern oral folklore. They are the unselfconscious reflection of the fears of urban society.”

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by Sam Juliano

Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue is the second part of a critically-praised 1993 trilogy made in France which features acclaimed actress Juliette Bincoche as a woman self-driven into isolation after her husband and child are killed in a car accident.  Like the other films in the melancholic triptych, Blue makes frequent visual allusions to its title: numerous scenes are shot with blue filters and/or blue lighting, and many objects are blue. When Julie thinks about the musical score that she has tried to destroy, blue light overwhelms the screen.   Blue has been often been given poll-position designation as the world’s most popular color, a perceived fact largely because it is the color of the sky and the oceans.  Prime associations with this formally sedate and less conspicuous pigment are intimacy, deep thinking and privacy, though it is vigorously opined that the color is symbolic of loyalty and nostalgia.

Children’s book artists in recent years have lavished much of their pictorial attention to the color, and the result has yielded some sumptuous works.  Isabelle Simler’s French import The Blue Hour, features thirty-two blue colored ovals, each exhibiting a different shade of blue are labeled with the corresponding color.  Even  the instructor will be hard pressed to immediately recognize some of the eclectic variations, such as “porcelain,” “cerulean,” “Maya” and “periwinkle.”  Peter Sis’ Robinson, a dreamy take on the Daniel Dafoe classic is an interpretation of the color as a portal to adventure, while Mordecai Gerstein’s dominant employment of an aquamarine variation still made for a veritable feast for the eyes of blue denizens.  In 2018, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, who six ago gave the color green a vital new interpretation in her Caldecott Honor winning Green, in suffusing the work with renewal and re-birth, has applied the same formula on her new work, Blue, crafting seventeen double page canvasses that is unison provide young readers with the picture book equivalent of the images filmed by cinematographer Slawomir Idziak in the Kieslowski film.  Each ravishing tapestry resonates with thematic richness, bringing astonishing emotional heft to a simple story of a boy’s love for his dog during the formative years.  Seeger insists that the color is a vital force of nature in the life cycle, that it defines human interaction with a canine companion, can be hot or cold, is present at birth and at the end of life and exerts soulful energy during those priceless moments meant to ensconced in the sphere of memories.  A champion of acrylic paint on canvas board base, Seeger’s thick applications of converging shades of the color produced a stunning cover, again like on the cover of Green bleeding onto the white lettering denoting the title with almost storm-like intensity.  It’s gorgeous. (more…)

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