Matchbox

Matchbox

A lover of literature and film. My bookshelves are lined with Mishima, Atwood, McCarthy and the inimitable Lovecraft.

Contributor I

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    6

    The Opposite of Oblivion: How Does Attaining the Nobel Prize Affect Productivity?

    The topic so far is merely a question in my head, and there are things too that I am uncertain about, such as whether this fits under writing or literature…

    But what I hope for someone to explore is precisely what does the attainment or possession of the coveted position bode for the future of the writer? For many authors, the Nobel Prize in Literature is the ultimate, if not the most significant and most revered, position one can attain. It is a validation of one’s place in history, a literal title that translates into the opposite of oblivion, instead, it is the acknowledgment that one has made great contributions to the development of literature, whose legacy will be set in stone and whose name will not be so easily forgotten.

    In many of our minds, the awarding of the Nobel Prize comes late in the author’s life: it is the crowning achievement of decades of hard, continuous work, the culmination and recognition of multiple published books, and the result of authorial evolution, progress, and contribution.

    My question then is, what happens after?
    Has this recognition amplified their prior productivity? Or stunted it? Does winning the prize make the writer take a step back from their typewriter and say, "this is it, there is no more need for anything else", or does it motivate them to continue the work they have begun, only stopping when they finally pass?

    Jean-Paul Sartre, who famously declined the Prize in 1964, continued working tirelessly on his "Critique of Dialectical Reason" until his passing. William Faulkner (who also hated the fame that the Prize brought), after winning it in 1949, wrote two landmark works after, A Fable (1954) and The Reivers (1962).

    There aren’t many examples of writers who have continued their intensity of producing works after the awarding of the Prize, but anyone who takes up this topic could look at those who did, the nature of the works after the winning of the Prize, and whether the attainment of this revered position has positively or negatively influenced the legacy of the writers.

    • I think this is a really interesting, if not intriguing, topic! Perhaps giving some thought to contentious Nobel Prize winners might be also worth a look too - for example, Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Literature prize. Or the most recent Literature winner, Kazuro Ishiguro in 2017? What predictions could or might be made about the more recent winners? It might be worth seeing various people's opinions (or news articles) about the "prestige" of the Noble Prize, and whether or not it is really the true test of an author's ability, or just an excuse to give assumed prestige and an award. – lucyviolets 4 weeks ago
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    10

    Can Auteurism Exist in Video Games?

    In 1954 François Truffaut coined the term ‘auteur’ in his groundbreaking work "Une certaine tendance du cinéma français", a descriptive that would subsequently be used to describe directors whose style or approach is so idiosyncratic that their films would be easily recognized (See Wes Anderson, Scorsese, Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Bros). But could this perspective and theory be possibly applied to the video game world?

    We don’t hear much of names in the video game industry, but the ones that come to the top of my head include Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto, Toby Fox (for his sheer creative control in Undertale), Ken Levine (of the Bioshock games) and Sid Meier, who has built his own empire from his Civilization games. So my question is: is it possible to consider such visionaries auteurs? Can their games be considered solely products of their own unflinching vision? Or is another step in order: wherein we ought to consider companies/collectives as auteurs in their own right?

    • An interesting topic - I would argue that the "auteur"-theory is also controversial within the film-community. Theses days, the tag " A Spielberg/Scorsese/Coen Bros... -film" seems to be as much about marketing than about artistic vision. Is the screenwriter not as important in the development of a film than the director? After all, he creates the story/plot, themes, characters? I think the same argument can be made about the production of video games. A video-game does not need to reflect the vision of one individual creator to be considered a work of art. – Nightshade 3 weeks ago
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    6

    Portrayals of Omnipotence and Ascension in Japanese Animation

    Princess Mononoke (Miyazaki), Paprika (Kon) and Akira (Otomo) were landmark films in the development of Japanese animation in the late 1900s and early 2000s. Otomo’s magnum opus has had an unprecedented impact on science fiction. Miyazaki’s groundbreaking work established his reputation as Japan’s most skilled animator. Kon’s film, on the other hand, is a showcase of his inimitable style paired with his excellent editing, detailed in a video by Every Frame a Painting.

    (Spoiler Alert)
    All three sport a familiar plot device that kicks in in the third act: the presence of an omnipotent being, though not quite fitting entirely in the definition. The three films end with the presence and emergence of a godlike figure-in PM, the Forest Spirit, in Paprika, the chairman and eventually Chiba/Paprika herself, and in Akira, the eponymous character. Personally, i found these three films (both because of their similarity in portrayals of omnipotence yet varying style, as well as the proximity of their releases) as good examples of a possible investigation into Japan’s preoccupation with omnipotent and powerful beings (most involve a kind of ascension, a veil that is passed through, a barrier crossed). Perhaps one could go further into analyzing Japan’s postwar cultural booms and how they eventually culminated in such films.

    • Hey thanks for the revision! Actually i did consider putting in under the anime category, but i wasn't entirely sure if it was strictly anime. The anime section and i suppose, by extension, the definition of anime itself is pretty widely contested, but i came to understand anime as more than just Japanese animation but the smaller subset of serialized animation within the larger sphere. I assumed "anime" to be long-form, that is, a series of episodes (ranging from 10-40) a season as opposed to Film, which i thought fit my bill of examples better. Hopefully someone more educated than me on such definitions could help clarify. – Matchbox 1 year ago
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    The Fictional Towns of Literature

    R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi, Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, and of course, L. Frank Baum’s enchanting Oz. These fictional places imagined by prolific writers possess great character, and ultimately reflect the author’s mindset, intention and desires. A greater understanding of each of these places is pieced together bit by bit through every engaging story written, and eventually come to represent different things in the ways that they are perceived by us, the readers. Interesting questions to perhaps ask would then be: what was the intention of the author in creating such an intricate or elaborate world (all three are depicted beautifully drawn maps) and how did people perceive such fictional towns at the time, as well as what these towns eventually came to represent.

    • I love this. It'd be great to add Harry Potter and The Hobbit/LOTR into the mix! – Jaye Freeland 2 years ago
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    • I would also add, for Latin-American literature, Garcia Marquez' Macondo and Onetti's Santa María. It's quite a wide topic once you are familiar with it; and very interesting. – Felipe Mancheno 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Matchbox

    Thank you for your kind words. I didn’t manage to mention it in the article, but if you’d like to know more about how Takahata/Miyazaki work, as well as the behind-the-scenes of various Ghibli films, you can check out the documentary “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness”.

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    A fascinating read with brilliant insights! I always personally thought cats had an unspoken charisma that blended well with their mysterious nature. It’s no surprise that many noteworthy authors like Murakami and Gaiman view them as mediums and traversers of varied dimensions and worlds. They’re so lovely. Wonderful article!

    The Truth About Cats and Artists
    Matchbox

    Thank you so much for your invaluable insight. You must think you’re witty or funny, making such an ignorant comment that says nothing about the importance of the medium. Why bother creating films? Oral storytelling works just fine, doesn’t it? Why bother writing original works?

    On an ordinary day I would have zero patience for trolls like you, but today is an occasion for sensitivity. Though I emphasize, you have no place amongst the intellectually curious here.

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    To everyone who has supported, read and enjoyed this article:

    I’m incredibly shocked and sad to find out that Isao Takahata has passed away at age 82 last night. His films, as well as Miyazaki’s, have played a huge part in shaping my perspectives on art, life, and animation, and he will be sorely missed. Still, his legacy lives on in Studio Ghibli, in the unforgettable film experiences he has created, in his attention to detail, careful approach to animation, and the heartfelt moments we have shared with his wonderful, vivid characters.

    I will end this on a similar note, with the reassuring realization that generations of artists, writers, and people will continue to enjoy his and Ghibli’s works: to find new life with each rewatch, to see their own experiences seamlessly translated to the screen, and to constantly evolve and progress with a nostalgic eye toward the past which we will always hold dear.

    “Go round, come round, come round… come round, oh distant time. Come round, call back my heart. Come round, call back my heart. Birds, bugs, beasts, grass, trees, flowers. Teach me how to feel. If i hear that you pine for me, i will return to you.”
    -Kaguya-hime no Monogatari

    -C/Matchbox

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    Oh i didn’t know about this! It sounds fascinating though, are there any articles you could point me to? I’d love to read more about this 🙂

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    Yep I absolutely agree. I always recommend the subbed version, unless a dubbed version is widely known as superior (Cowboy Bebop comes to mind, and their dubbing truly does add a dimension to the storytelling).

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    Funny you’d mention music because Procession of the Celestial Beings is probably one of the most hauntingly memorable pieces I’ve heard in recent times. Just the sheer contradiction of something so angelic paired with the tragic… truly beautiful.

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective
    Matchbox

    Yeah, they’re certainly very different creatively. Even Takahata’s taken a step back and said that Miyazaki’s clearly the more talented creator, but I do think Takahata’s tremendously underrated. PomPoko and My Neighbors The Yamadas aren’t his best works, but I believe Only Yesterday and Tale of Princess Kaguya cement him as an equally versatile and talented artist.

    An Isao Takahata Retrospective