Watch Tim Burton’s Lost ‘Hansel and Gretel’ Short: FearNet

Chris Connors of FearNet posted this rare short film find from the great director, Tim Burton.

“Hansel and Gretel” was produced during Burton’s stint at Disney Film Animation where he was allowed a directorial piece for the then new Disney Channel where the piece was aired on Halloween night, 1983.

The film below is in its entirety and features an all-Japanese cast. If you have the time and patience, it is worth a viewing, if only to see the raw, emerging style of a truly imaginative director.

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Check Out ‘Din of Celestial Birds’, A 2006 Short From ‘Begotten’ Director E. Elias Merhige

1280px-Begotten

On this day back in 1991, the feature film Begotten, from director E. Elias Merhige, was unleashed upon unsuspecting American audiences.  Although the film was hailed by Susan Sontag as “one of the 10 most important films of modern times,” the general public who witnessed the film had no idea what just hit them.  A disturbing film about the death and rebirth of gods, Merhige utilizes blown-out, abstract images that disorient the viewer and give them just enough visual information to vaguely discern a hyper-violent narrative.

After receiving some wide acclaim for the feature, Merhige went on to direct Shadow of the Vampire which was generally admired, but it didn’t quite capture the inspiration and freedom of expression of his notorious Begotten.  Then came Suspect Zero in 2004, a large budget endeavor about a FBI search for a serial killer who hunts down fellow serial killers, which starred Ben Kingsley and Aaron Eckhart.

We didn’t hear from him again until 2006, when he released his short film Din of Celestial Birds, which has been described as “a trip through the evolution of consciousness.”  In the short we re-visit his more abstract, artistic roots and although it’s tonality operates quite differently than Begotten, it’s definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of his previous work or experimental shorts.

I was really excited to come across this when looking for a copy of Begotten which has been long out of print on DVD.  As far as I know, Din is not available for a hard copy purchase but it can be easily viewed on YouTube.

Check it out:

After 2006, there’s been no news of Merhige until recently when his name was attached to a horror film penned by Peter Charles Melman called It Was Cruel.  Will we get to see more of his work in the near future?  Hopefully, but with no updates since January on the status of the project, who knows.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  

Clip joint: Charlie Chaplin: The Guardian (UK)

Charlie ChaplinFrom The Guardian: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s first appearance on the silver screen. As a legend of silent cinema, who maintained his popularity even when the industry reinvented itself through the introduction of sound, Chaplin made audiences the world over, laugh, cry and dream.”

The Guardian’s Clip Joint focuses today on the greatness of Charlie Chaplin and while the list is decent, there are a couple of clips that I would most definitely have included being that I am a longtime Chaplin fan.

For those who are unfamiliar with Chaplin’s work and brush him away as too old-fashioned, I offer these clips as proof of his genius, one of a multi-faceted comedian the likes of which we have not been graced with since his passing. This is all in hopes one might find a reason to further explore Chaplin’s extensive film library.

Modern Times remains my second favorite of his features (trailing City Lights) because of the multitude of exceptional comedic bits he was able to orchestrate. The following are only two from the many, but are emblematic of the greatness that is Modern Times:

The Tramp in Mistaken Protest:

The Tramp on Cocaine:

SPOILERS:
City Lights is my favorite of the Chaplin set and is elevated by not only the consistently funny situations he and his drunken partner become embroiled within, but the humanity he infuses into the boy-meets-girl relationship, normally portrayed as dull and paper-thin. Instead of allowing this relationship to take a back seat and simply punctuate The Tramp’s singular journey, he transforms this relationship into a living, breathing, and ultimately heartbreaking exchange between a blind girl, who now can see because of a selfless act of the Tramp. The kicker is, the girl thinks the man who afforded her the money for the operation is of wealthy stock and doesn’t know the Tramp was her benefactor. Upon release from prison (where he served time for his acts in acquiring the money for her operation) he reappears to visit the girl with her eyesight restored. What transpires comprises one of the greatest finales in cinema:

And if you have the time, one of my favorite shorts from Chaplin, “A Night at the Show” from 1915. It runs a little over twenty minutes, but it is well worth the time to see Chaplin masterfully portray both a low-class drunk in the balcony and a rich, self-obsessed, scoundrel (also drunk) who gets shuffled around within the expensive seats:

To check out the Guardian clips, click here.