Happy Birthday (May 21, 1844) to Henri Rousseau, who honored both the dark and the light sides of the jungle and the forest.
The Snake Charmer, 1907. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
[Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marblegiant/8398132060/]
The Miniature Model Behind ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ | Via
While “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is busy with smaller design elements, one of its most striking designs is the hotel itself. Outfitted in shades of pink and purple and situated atop a hill, the hotel is grandiose and picturesque. It also happens to be nine feet tall. For wide shots of the hotel, the director Wes Anderson and his team decided to use a handmade miniature model.
“I’ve always loved miniatures in general,” Mr. Anderson said, speaking by phone from Paris. “I just like the charm of them.” He used miniatures in “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” and more extensively in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” He said he feels that audiences tend to recognize what is artificial, whether in computer-generated effects or otherwise, and that gave him liberty to use models. “The particular brand of artificiality that I like to use is an old-fashioned one,” he added.
He collaborated again with the production designer Adam Stockhausen (“Moonrise Kingdom”) to come up with the look of the hotel, then had it built by a crew. Here is a closer look at the hotel, including commentary and ideas from Mr. Stockhausen.
SoP | Scale of Representation
Earth is a conscious, living being. She is a planet, she is our home, but she is not an empire to be conquered. It is not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
Rübezahl, Mountain Spirit & Gnome-King
“Rübezahl was king of the gnomes…. [His] undisputed domain lay underground. It extended to the center of the earth. At times he stayed below to attend to the affairs of his realm. He might remain below for centuries, but now and then he would emerge from the shadows and interact with creatures that lived on the surface of the earth.
He had a very changeable temperament. At times he was friendly, but usually he was a rogue who liked to play all kinds of pranks….
On one of his visits to the surface, Rübezahl was surprised to see that extensive changes had been made in the region. Forests had been cut down and replaced by cultivated land. Here and there, he saw villages with houses covered with straw roofs.
He did not feel hostile to the new inhabitants - new for him at least. His dominant feeling was curiosity. He wanted to find out about them. So he assumed the form of a field worker and called himself Rips….”
[Rübezahl masquerading as a workman]
The story continues, where Rübezahl (who prefers to go by “Lord John”) proves an excellent worker, but is badly treated by his various employers (farmer, herdsman, judge). Fed up with the humans who now occupy the formerly uninhabited region, he prepares to return to his underground kingdom. Before he can depart, however, he comes upon the beautiful Emma, princess of Silesia, bathing in a pool below a waterfall. He takes raven form in order to draw close for a better look, but becomes distracted by raven-like hunger. So he changes form again, this time into a handsome young man, and is immediately smitten. When she returns a week later, he uses magic to abduct her. She is kept in a palace he has built for her up in the mountains, where he hopes to make her his bride. She eventually tricks him and escapes, of course, but the damage is done. And henceforth Rübezahl is inclined to regard humankind less than favorably.
While able to control the weather, in possession of a magic staff, and wielding godlike power in the portion of the Krkonoše (Karkonosze) Mountains marking the upper end of his domain, he has no influence beyond their shadows. In stories where he is provoked, this proves fortunate for the humans who find themselves on the wrong side of his temper.
Many of his attributes closely resemble those of another supernatural being who is described as a fearless man-sized gnome having absolute power within his small but respectable realm: Tom Bombadil.
Not a coincidence. Tolkien had studied deeply of European folklore and myth, and was almost certainly aware of the Gnome-King residing on the border of Germany and today’s Czech Republic.
For more about Rübezahl: