“Everyone lives three versions of themselves; a public life, a private life and a secret life.”
Hullo pips! I haven’t been updating the blog much but I’ve been reading Broken Monsters for quite some time now and still have not quite finished. To those not familiar to the novel, it is a supernatural-thriller written by Lauren Beukes who has done several award-winning novels with unique premises, one of them about a time-travelling serial-killer which I am going to read soon. Hah, look who’s excited. Anyway, Broken Monsters has an equally riveting premise that touches the horrors of the unknown, making you question what is real and not.
When I picked up this book, I’m not sure what I was up against. A generic cop-thriller, maybe? A sympathetic serial-killer? A goldfish? It was far better than that (I could do with the goldfish though) and far more different than expectations (there was no goldfish). Broken Monsters is filled with different personalities that at times it barely resembles a mystery novel. The multiple-POV approach introduces us to different characters and allows us to see the city dynamically, from a cop’s more cynical perspective to a journalist’s embellished eye for detail. What is distinct about this book is that it’s all about the characters, not the murder or the story, and the book is shaped through their drive and quirks– how each person keep up with their relationships, their jobs, their sanity and their dreams in a city that is gradually falling apart. Take Tom Perrota’s Little Children and add the hallucinatory experience and social commentary of Paranoia Agent in the mix, and you get a snarky and progressive thriller that’ll make you laugh and scared for your life. Continue reading
Weekly Shorts is a segment where I feature short stories. This week, I’m featuring a couple of short animated films I’ve watched this week that you guys ought to check out.
Ohayo by Satoshi Kon
A short film that perfectly captures the feeling of waking up in the morning. Kon has a strong grip on portraying dreams in his films. The amount of detail in this short is astounding and the concept is pretty amazing once you think about it. If you liked this one, you should check out Paranoia Agent, Paprika, and Perfect Blue– all three seams dreams to reality, inspiring the likes of Black Swan and Inception.
Paperman by John Kars
A lovely black-and-white film that merges 2D and 3D elements, set in 1940s New York. It’s a classic love story, but with animation, it transcends into something deeper and poignant, conveying the intimacy in connections and how far one’s feelings could reach.
Heart by Erick Oh
A metaphorical film about love and emotions. I adore films that are open for different interpretations and this one attracts that sort of thinking. The film reminds me of an intense dance with a story. For me, it’s about people who want to be loved but are too selfish to love others; the chaotic emotions selfish love could bring; and the loneliness that follows as consequence. I would love to hear your thoughts about this one.
Have you watched any of these shorts? Know any you would like to share? Just comment below and I’ll check it out!
“Fear comes with imagination, it’s a penalty, it’s the price of imagination.” ― Thomas Harris, Red Dragon
Paranoia Agent was a surreal experience. I found liking it, then hating it, then liking it again, then realized that it was indeed an experience– it just happens and you are swept by it. I am still in the middle of an experience even after I finished Paranoia Agent, and I don’t have to like or hate it to call it an experience. One thing about experiences that it always brings you somewhere you’ve never been before.
Similar to Kon’s famous works Paprika and Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent is a claustrophobic nightmare that keeps viewers at the edge of their seat thanks to its stylistic direction, realistic art, and amazing sound effects. I watched the whole series in one seating and could not stop even though I wanted to. It sucked me with its crazy but realistic portrayal of the human psyche and how it affects society and culture in different levels. A young woman trapped within herself, an egotistical boy who becomes the center of bullying, a woman with a split personality, a policeman who commits crime– how all these things make up a bigger circle to a city that is gradually descending into madness.
Paranoia Agent shows us a glimpse of what imagination is and could become; what could be beautiful could be terrifying and perhaps, remind us of our humanity as well. Watching it was indeed an experience.