House of Small Cubes: on Water and Memory

This lovely 2008 animation was brought to my attention by a good friend of mine. Sort of like a Japanese version of “Up”, but involving scuba diving! An old man drops his favorite pipe in the ocean and, deciding to go after it, dons scuba gear to go find it by plunging through a trapdoor in his house (that leads to the ocean). Descending the water column becomes a way of remembering, ending on a positive note–“cheers!”


Animals and Water in “The Life of Pi”


Just went to see “Life of Pi” and my friend pointed out that it takes on two of the most daunting cinematic subjects, animals and water, at the same time, and does it beautifully.  The picture below, of when Pi is staring into one of the pools of the island, is surreal: we can only see the pool–as an eye–staring back at us because of the presence of the tree and Pi as a frame.  All of the water imagery is amazing, although the sea was too calm in some scenes to realistically be the Pacific Ocean.  But more than that, the film is about the tension sustained between large animals, sea animals, and people: on the boat, a zebra, orangutan, hyaena, and tiger.  Outside the boat, flying fish, dolphins, a humpback whale, sharks, jellyfish, bioluminescent plankton.  Credit to my friend for noticing, the film also includes the scene on the original book cover, a bird’s eye view of the boat drifting along with all these sea creatures passing under it.