Monday, May 7, 2012

The Happy End...

As in all stories and fairy tales we have a happy end, here we come to the happy ending of this blog and to this wonderful class and wonderful experience. The semester is over and as in America time flies and you don't feel it. It feels like yesterday when i started this blog with my favorite tale "Cinderella". 

Fairy tale has been absolutely one of my favorite class as being a dreamer i love to escape to the imaginary or fantasy world sometimes. As this was my first year in America this fantasy world and dreaming with the tales helped me to heal some of the lonely times far from my wonderful world where i am a princes Europe (same as Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth we both are in worlds we don't belong to).

Going through my blog posts i found how much things we covered and how many things i learned from this class that i never imagined the world of fairy tales was hiding from me. I started this blog with my favorite fairy tale Cinderella but going through the reading i think the Grim Brothers Snow White could replace my childhood favorite Cinderella tale. As Snow White can be interpreted in many ways and can bee seen in more realistic point of view on who is Snow White who represent the queen after herself becoming a queen. In short the incorporation of evil and good and the perspective in which we may see this tale and tales in general. 

Through this class i learned to understand and realize the under themes used in fairy tales. Everything has significance a color, a knife, scissors even the clothes one wears. Everything is related to the story. Sexuality, beauty, jealousy are all this found in fairy tales shown from the little object, words, sings etc.
I really loved the blog of the Freud and Jung interpretation. As always been fascinated from the psychoanalytical way of looking at things this to great school of thoughts made a great interpretation of how our mind and our rational thinking work. I even watched the movie "A Dangerous Methods" an interpretation of Freud's and Jung's psychoanalysis and interpretation of dreams, very interesting movie.

During this class we quite read many kind of fairy tales from different countries and traditions. Absolutely my favorite is the Arabian night. Very charming the power of storytelling, wide used even now days by our politician’s worldwide, the power on how well you say a story and keep your listener amused. I love the Arabic stories as so many of the greatest tales that i grew up come from there. 

Our guest lectures were another great part about this class. All the guest speakers were great and each of them unique but the one i enjoyed most was Dr Ochieng' K'Olewe that explained the beauty of African Kenyan fairy tales. As diversity is always an interesting thing seeing all this different guest lecturer from different countries sharing with us not only the tales but the real lived experience that they had in that particular country or community was really wonderful and very educative. 

In the end i loved this blog mostly i loved reading other people blogs for this i did commented in this last time on two peoples blogs that i mostly enjoyed while reading through the semester. A big thank you to Dr. Esa for making this class a real great class and for his great enthusiasm while teaching the great power of storytelling and the interpretation of Fairy Tales. 

Happy End of this fairy tale blog.....

Pan's Labyrinth -- El Laberinto del Fauno

Pan's Labyrinth or in  Spanish El Laberinto del Fauno is a dark fantasy movie released for the public in 2006. This movie became very famous world wide and won many awards. The movie is in Mexican Spanish language and was written and directed by a Mexican film maker Guillermo del Toro.
Our guest lecturer Dr. Deveny took us into the depth of this movie understanding even the smallest details that connect the real world with the fantasy or fairy tale world.
Pan's Labyrinth interweaves the real world with a fantasy world with the center a labyrinth and a mysterious foun creature. The movie takes place in Spain some years after the civil war during the Francoist period in 1944.The main character is a little girl Ofelia she meet several magical creatures who lead her though the labyrinth garden. Ofelia is a princes from another world who has come to this world by accident and she has to accomplish some tasks in order to go back to her magical world. Ofelia's step father Capitain Vidal is one of the most negative figure during the movie , he hunts Spanish Maquis who fights against the Fascist reign in the region. Ofelia's mother is a nice lady who gets sick during her pregnancy and dies after she gives birth to Ofelia's brother.
In this movie they are many dark side and a mix of the real world with the fantasy world which makes you confused which one is to follow. There are ,many indication connected to Ofelias fantasy that are connected to fairy tales. In order for Ofelia to go back to her real world where she is a princes she has to follow some tasks given by the faun. The faun in many situation you don't know if she should trust it or not.Ofelia undertakes some very dangerous tasks first she has three magic stones that she has to make a huge frog eat it in order for the frog to throw up a magic key. This episode takes place inside an old tree with many insect around but Ofelia is strong and not frightened by them. 
She is supposed to complete all the tasks by the third day of the full moon. She also has a half moon as a birth mark in her left shoulder that will be crucial when she opens the little box at the monsters house. The number three same as in fairy tales is very present in this movie. The worst part and the most horrible one form me was when Ofelia has to go to this place and she should not eat anything from the table there is a monster with his eyes in the plates. Ofelia complete her task but after she could not resist to the food and  ate a small grape . As soon as she ate the monster woke up put his eyes into his palms and went toward to eat Ofelia.  The faun had given to her three little protectors while two where eaten by the monster .She survives this horrible task but the sequences were not as very pleased to watch. 
In the end Ofelia dyes and she goes to her magic world where she ruled and became a blessed princes. In the real world she died the fascist were overthrown her step father was killed by the Spanish Maquis and her little brother was left in the hands of the good Maquis people. 
This movie become very famous and won many awards as i previously mentioned by still i found it very dark and many of the scenes were very violent to watch. I would say this movie looked more as an horror than fantasy. Despite it the interaction between fantasy and the real world was a greta mixed. I would see it as a kind of escaping from the harsh environment of the war Ofelia goes into this fantasy world where she is a princes and every thing is beaitful and calm. The end of the move  looks like the great world were she would be this princes is the after world when she dies so we have some kind of religious descripiton through the tale as well. Over all i would say i liked the move but i would not considered to be one movie to be seen for entertainment, to violent for my taste. The spanish language was great as it gave to the movie more magical effect i loved that . This absolutely not a movie for children but a fairy tale for gown up and you have to see it many times in order to understand many under themes that this dark fantasy movie holds.  

Adivasis in India : Keeping Alive the Tradition

In this class we had the privilege to have as a guest lecture the wonderful Dr. Alles that gave a wonderful description of Adivasis culture,tradition and how they incorporate tales into them.Adivasi are rural people in India they live in Gujarat and they make up to 50% off the population. The importance of tales for some cultures around the world  has a enormous significance than in other parts. Like the Adivasis in India the myths and legends are what keeps the tradition alive for these people so their tradition will not be forget by the upcoming generations. They also have gods incorporated into their stories that makes these stories to be more alive during every day routine for the people. They also have many ceremony that also incorporate respect for god and the story is what has kept for centuries and  made this tradition to be alive and celebrated form the people each year.

Dr. Alles gave an incredible presentation from a perspective eye to eye, face to face while he visited the country and this community himself.That is an important part if you want to fully understand some kind of tradition of a country or a group of people best is to fully live it your self. For this Dr. Alles presentation about this community was more interested  that just being researched . He had pictures with the people of this communities , during the festivals and during their rituals. It seemed that despite gaining a real perspective of their traditions Dr. Alles really enjoyed himself while drinking Adivasis traditional drinks and trying their food from the ground, (that he claims was clean and tasted good).

Three main stories: A story about Mahura, the importance of drinking
The story about Babo Tumbo
The sotry of Babo Pithoro

In the pictures were mainly the times during the ceremony first was honoring the gods by sending to them goods such as a chickens etc. Another part of the ceremony was painting living room walls with all kind of pictures while each of them told a different story.While some of the pictures were sexual but in the end that does not matter much when is part of the culture that does say a story itself.

The planting of trees and sitting around it telling stories, drinking and partying all nights was a ceremony attended by Dr. Alles. The food was made on the ground and the  traditional drinks was made by the locals themselves. The slaughtering of the animals was a tradition  where goats, lambs, chicken would be seen slaughter spreading their blood allover the place. If the gods claim that is what it takes to purify the community who can tell  is wrong. Despite all the reaction that some of the photos made in class Dr. Alles self experience journey in India was incredibly fascinating as well as the Adivasis traditions. The myths and legend are told in front of all ages so every one will listen, learn and retell them in order to keep  the tradition of Adivasis alive.