Lights! Camera! Animals!

Got a box of tissues handy? Here you go:

Done sniffling yet? Jai Arjun Singh [if you are into books and cinema, you really need to be following his blog] in his latest Yahoo! column riffs off Moti the almost-human canine of Teri Meherbaniyaan, and contrasts the kitschy with the artlessly artistic use of animals in films. Lovely read. And while on lovely reads, haven’t had much time these last few days to point at other good reading material — so here’s a portmanteau link, to the Yahoo Opinions home page — considerable good stuff has gone up there since we spoke last.

Staying with animals for a beat longer — and reprising something I had posted earlier — here’s Joel and Ethan Coen, in a clip from a *roflmao* interview to Playboy magazine some years back. This part relates to the Coen brothers’ experience of filming with animals, in context of Raising Arizona:

Playboy: Was it challenging to direct all the babies you had in that movie?

Joel: It was bizarre. Whenever you have an infant, you have to triple or quadruple them. When we had five kids in the movie, we had to have 15 babies on the set.

Ethan: The picture babies and the standby babies. Cacophonous, nightmarish.

Joel: We had the baby pit—a big padded pit they were tossed into when we weren’t using them. The mothers all sat around the perimeter knitting.

Ethan: Whenever we needed a baby we reached into the pit and grabbed one. It was kind of like a barbecue pit.

Joel: You can’t really direct a baby, which is the problem. You take one out of the pit, put it in front of the camera and see if it behaves. If not, you toss it back into the pit and get another. It’s a lot like working with animals, actually.

Ethan: Yeah, if an animal doesn’t do what you want it to do, you just grab another one. But the rules for working with animals are a lot more stringent than those for working with babies.

Joel: There is definitely no comparison.

Playboy: What can you do with a baby that you can’t do with an animal?

Ethan: A million things.

Joel: The pit. You can’t do that with animals.

Ethan: Believe me, it is remarkable thing to see how animals are monitored. You cannot kill a mosquito on screen.

Joel: When you do a Screen Actors Guild movie that uses animals in any way you have to get the American Humane Society to sign off on it. We blew up a cow in O Brother, which meant we had to send the Humane Society work tapes while the film was being shot. When they saw the cow scene they didn’t believe it was computer generated, but I assure you it was.

Ethan: There is a rule that you can’t get a cow anywhere near a moving car.

Joel: It might cause the cow stress.

Ethan: You can’t upset the animals.

Joel: We had to have a lizard crash pad for Raising Arizona.

Playboy: What’s a lizard crash pad?

Ethan: A lizard shoots off a rock in the movie, and we had to have a preapproved soft place for it to land.

Joel: Yeah. With babies, you don’t have to bother about all that stuff.

Unrelated, except perhaps tangentially — a while ago I’d done a post on Psycho; here’s Kim Morgan in fine form, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seminal film.

Browsing time has been somewhat rare these last few days, but two resources, and one good read, for you relating to soccer: ZonalMarking, for impeccable analysis of the World Cup games, and Supriya Nair’s Treasons, Strategems and Spoils for more general, equally compelling reading on the game. Any personal favorites among soccer blogs? Links, please?

On my way out the door, the Bangalore-based Joe Christy treated me to this lovely link: Henry Kissinger on soccer.

Got to run… have a good weekend.