Yellow Submarine is the Beatles’ tenth studio album, released in January 1969. It was issued as the soundtrack to the animated film of the same name, which premiered in London in July 1968. The movie is about the Beatles protecting a music-loving paradise from enemies by playing music, and it received a widely positive reception from critics and audiences for its colorful imaginations and optical illusions.
The soundtrack album contains six songs by the Beatles in the first section, of which “Yellow Submarine” and “All You Need is Love” had previously been released as singles, while the other four selections were composed solely for the movie production. The second part of the album is a re-recording of the film’s orchestral soundtrack by the band’s producer, George Martin. The soundtracks consistently play an important role in the progression of the movie’s plot. As with many motion picture musicals, the film can be seen as a series of various images designed to present Beatles music. The soundtracks in the album are especially energetic and bubbly, well-fitting with the vibrant animation. The guitar playing and mellotron* sound contribute to the album’s style of psychedelic rock. This album sheds a new magical light on Beatles music, perhaps explaining why “Yellow Submarine” became an all-time favorite children’s song. It is recommended for anyone ready to go on a fantasy journey with the legendary band.
Movie-Bucketwheat Flowers, One Lucky Day, and Spring Spring
Released in August of this year, this movie is an animated version of Korea’s three major short story novels by Lee Hyo-seok, Hyun Jin-gun, and Kim Yoo-jeong. It is an omnibus film, composed of three stories: memories in the sixties, pain in the forties, and love in the twenties. In Bucketwheet Flowers, an old merchant meets a young man one day and unfolds his memories about a woman. The animated setting of the story is at a beautiful bucketwheat flower field, where the instrumental music creates warm reminiscence. One Lucky Day illustrates the hardships of people in the early 1900s through the story of a rickshaw puller who is maybe having the most tragic day in his life. Jazzy background music suits the view of past Seoul, forming a melancholic atmosphere. Then, there is a sudden shift in mood when the comedy Spring Spring presents the story about a farmhand making all-out effort to marry his master’s daughter. Interestingly, the story is narrated with pansori**, which brings the animation much more to life.
Besides the lively images, professional dubbing artists add completeness to the stirring animation. The producer, Korean Short Story Animation Production Committee, announced that it wishes this movie to become “the ignition point for spreading Korean literature to audiences worldwide, through animation genre that is an easy approach for all audiences.” This movie invites everyone to breathe in some nostalgia for the Korean past and dance to the rhythm of Korean life.
TV Program-*Pixar: 25 Magic Moments*
To celebrate Pixar’s 25th anniversary, BBC Documentaries has devoted one episode to the animation studio in 2011, examining its highs and lows since its establishment in 1986. Mackenzie Cook, an actor famous for his character as a pirate in The Pirates of the Caribbean, is the narrator of the documentary and adds the liveliness to the program through witty comments. Having had special access to the Pixar headquarters and the creative team, the BBC episode features clips from Toy Story, Up, and Monsters’ Inc., even showing Pixar’s animation making behind the scenes.
As the title of the program implies, the documentary selects 25 especially memorable scenes from Pixar’s animation films and provides explanations on the making of each scene. It also includes interviews with the president of Pixar as well as directors of its most successful animations such as The Incredibles, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo. The program shows that timeless values in Pixar’s animations make them universally agreeable; as the director of Toy Story John Lasseter comments in his interview, “Animation is the one type of movie that really does play for the entire audience.” The products of Pixar animation studio have probably become an inseparable part of childhood for many of you, and here is a documentary that will rekindle your childlike innocence, even in adulthood.
Book-Stories of People
Published in 2011, this book is the first of the Humanist publishing company’s documentary comic series. It includes short comics by 14 cartoonists, addressing issues related to modern society and attempting to communicate with its readers through cartoons. The volume contains the stories and feelings of diverse men, exploring through their lives in various settings and environments. The book includes stories such as “Only \50,000” that is about a part-time job experience at a demolition site and “Warm Person, Che” that talks about Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara. There are also stories that deal with the same issue but through different approaches. Such variation in artistic styles is probably what makes this collage of comics most rewarding. “Youth is Beautiful” and “Let’s Live Hard” both deal with youth issues but the former communicates its message through humor and irony while the latter does so through a sobering depiction of harsh reality.
The comic book’s attempt to commentate on humanities issues through the genre’s visual accessibility is worth applauding. The book also breaks the common stereotype that comics are lighthearted and are for casual browsing, since it will tickle the readers’ minds with critical questions about society in the present day.
Located on the Jaemiro of Myeong-dong, Jaemirang is a comic cultural space that contains comic-related exhibitions and a free comic library. Events such as musical concerts and cartoonists’ autograph signings are occasionally held here as well. On the underground floor, visitors may enjoy unique experiences. There is a permanent exhibition on the first floor, where visitors can use touch screens to view comic works by various artists. This exhibit includes different mediums, such as marker, pen, Photoshop, brush, etc. and different types of cartoons, such as web-toons, comic strips, caricatures, and sociopolitical cartoons. On the second floor, there was a special exhibition this past summer on the city of Seoul, and now the exhibit has opened up on adult comics.
When visitors climb to the rooftop, they are led to a library that holds more than 1000 comic books, which range in genre from education to humor. It seems that the books available in Jaemirang are mostly Korean works, which often have unique mood in contrast with Japanese manga or American comic strips. Surely, Jaemirang is an idiosyncratic space perfect for a date or a simple respite from the demands of everyday life.
Place: Jaemiro, Myeong-dong
Time: Open all year, except for Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
*Mellotron: Electro-mechanical tape replay keyboard that allows for access to different sounds by playing different portions of the tape.
**Pansori: Korean genre of musical storytelling performed by a vocalist and a drummer