American Humane Association

Elephant-Horse-Dog Turducken

You probably remember that whole American Humane Association scandal from a few months ago. You know, the one where only official monitoring body for animal care in Hollywood was actually playing fast and loose with the phrase “No Animals Were Harmed,” and covering up all kinds of animal-harming that occurred under their watch. Dozens of sea creatures were killed in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl‘s many boat explosions. A handler on the set of Failure to Launch was trying to carry a chipmunk on his shoulder when he dropped it and stepped on it, crushing it to death. An AHA monitor, who was having an affair with a Life of Pi executive, conveniently covered up the near-drowning of a tiger on the set of Life of Pi. The list goes on and on, and can be read in extreme length and detail over at The Hollywood Reporter. After the story broke, the response was a massive outcry…that quickly faded away into a shrug. The monitor who covered up her affair/tiger drowning stepped down from her job. The AHA put out a press release to uphold their good name, claiming that the THR story “distorts the work and record of a respected nonprofit organization that has kept millions of beloved animal actors safe on film and television sets around the world for more than 70 years.” According to the AHA, the stories of animal death are true, but occurred through no fault of the AHA monitors. Apparently, […]


Sunrise Drunk Pig

Warning: Some of the links included in this article depict disturbing real-life violence against animals. When we talk about movies, we often talk about representation. And when we talk about representation, we’re most likely talking about people. How does this character’s personality fit in with my understanding of people in my daily life? What are the roles that men and women of different races, sexualities, and ethnic backgrounds play in a given narrative? What does an old film tell me about people during a different era? Who are the people that made a given film possible, and how did they contribute creatively? Simply put, cinema is a medium made by people, about people, and for people. But we often represent and depict other living beings through our narratives as well. We may be human, but we often identify with things that aren’t. This weekend I co-hosted a repertory screening of F. W. Murnau’s silent American classic Sunrise (1927). One of the film’s most memorable scenes features George O’Brien chasing after a precocious circus pig. The pig stumbles into a quiet kitchen and, through a series of screwball antics, causes a cook to drop a glass of wine onto the ground. It shatters, and the pig drinks the wine. What follows is a brilliant close-up of the pig, its eyes slowly drooping and its snout out-of-focus, which rather effectively conveys the animal’s state of inebriation. Through an intuitive implementation of form, the human audience is permitted to identify with the subjectivity […]

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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