David Ononye

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The Art of Emotion in ‘Fun Home’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’

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Emotional poignancy appears to be getting more and more difficult for storytellers to achieve. Stifled by the rigid layer of cynicism in the minds of audiences it becomes a challenge strike a deep chord, particularly in stories with heart and soul. Many have turned to subtlety and an underlying cynicism of their own to confront this issue. Matching the jaded wavelength of the audience has been an effective way of disguising emotion and slipping powerful themes under the radar. Writers use dry narration to avoid being overly melodramatic or filling their work with cues telling readers exactly how to emotionally respond in situations. Filmmakers shy away from enforcing a particular emotional message, keeping ideology undefined and preventing their film from becoming “too preachy.” Alison Bechdel’s comic book, Fun Home, and Wes Anderson’s film, The Royal Tenenbaums, are two stories that not only use subtlety to effectively convey emotion, but also adopt additional creative ways of penetrating barriers of cynicism. The stories are similar in the way they extract the emotion from the source and spread it to other areas. Feeling takes on different forms as it buries itself in the atmosphere and transforms into something more aesthetically appealing.

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January 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm