This weekend: “Framing Tintin” film series

Are you like me — excited and a bit trepidatious about Steven Spielberg’s upcoming silver screen adaptation of Tintin? The Adventures of Tintin is set to open in the U.S. on December 21 — it’s already opened to huge numbers in Europe — and just in time to prepare, Cinebeasts and the Spectacle Theater are putting together a Tintin film festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this weekend. And I’m (peripherally) involved.

The “Framing Tintin” series is an attempt to reconcile “the world-renowned boy reporter with his murky cinematic past, and [get] at the truth of why Hergé’s beloved hero has never made a perfect journey from page to screen.” The series features five French films made over a 25-year period (most of which have never before been screened in the US), as well as the 2003 documentary Tintin et Moi, “as close a psychiatric evaluation of Hergé as has ever been made public.” As the series notes, the films include “two dazzling live-action comedy adaptations, two earnest attempts at reproducing Hergé’s signature style in an animation studio, and an early stop-motion rarity.”

Guest speakers/presenters include the very brilliant Bill Kartalopolous and the very talented Jason Little; I’ll be doing a short humorous presentation on how I’ve been ripping off Tintin in one way or another my whole career.

I’m really excited to see these films — some, like The Lake of Sharks and The Blue Oranges, I have comic book adaptations of but have never seen, and many of the others I didn’t even know existed. Hard to beat the price, too: $5 admission for each movie; 2-for-1 admission for the Saturday and Sunday matinees! Here are the details, times, and dates:

FRAMING TINTIN Film Series at the Spectacle Theatre: 124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Friday 12/16
(with guest presenters Bill Kartalopolous and Josh Neufeld)
7PM: Tintin et Moi (2003)
9PM: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1947)

Saturday 12/17
3PM: Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (1969)
5PM: Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (1961)

Sunday 12/18
(with guest presenter Jason Little)
3PM: Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972)
5PM: Tintin and the Blue Oranges (1964)



New comics story, “Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand”

Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the SandDebuting today on the Cartoon Movement website is a new piece of mine, “Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand.” The story follows Mohammed and Sara, two young Bahraini editorial cartoonists who found themselves on opposite sides of Bahrain’s short-lived Pearl Revolution.

I met Mohammed and Sara at workshops I led while visiting the tiny Persian Gulf country on a U.S. State Department trip. Shortly after I became friends with both of them on Facebook, Bahrain underwent a great deal of turmoil in protests inspired by the Arab Spring — and also by the country’s simmering sectarian tensions.As the New York Times wrote the other day, Bahrain  is “… a country that was once one of the region’s most cosmopolitan is now one of its most divided.”

In the story I document Mohammed and Sara’s impressions of the events, through their words and experiences — as well as their own cartoons, which were published as things unfolded.

As I mentioned, I visited Bahrain last year as part of a trip that also took me to Egypt, Algeria, and Israel/Palestine. I later realized that the way I was “handled” by the State Dept. folks in Bahrain was very different than in the other countries I went to. Essentially, I feel, things were whitewashed a bit, and I was not given a full sense of Bahraini society, particularly the ethnic tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. You can read my original blog posts about the trip, my first reactions to the Pearl Revolution, and my realization that I had been “duped” here. Also, Michael Cavna of the Washington Post‘s “Comic Riffs” blog wrote a very nice profile of me and the piece here.

Since I finished the piece, the Bassiouni committee, which I mention near the end of the story, has published its report. You can read the original report here [a pdf], or two very thorough New York Times articles about its reception here and here.

In the end, I find the whole story quite heartbreaking — particularly because of the way the demonstrators were so brutally suppressed. It’s also really sad to see the lack of perspective on both sides. There’s a quote from one of the Bassiouni committee investigators that I think sums it all up quite tragically: “‘There is no neutral account ‘ said Mohamed Helal, the commission’s legal officer…. ‘The community is almost living in parallel universes.’ In investigating one episode, Mr. Helal said he found on the same day, at the same moment, ‘there was not one moment of overlap. How can you reconstruct the truth when there’s no overlap?’ he asked.”

Once again, here’s a link to the story, “Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand”: