China’s Toilets, An Adventure

toilet adventures from Bill Callahan on Vimeo.

It’s bad manners to discuss toilet activities. But the topic often comes up when people recount their first experiences in China. For many, confronting a squat toilet for the first time is a shock.

This fundamental encounter with the unknown can tell us about the relation of purity and danger, public and private space, and the role of the state in China’s rapidly changing society. Such abstract calculations come to life on the toilet according to five stages, starting with “shock.”

“toilet adventures” is designed to provoke discussion of such experiential, theoretical and ethical issues.

(ta14)

A social scientist put together this documentary consisting of interviews with mainly non-Chinese people regarding their attitudes towards toilets in China. Most visited before China opened up in the 1980s. The interviews reveal a lot about the individual and his or her culture as they do about China.

Inside Out

inside_out_trailer.png.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

If I hadn’t flown United, I wouldn’t have sought out Inside Outside a cute animated film about Riley, a happy middle school student, whose emotions go into a tailspin when she moves to San Francisco thus losing her friends, her big backyard and her upbeat attitude. What sets this film apart is that most of the action takes place inside Riley’s head, in an emotional control center. Amy Poehler is the emotion Joy and she’s the captain of this ship and feels compelled to only send happy thoughts to long term memory. Lewis Black plays a red hot Anger and other “shipmates” represent Disgust and Sadness. Joy doesn’t understand the value of sadness and is always trying to distract Sadness, who does have some wisdom to offer.

Joy and the other emotions fall out of their command center and must journey through Riley’s imagination, subconscious, etc. They go to a land of abstraction and become Picasso-ized. It’s all quite clever, but probably over the heads of most kids. Perhaps they’d go along for the ride anyway.

I was surprised that the film had Riley run away from home. She walks through the shady part of town where their new home is to the bus station. She gets a ticket and boards a bus. That was a bold move for a modern film to make.

Inside Out

inside_out_trailer.png.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

If I hadn’t flown United, I wouldn’t have sought out Inside Outside a cute animated film about Riley, a happy middle school student, whose emotions go into a tailspin when she moves to San Francisco thus losing her friends, her big backyard and her upbeat attitude. What sets this film apart is that most of the action takes place inside Riley’s head, in an emotional control center. Amy Poehler is the emotion Joy and she’s the captain of this ship and feels compelled to only send happy thoughts to long term memory. Lewis Black plays a red hot Anger and other “shipmates” represent Disgust and Sadness. Joy doesn’t understand the value of sadness and is always trying to distract Sadness, who does have some wisdom to offer.

Joy and the other emotions fall out of their command center and must journey through Riley’s imagination, subconscious, etc. They go to a land of abstraction and become Picasso-ized. It’s all quite clever, but probably over the heads of most kids. Perhaps they’d go along for the ride anyway.

I was surprised that the film had Riley run away from home. She walks through the shady part of town where their new home is to the bus station. She gets a ticket and boards a bus. That was a bold move for a modern film to make.