The pictogram method was applied to the reading and reconstructing of various commercial heats, including the pre-Disney 1933 animation classic on Snow White and Pandora’s Box featuring Stephen Chow, resulting in various works, three of them shown at the exhibition The Ventriloquists…Thinking Narratively (4-19 July 2020) at Floating Projects. 《腹語系:微敘思考》展場中,有三個圖形轉化的作品,選擇了兩個商業收益叫好的作品 — 迪士尼《白雪公主》面世前,費里沙創作的1933年的黑白動畫,還有周星馳的《西遊記之月光寶盒》(1994)。

***Feature image: Parco Wong’s pictogram Amusement Map (2020) showing the structure and geography of Betty Boop’s Snow White (1933)

+          +          +          +

To watch the original animation picture Betty Boop’s Snow White (Dave Fleischer, 1933) [click HERE]
More on the Fleischer brothers’ inkwell animation works […] – Max Fleischer and Dave Fleischer
RESEARCH KEYWORDS: Animated narrative, 3-act structure, morphing

+          +          +          +

TSANG Tak-shun Gabriel: Tripping in Snow Cocaine
A pictogram on Dave Fleischer’s Betty Boop’s Snow White (1933), presented as an A3-size light-box

Disney changed the original story to make it profitable and family friendly, yet its animation always overshadowed the more experimental Flesischer. His animations are known for going all out and wild, sometimes edgier even, in order to, in my opinion, to create a comedic effect. It is very worth noting that Fleischer’s version of Snow White came out four years before Walt Disney’s (1937), so Fleischer’s Snow White was even older than the mainstream story of Snow White. 

I decided to pay tribute to Fleischer by making the pictogram black-and-white and I took his exaggeration even further — with the “disturbing” imagery of Snow White’s severed hand, cocaine on the table, the middle finger, and dents on the new “cartoonish” arm. The group of floating spirits by design are the side characters (the clown and the dog); and their hand being a heart suggests they sympathise with Snow White. Some elements not found in the animation are added into this pictogram, such as a crossed-out poisonous apple floating (ironically Snow White is doing drugs herself). The seven dwarfs, despite making an appearance, do not carry a major role like they do in the mainstream version, hence the tied up dwarfs. (Gabriel Tsang)

Gabriel Tsang’s 2020 pictogram on Fleischer’s animated picture Betty Boop’s Snow White (1933)

 

Rachel Ricafort: The Betty Boop Snow White Slope Discourse 
A 2020 pictogram on Betty Boop’s Snow White (1933), presented a a hanging banner, 80x113cm 

The animation picture Betty Boop Snow White (1933) by Max Fleischer possesses a richly multifaceted oddness. The film seems barely coherent, despite its bearing the title of the all familiar tale of  “Snow White”. Here and there disparate components in the pic bear similarity to the tale but its narrative discourse shows a raggedy and slippery slope. And this is the focus of my recreation. 

My pictogram shows the film begins with a “three-act story structure” (left to right) with a touch of the “magical elements” whereby objects are turned malleable and personified. My pictogram then takes up each of the characters on its own course. Descriptive nouns of  the overall narrative structure (e.g. Banishment, Derailment, refamiliarization etc.) are also added. The middle part of the pictogram shows what is to me the most outstanding part of the film, namely, the musical digression it goes through. The lyrics play a part on both the foreground and background, adding clever visual touches. Finally, the ending reverts back to the typical story structure; the big bad monster is faced by the characters, only for it to fail and ultimately giving it a “happy” but abrupt, and perhaps rushed ending. (Rachel Ricafort)

 

Wong Lok-hang Parco: Amusement Map
a narrative pictogram on Betty Boop’s Snow White as spatial analysis (not on display)

My narrative pictogram analysis is to show the depth of space and locations in different scenes of Betty Boop’s Snow White. It shows the 3 stages of the plot and what goes between every two acts; I show the space that connects the different acts as the story goes on. I find the animation’s story structure highly related to individual scene’s physical location. When the story goes on, characters travel from high to low — the story takes place uphill at the witch’s castle, then Snow White falls down a cave or rolls off a cliff. Between different acts, characters have a major “drop” in height in physical location. The creator, Dave Fleischer, marked each scene with a unique rhythm that matches the characters’ action. (See first diagram above as analysis.)

In my final pictogram, I simplified all the scenes and characters into simple shapes. For space with depth, I show it with thin lines extending from the shape of the space. The upper left is the first act, the upper right is the second act, and the lower part is the first act. This highlights how the dramatic transition from act to act is spatial transition.

The cubic space on the upper left corner is the castle of the witch. In the first act, this scene shows Betty Boop (Snow White) and two soldiers walking through a long corridor, at the end of which is the witch’s throne. The castle’s depth of space is unique in this act, with clear narrative functions. Then we see the soldiers dig a hole to bury their tools and try to fake Betty’s death. That’s where the first act ends and the second act starts. The hole connects the first act and the second act. Betty walks to the cliff and rolls downhill; the circle is the snow ball. The two square is the root where Betty gets tripped over, and the fence is where the snow ball cut into the shape of a coffin. Then Betty slides into a frozen lake and got stuck in an ice coffin. The seven dwarfs’ house appears to be not very deep, more like a cardboard. So the thin line extending from the shape is short. Then the road down to the mystery cave is where act two connects act three. The cave’s physical structure is a long straight aisle. So in this drawing I just show the chasing scene of the witch and the other characters. (Parco Wong, edited by Linda Lai)

 

+          +          +          +

Jeffrey Lau’s A Chinese Odyssey I : Pandora’s Box (1994)《大話西遊之月光寶盒》 (劉鎮偉導演,1994)

RESEARCH KEYWORDS: 3-act structure; multiple stories in one; allegory 寓言; meta-narrative 後設敘事 (a narrative system about the conventions and traditions of fiction film) 

 

YAU Chong-hei, Chester: 500 Years
A pictogram on Jeffrey Lau’s A Chinese Odyssey I : Pandora’s Box

My pictogram 500 Years is inspired by Alberto Duman’s chronology-map “View of the Tate Modern, London” (2007), which creates a historical view of Tate Modern with words. The words not only convey the meanings of the entities, they also structure potential interpretation. In my pictogram, I highlight ‘ROBBER LEADER’ and ‘THE MONKEY KING’ to be the two characters of the story. The two scenes are divided and one of them is inverted. Readers can interact with the artwork by rotating it.

I use 1-point perspective to make the work lively, imagining the character on each of the two sides is walking forward from the vanishing point. By combining the multiple stories and dividing them up into two parts, I seek to connect the characters’ relationships and strengthen the 500-year time travel which is the backbone of the film’s story-telling. (Chester Yau)

The final pictogram 500 Years (2020) by Chester Yan. It is a narrative map with 1-Point Perspective using English words only, creating the view and story of the movie, which is multiple stories in one across 500 years. I put the stories into two parts which is 500 years later and ago. 

The process of developing the pictogram

1

2

3

4

 

TANG Pui-ching: Kill, Love, Run (not shown on site)
A narrative pictogram of A Chinese Odyssey 1: Pandora’s Box (1994)

END of Narrative Pictogram