Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lazy Sunday # 197: Over Time

There's a lot being made this week about the Muppets being back onscreen after a twelve year absence -- "...and they haven't aged one bit!".

What's not much mentioned is that their creator, Jim Henson, died in the Spring of 1990 and his puppeteer partner Frank Oz, the genius behind Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, refused to have anything to do with the new film because he didn't like the way the Muppet characters were portrayed.

I don't know what that says about the film one way or another. And it's far from the first time that characters have outlived their creators or been rebooted for a new generation or a new round of sequels.

But there's something about the relationship between puppets and a puppeteer that's -- different.

If you've ever watched puppeteers rehearsing, there's a great deal of intimate interplay between the artist and the inanimate object being brought to life. It's almost like watching people with their kids.

There are tales aplenty about ventriloquists who treat their dummies like real people. And who among us has not interacted with a puppet as if it were a completely separate entity from the guy with his hand up its butt?

Somewhere, there's an element in our humanity that simply accepts that our teddy bears, dolls and other beloved toys have some kind of life of their own.

Which means that "they" must be aware that the person who brought them to life is no longer around.

Here's a beautiful French film that uses that premise. It's one of the most moving shorts I've found in a while.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Overtime from ouryatlan on Vimeo.

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