IDEAS GENERATION / The Strange Library / Term 3, Week 1-2

As soon as the class began earlier today, we were almost immediately assigned with our first task of the term which was to research, brainstorm and present later on our ideas and concepts on Murakami’s “The Strange Library”. We will be presenting our take on this fiction work in form of a movie trailer and a book cover to go with it. This is a group project and is to be submitted on week 4, with 2 weeks of researching and brainstorming and another 3 (2 weeks might be rendered ineffective due to holiday) on the execution.

With the influence of Kafka’s unsettling plot and Shakespeare’s poetic wordings clearly seen on Murakami’s work, The Strange Library tells a story about a boy who is imprisoned by an old man in the library who wants to eat the boy’s brain after he filled it up with knowledge. The boy was perpetually concerned about how his mother would be waiting and worried for him while he was in the jail, even after knowing that his brain would be eaten and that his attempt at escaping would be at the expense of the sheep man’s (whom he met while being led into the jail) welfare. He also met a beautiful lady as he spent his time in the cell and had no problem communicating with her despite the lady being mute.

Our group decided on the keywords strange, shocking, dark comedy. We will be focusing on the trivial things within the morbid plot and the narrator’s predicament such as the doughnut created by the sheep man, new moon, ‘creamy’ knowledgeable brain so to capture the dark humor theme, while presenting it surrealistically with fun (e.g. bubblegum pink) colors combined with the actual horror of the plot that the characters themselves seem to consider lightweight.

For the trailer, three of us each came up with different ideas and method to create it. My idea for the trailer is inspired by Grand Budapest Hotel – the boy would be seen to walk into what seemingly looks like a hotel to the audiences, and he would be welcomed by the old man who plays the door man. The old man would give the boy three books with the number 107 on top, while saying “Here are your keys!” which is obviously contradicting what he is giving out, but the boy would take the books anyway and won’t seem to mind at all. This is correspondent to the way the boy doesn’t seem to mind to the idea of his brain eaten, but he worries for his mom instead. The oddity and strangeness of the situation is what I would like to emphasize in the trailer, with juxtaposing script and visual. As the boy enters the room (107), he is greeted by congratulatory music, popping brains and cream exploding everywhere. The sheep man would be zoomed in and he’d recite a morbid line from the book while looking jolly and happy, as well as the beautiful lady. At the center of the room sat the old man with the black dog besides him, and just as the camera zooms on him and he was going to say something, the audio would be censored (long beep noise) and the audience would just see the old man mouthing something while looking ominous. The beep noise would then be stopped by a “CUT!” along with the visual of a book being snapped close. The trailer ends when the book is lied down on a table with the title “The Strange Library” clearly seen. The method to create this trailer would most likely be animation.

Feedback to this idea is that the character introduction is too obvious, and it would be good to mesh it with Gia’s idea for trailer which is more dramatic in the revelation of the story.

As for the book cover, we focused on the doughnut and new moon and usage of fun color and bubble typography. We want to keep it simple and modern in style but nor as dark nor mysterious as the story is – a misleading book cover but still with actual elements from the story.

Until next week, we will be preparing individual moodboards for the trailer, book cover, and keywords.

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