I’ve spent my day today attending the Fantasy and Reality convention at the Haifa University, I must say it was quite interesting and joyful.
The convention is composed of a series of lectures by various speakers as well as a marathon of fantasy movies projected in a hall nearby.
Since I’ve already seem all the movies projected (The Never Ending Story, Blade Runner, Disney’s Fantasia and The Fifth Element) and movies being a mere download away, I attended the lectures instead.
As lectures go, some were better then others, the following were, among the better ones:
- Enterprises in Israel Development in 1900 `till 1960 by Prop. Arnon Sofer – While the name doesn’t sound fantastic at all, the lecture deal with some of the huge projects that were designed and sometimes carried out to varying success in the development of the country of Israel, projects that might have been considered as wiled fantasies by those who lacked the enterprenuors` vision. The lecture ends with a somewhat cynical note mentioning that no truly big development project had been carried out in Israel since the 1960s since no such project seems to be approved by the treasure ministry.
- Wall, Monster and Sharks Between Mt. Carmel and the Sea by D.r. Osnat Rozen Kremer – This lecture dealt with fantastical elements as they are developed used as metaphors by the proponents of the political debate carried out over the current and future development of the city of Haifa.
- There and Back by Mrs Gili Bar-Hillel – Mrs. Bar-Hillel is the Hebrew translator of the Harry Potter series of books, she gave a fascinating lecture about the common elements found in children and young adult’s , namely, the fact that many of the stories concern a child or a young adult (which is about the age of the target audience), which makes a journey into a fantastical world to emerge back as a better person. As she gave the lecture I couldn’t help but think about all the various Anime movies and series I know that include a similar story, she mentioned Miyazaki’s Howl no Ugoku Shirow (as well as the book Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones on which it is based), which makes me believe she must also be aware of Sen to Chihiro, but I do wonder if she’s heard of Junni Kokki as such a story with distinct east-Asian features as well as Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku which is a sort of a flip-over of this pattern, where the “fantastic” world is absolutely horrible.
- Psychoanalytical Reading of Red Riding Hood by Prop. Bill Friedman – A Very entertaining lecture that was unfortunately only half-done due to a lack of time.
While the most of lectures ware interesting and entertaining, the true treat care at the end of the day where a group of academics (?) calling themselves The Story Telling Company Inc. took the stage to, well, tell stories, and awesome intriguing and fantastical stories indeed.