Sunday, June 7, 2009

One of my other passions

Left-aligned photo By now, you probably know that Roger Federer has won the French Open tennis tournament and created a bit of history by doing so. Now, tennis is one of the other things that I really enjoy -- watching, at least; I'm a dreadfully bad tennis player. I've actually posted about tennis in the movies, and Paris before, so I figured a different way to combine Roland Garros and the movies would be to talk about the clay surface on which Roland Garros is played.

Technically, Roland Garros is played on terre battue, or crushed brick, which is what gives it that distinctive red color. But everybody in the English-speaking world calls it clay, so we'll stick with that. The most natural place to look for clay in the movies would be pottery, and perhaps the best-known instance of pottery in the movies is the scene in Ghost where the ghost of Patrick Swayze helps Demi Moore on a potter's wheel. It's a scene so famous that it's been parodied a host of times, probably most notably in Naked Gun 2-1/2, with Leslie Nielsen helping out Priscilla Presley on the potter's wheel, followed by a bunch of stock film scenes depicting various Freudian sexual images that are even more blatant than the kiss in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound.

The other use of clay in the movies would be claymation, a form of stop-motion animation. A good recent example of this would be the Wallace and Gromit movies.

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