Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coffee of the Day - Janus Tattoo

Though I had previously owned Armageddon and The Rock on Criterion (I know big art house films right?) DVD, I had never been exposed to so much foreign and hard to find films than when working for my Bachelor in Film.

Many of the films that we watched came from the Criterion collection, and most of them all begin with the Janus image above. Seeing the Criterion's Janus film symbol before every movie left a lasting impression. There are several storytelling narratives that are simply my favorite, one being stories that are told in non-linier form, time traveling is another, and duality.

For those that are not aware of who Janus is, here is what Wikipedia has to say -

"In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: IANVS) is the god of beginnings and transitions,[1] thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence peace and war."

The Janus symbol inspired me so much  that during my time at the Univeristy of Central Florida I made a a short film called Doppleganger, in which I named my main character Janus, a man with a split personality that talks to his dog about possibly killing his wife.

The myth of The One You Feed obviously deals with the internal struggle of duality,  good versus evil. In writing the script I have attempt to add several scenes that are, in a sense, duplicates of previous scenes. There are things that happen twice. Hitchcock did this in his film Shadow of Doubt and also in Vertigo.  Not that my story needed any more duality in it, but I thought that following in the same feet steps wouldn't hurt either.

In the script, John's wife Linda is killed in a brutal attack. The only distinct item that John can recollect from one of the thugs is a tattoo. I had long thought the tattoo to be a cross of some sort, knowing in my heart that I would change the design later to something more distinct. Something that we as the audience, and John, will recognize later when bumping into that thug again.

I scratched my brain for a long time about what that symbol could be, the tattoo that the thug has on his arm. I even researched gang tattoos in the hopes of finding something that would work. Then it finally dawned on me - Janus. A symbols of duality and a mise en scene that I was toying with anyways.

It was perfect, I thought. The character will have Janus tattoo. But what would that actually look like? Would that look plausible? After doing a little Google image search I found this image below - a person with a Janus tattoo on their wrist. 

 Ehh, not really what I was looking for. What do you think?

I am sure that the tattoo fulfills this person lifestyle and completes them, maybe.  But it's not aggressive enough for a thug character. Right? Doing a little more Google image search, "Janus Tattoo," I found the image below. 

More perfect than I could imagine. Dropping the facial feature and beard from the image and making it skulls gives it just the edge that it needs. And it seperates it from the Criterion image so it doesn't look like the Thug is a huge art house film fan. 

 Audience, I think I just found my tattoo for the thug character.  By the way, the thug character's name is Emil. The name is in reference to Robocop. You know, the guy that says, "I know you. You're dead. We killed you!" 

But more on that later - as it will be one of the homework assignments in the coming weeks. 

Please, let me know what you think, like, dislike and also please show your support by liking the Facebook page. 


Ryan McDonald