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Fantastic World of M. C. Escher [VHS] (1998)

M.C. Escher , Michele Emmer  |  NR |  VHS Tape
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: M.C. Escher
  • Directors: Michele Emmer
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • VHS Release Date: November 11, 1998
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303146767
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,114 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The works of the Dutch graphic artist, Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898- 1972), have intrigued and delighted for generations. His distortions of space and time, steeped in fantastical imagery, have created a dedicated following around the world. But who was the man behind the intricate and mysterious designs? What inspired his unique and often bizarre prints? And what are the mathematical principals at work in so much of Escher's art? Through first-person accounts by his friends and mathematicians, computer animated recreations of his work and a look at his sources of inspiration in Italy and Spain, The Fantastic World of M.C. Escher answers these questions and more in an engaging exploration that will enrich the understanding and appreciation of Escher and his art.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cerebral look at a remarkable artist June 11, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
I am glad I viewed Acorn Media's "The Life and Works of M.C. Escher" before this tape. Although the tapes overlap a bit on the biographical details, "The Fascinating World" gives a much deeper insight into Escher's art. Particularly interesting are the analyses of some of his more famous tessellations, made more comprehensible by rotating transparent outlines around pivot points to show how the artist planned his patterns. Particularly interesting is the explanation of his false-perspective prints by Penrose, who claims to have (with his father) given Escher the idea. And wait until you see the three dimensional versions of the "impossible" shapes, one of which showed up in the recent and lamentable "The Avengers" film: the steps that always go up! The only annoying feature is the English narration given over the Dutch and Italian "talking heads," some of which are a drier than needs be; but such is the stuff of documentaries. I strongly suggest every math department in high schools and colleges purchase this tape for geometry classes as well as art departments to give the students a challenge of a different sort.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An explanation of the math Escher used February 28, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Maurits Cornelis Escher was an amazing artist as well as a superb applied mathematician. His figures apply various forms of symmetry in ways that can keep you looking for hours, at the end of which you will find yet another pattern inside those you saw when you first looked. While somewhat primitive, the computer animations of the figures allow you to better visualize how the figure was constructed.
The most illustrative techniques are when the narrator uses a simple device of a tack in the figure. This allows the narrator to rotate a figure around the tack, which demonstrates how the figures are symmetric in alternate quadrants and equal in quadrants separated by one.
Many of Escher�s figures are based on what are called impossible figures. These are geometric structures that cannot exist in three-dimensional space, but can be projected on a two-dimensional surface. Roger Penrose narrates this portion, demonstrating that sections of the figure are possible, and if it is cut and rotated the right way, appears to be a different figure. I enjoyed this a great deal, finally learning how Escher�s famous print of the endless waterfall was constructed.
Mathematicians and artists can appreciate this tape and it should be in every academic library. This is the best example of the marriage between art and mathematics that I have ever encountered.
Published in Mathematics and Computer Education, reprinted with permission.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful; NOT the definitive documentary August 28, 2006
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
The definitive video documentary of M.C. Escher does not exist. Trust me, I've looked. Such a video would portray the graphic artist's life, personality, and psyche convincingly. It would map his creative process, charting change and growth across his lifespan. It would feature friends, family, artists, perceptual scientists, mathematicians and philosophers. It would explain the mathematical gymnastics and perceptual principles underlying fantastic images and illusions. It would show antecedents such as Arabian mosaics or Hogarth's classic frontispiece. It would introduce Escher's contemporaries like Oscar Reutersvard and Roger Penrose, and consider Escher's legacy, as reflected in the art and science of Roger Shepard, Scott Kim, Vladimir Kush, Octavio Ocampo, David MacDonald, Irvine Peacock, Rob Gonsalves, Akiyoshi Kitayoka, and others. And of course, the video would provide original, mind-bending animations that move and act in ways implied by Escher's still images. Without fantastic visuals that go beyond anything that you can find in a book, why would you even need a video presentation? It is important to get this part right because Escher's art ripens with prolonged, deep inspection. Brief video clips deprive Escher's intricate universe of its essence.

Even though I couldn't find my dream documentary on Escher, I found some remarkable products. Moreover, in this age of cannibalized, downloadable internet movies and mash-ups, I was able to find lots of great stuff online and create my own homemade movies that I use in my psychology courses on sensation and perception, and on cognitive psychology.

Three remarkable documentaries are worth a look. The one reviewed here is "The Fantastic World of M.C.
Read more ›
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars M.C. Escher May 12, 2007
By fed
I am an art teacher and was looking for a good video on Escher. This was not it. I could hardly stay awake watching it; so I definately didn't show it to the students. There were a few pieces of interesting information but there were more photographs and animations of Escher's work with background elevator music. I was looking for an informative video on Escher's life; this was not it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great for high schoolers September 1, 2009
I used this with high schoolers and they appreciated it, I love it! I might use some segments with my elementary now. They love trying to figure out his drawings I have around the room.
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