Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Anton Dyakov "Bach" (2010)
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Natalia Mirzoyan "My Childhood Mystery Tree" (2009)
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Dmitry Geller "Greetings from Kislovodsk" (2000)
Friday, 18 June 2010
Nikolay Fedorov "Dragonfly and Ant" (1961)
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Nina Bisyarina "A Trip to the Seaside" (Поездка к морю 2008)
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Vladimir Popov "Bobik visits Barbos" (1977)
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Anatoliy Petrov "The Singing Teacher" (1968)
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Tatiana & Marina Moshkova "The Laughterfall" & "In Scale" (2007)
Unusually for the Animation Blog I shall introduce the animators before the animation. Those in question are the subject of a clever live action piece by Hungary’s Peter Vadocz, Twins. Tatiana and Marina Moshkova are featured side by side, almost as one but not quite. Tatiana (on the right) made The Laughterfall in 2007, their first year at St Petersburg State University. A conventionally drawn animation about snowmen, I could have used it at Christmas though we’ve had plenty of the white stuff lately and there is a melting giant in my front garden. My family’s sad snowman fades away alone but Tatiana has four of the creatures competing against each other in an ultimately doomed competition given a certain bright individual in the skies above. I wonder how much was intentional in theme as, despite grandiose plans, the snowmen suffer the fate of all mortals. 2007 was a good year, with sister Marina making In Scale, a precisely drawn piece indeed. Created in a deceptively simple manner, it features an indomitable mother bird whose dedication to maintaining nest, egg and hatchling knows no bounds, has no mercy and wreaks havoc all around her. One has to maintain a sense of proportion but does any mother about her child? Graduating in 2009, Marina was named best student of the year. I aim to take a further look at both women’s later work.
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Elizaveta Skvortsova "Lullabies of the World" (2006 ....)
Continuing my exploration of the work of Russian director Elizaveta Skvortsova today’s post concerns Lullabies of the World, a series of short films in which a folk song from a country is animated in the style suggested by the culture, albeit all share a stylised approach aimed, primarily though not exclusively, at children. Chukchi Lullaby provides a solution to a problem afflicting parents everywhere: how to quiet a screaming child. Commencing with a polar bear making its steady way over the ice, the unborn baby evident in the womb, we leave the blue of the Siberian for the interior of their hide covered tepee, any tranquillity disturbed by the bawling infant. Parents don masks, dance and sing to quell the infant. African Lullaby explains how in that continent, there is no need for such antics for the most attractive flies I have ever seen induce sleep in all the people and wild animals. Turkish Lullaby employs vivid colours in its explanation of the diet of calves and the origin of babies. If being found under a gooseberry bush is considered bizarre, discovering the new born babe in a cabbage is much more rational as it is less prickly for delicate skin. The three named lullabies are offered in a random selection. All animations in the series share a considerable beauty, the visual elements arranged to the music with an extraordinary degree of skill and such a vibrant sense of colour. They generally end with parents cuddling child and can be found readily enough on YouTube, emanating from the above links. Because I wish to support such work I have attempted to discover a link to the DVD series from the studio, Metronome Films. I shall update if and when.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Elizaveta Skvortsova "Wait, Be So Kind" (2002)
This is the first of three posts concerning the Russian director, Elizaveta Skvortsova. I'll commence with her thesis film of 2002, Wait, Be So Kind. The story is an age old one of a struggle with Death, personified here as a young woman whose dark presence is somewhat challenged by a lively girl cast down to Death's kingdom. The girl has been dispatched by her father, the king, angry at a defeat in battle and by the sight of his daughter embracing her lover. The spirited girl proceeds to argue with Death in order that she return to life if only for a minute. "Do you want me to tell you how beautiful it is to be alive?" Death relents - for one night only. Elizaveta frames the narrative as a slide projection show, as a girl (looking exactly like Death) presents a late night story, a scary one, using old fashioned equipment, complete with mechanical whirring sound. The music is at once melodic and repetitive, a wistful carousel ride, whilst the cut-out style has a simplicity about it that is both appealing and apt, particularly as emblems of life, in all their colour, are wheeled on towards the close. Viewed from the perspective of a child, one fleshes the details out oneself. Death is a lonely figure, strangely discomforted in the presence of Life. Elizaveta attended the State Institute of Filmmaking (VGIK). She was 24 when she made this most beautifully designed short. And yes, life is beautiful.
Monday, 11 January 2010
Alexandr Menshikov "Diglator"
July 2012: I have just received an email from Alexandr Menshikov's sister Katya who lives in the UK. Her brother lives in Siberia and animation is his hobby. She should be proud of him. He has great talent.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Isolda Solodova "Spider" (1994)
Monday, 30 November 2009
Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker "Le Nez" (The Nose) (1963)
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Fyodor Khitruk "Icarus And The Wise Men" (1976)
Icarus And The Wise Men takes a well aired tale and squeezes wit and significance out. Icarus dared to challenge the Gods. Well, not exactly Gods here but wise fatheads who lie back amidst the tombstones and regurgitate fatuous sayings that prove man is unable to fly: “What Jupiter may the oxen may not.” They reckoned without Icarus’ determination. Time and again he launches himself from his cliff, plummeting to earth, buried by tombstone after tombstone, only to rise for more. When, lo and behold, he flies, the wise men decree that man cannot, nay, must not, fly. Generations of children have it drilled into them. Teacher says, "Jump" they chant, "How high?" They don’t all listen though. Guess from the screenshot below the bright spark who dares to challenge truth? Soyuzmultfilm’s Fyodor Khitruk wrote and directed the sparingly drawn piece. “The higher you rise the deeper you fall” says the third wise man. Peter Klassen has provided the sub-titles for a subtle piece of work I much enjoyed. A talented man, Fyodor, and I bet many readers of the blog will not have heard of him. In his nineties now, one of the greats of Soviet animation, Fyodor published The Profession of Animation in 2008 and has several great films to his name including an excellent Winnie the Pooh (1969). I have written about another of his films for later in the week.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Yevgeniy Sivokon "Laziness" (1979)
A rather loose reference to the word "satire" in relation to Monday's Russian movie gained gentle admonition from the admirable Niffiwan who recommended Yevgeniy Sivokon's 1979 cut out Laziness as a more genuine example. He was indisputably right but I was unprepared for the fascination of it all. A snail slides across the dirty glass of an aquarium in which resides a bespectacled fish, tiny reading glasses perched on his nose, blowing bubbles. Then the opening credits and we are introduced to the narrator, an obese man eternally eating lunch whose lugubrious voice explains he is too lazy to clean the glass, or feed the fish, or separate the killer fish from the rest, or save the cat: a litany of excuses and an indolence that plays havoc with the normal pet/owner relationship. Suffice it to say the man ends up in the water providing a salutary lesson in the dangers of sloth. Laziness exemplifies satire well. Taken on a political or personal level, the point is well made. "My brain has become the brain of a fish. It's in no state to think of anything...but why disturb the waters." Lovely chunky cut outs too. And the film is so funny as fish, having gobbled up its fellows, eyes the cat. Faineant diner eyes the action. "Poor Vasya. My only friend. I ought to help him." Well, yes. Thanks Niffiwan and I'm going to tidy out the garage tomorrow. Or soon.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Galina Barina "A Long Time Ago" (1990)
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Valentin Karavayev "Mumu" (1987)
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