Over The Sea and Puppets Abound!
Today in Class we went back to Norman Mclaren and watched in full 3 of his most well-known animation.
The syncopation of this video is incredible, every note of this piece gets a shape, form, or action to illustrate the movement of an abstract nature.
This piece was what really made Mclaren’s work known to a wide audience. The narrative of the piece had such wide appeal that it won the approval of the public.
In class we then switched the geography yet again and went across the sea’s to Europe. The craft of animation there was not so studio-ized like the United States, but there were still restrictions on the very content an animation showed. Independents really had a place to learn and practice their craft in a much more personal way, not through the loophole and politics of a studio.
Each country in Europe seamed to have their own style of storytelling through the traditions and craft of their culture. Not to mention the influence politics had upon the content of an animation’s work.
To me this animation’s main theme of the film is centered around the idea of the individual artist against the government and how restricting the content an artist can produce or in this case ordering an artist to do a piece of work against their wil, will end in a very poetic death.
It’s poking fun at the confinement of artist all while still maintaining a beautiful aesthetic quality. Also it has a playful nature in the soul of the puppet, who wants to create pots to protect a beautiful flower he is growing.
Riblie Oko Yugoslavis
This piece’s graphic style is freaking crazy! Not to mention the dark humor used in it is kinda disturbing. I know this piece must to relate once again to the struggle of the country but I do not really get if the fish is a metaphor for masses of the Czech republic or what.
Zbigniew Rybczynski Poland
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Alright this piece is just astonding on the level of busy craziness this piece presents in detail and keeps throughout most of the piece. And it was all done the manual compositing way! Shooting on film and matching together all these actions, people to perfect timing would be such a huge feat to undergo! As far as narrative goes I’m not sure what I can make out story wise, but it all seems to fit together and be plausible in that one setting.
At this point in class we started talking about how animation can be extremely global. “Movement is the one language that can not lie.” Animations can be shared around the world for animations are a global dialogue! But this being said each country (as I said before) has it’s own voice, tradition and tools/levels of craft within that culture. Puppet making has it’s own context with other cultures, as it is a traditional craft from used long before animation came around and was used in theaters.
China’s animations are full of their country’s traditions, culture and the influence of their geographical location (bamboo is used in a later animation to build the characters). In American animations it’s the process that really influences the art. The leading inventive forward spirit creates new and better inventions to cut down on the process time, the craft is really ever changing.
This principal basically boils down to the fact that Old Countries = Craft/ Cultural Tradition.
RUSSIA (was USSR)
In Russian not only was their tradition and culture influencing their animation, but around this time Russia (then the USSR) was in a constant race with other countries- specifically America. The space race competition translated well into animation, and the Russian government promoted the production of films in order to compete with America’s animated history. But since these animations were commissioned by the government, it meant that each one was very controlled by the state and the animators were left to work with what they had and their craft.
Hedgehog in the Fog
The is a very important film to Russian stop-motion history, not only is it a visual ascetic achevment, but it’s story can relate to the struggle of Russia. What that direct relation is I’m not sure of though.
Passion of Spies
This animation is playing off of the amount of spy movies around this time, all dealing with the Space Race, Arm’s Race, and Cold War. But it’s humor definitely strikes me, even though I was at first scared by the creepy man getting his teeth worked on in the beginning.
Night of the Carrots
This animation really shows the odd sense of humor that Estonia has even though their country was severally oppressed and overrun.
Now talking about countries being oppressed by their government, China is the case in point with their early control of the content of animations. Today it’s much less restricted, but as you can see by the short films I could find, their content was limited back in the day to be more of a continuation of their craft traditions. Especially Deer and Bull which was made with a medium (bamboo) that was closely infused with their environment and culture.
A Da 36 Characters (could not find a video online)
Deer & Bull
Cat & Rat (could not find video online)
Te Wei & Qjan Jiajun
Dneynik (Zagreb Studios)
Journal, 1974 (could not find video online)
Then to transtition into our next class period we watched a Documentary on Ray Harryhausen who was an amazing stop-motion special effects and character animator who worked in Hollywood.
Here is a link to some of his work (just google videos)
He made the imaginable possible in film, making dinosaurs, missing links, monsters, and skeletons come alive on the big screen.