J.S. Bach: Fantasia g-moll. Dir. J. Svankmajer 1965
Patterns of squares, windows, stone walls, pans left and right.
A man plays the Bach piece of the title on the organ, accompanied by images of stone walls with cracks and holes that grow and shrink, intercut with images of doors and wire-meshed windows.
Won Cannes Jury Prize
Moznosti dialogu (Measures of Dialogs) dir. Jan Svankmajer 1982
Stop animation of dinnerware sculpted as heads consume and then purge each other. Opens with the sounds of a restaurant.
The animation is divided into three sections. “Factual conversation” (Dialog věcný) shows heads gradually reducing each other to bland copies “Passionate discourse” (Dialog vášnivý) shows a clay man and woman who dissolve into one another sexually, then quarrel and reduce themselves to a frenzied, boiling pulp; and “Exhaustive discussion” (Dialogu vyčerpávajícím) consists of two elderly clay heads who extrude various objects on their tongues (toothbrush and toothpaste; shoe and shoelaces, etc.) and intertwine them in various combinations.
Muzne hry (Virile Games) dir. Jan Svankmajer 1988
If you look hard, you can see some social commentary about our addiction to violent games & to television & the supplanting of the life around us with what we only observe through the boob tube.
Tma, svetlo, tma (Darkness Light Darkness) dir. Jan Svankmajer 1989
This 7 minutes short is a fascinating clay animation where a man constructs himself from clay (literally), being a God and his creature at the same time, putting the different parts of body together in a very small room. The more parts find their pace, the bigger the man becomes, the smaller and more suffocating the room gets. “Darkness-Light-Darkness” has been seen by many critics and viewers as a very strong allegory of suffocating life in Eastern Europe which is true, but I also see it as an allegory of a struggle every talented and deeply feeling artist goes through in the search for beauty and meaning regardless the political system or the country they live. From the darkness of non-existence to the light of knowledge to the unbearable darkness of being – that’s the road Svankmajer takes us and as usual, his vision is not a cheerful or optimistic one.
Club of the Discarded dr. Jiri Barta 1989
Czech filmmaker Jiri Barta’s 30 minute piece inspired by master animator Jan Svankmajer. An amusingly grim commentary on the Czech Republic, Club tells the story of a family of discarded mannequins who enjoy a quiet life in an abandoned warehouse until a group of hipster mannequins move in and ruin the neighborhood. Distributor: Cinema Village Productions
Literature (Library FAMU):
Gianaberto Bendazzi: Cartoons – One Hundred Years of Film Animation
Jan Pos: Czech Animated Film 1935-1995 (in English)
RUKA (the Hand) dir. Jiri Trnka 1965
it is about a sculptor visited by a huge hand, which seeks the completion of a sculpture of itself. By rejecting the imposition, the artist is constantly pursued by the hand, ending with induced suicide and the hand officiating at his funeral. Ruka is considered a protest against the conditions imposed by the Czechoslovak communist state to artistic creation, and even some have seen in it an anticipation of the so-called Prague Spring. Although the film initially had no problems with censorship (which Trnka blamed on carelessness or simple ignorance), after his death copies were confiscated and banned from public display in Czechoslovakia for two decades.
O sklenicku vic (Drop too many) dir. Bretislav Pojar 1954
A motorcyclist, happily on his way to meet his fiancee, stops at a tavern. He can’t resist having one more glass of liquor than is enough, and has an accident with disastrous consequences.
Extinct World of Gloves dir. Jiri Barta 1982
Film consists of six animated shorts sharing common motif of glove. Barta deconstructes different ways of cienematique expression – from slapstick comedy, through melodrama, totalitarian propaganda, references to work of European classics such as Luis Buñuel or Federico Fellini, finishing with the vision of Armageddon which reminds of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. This witty play with genres covers the elements of social and political critique.
Navstivte Prahu (Visit Prague) dir Pavel Koutsky 1983
An amusing story full of ideas is a parody on the tourists hunting for the highest number of towns and sights visited. A group of tourists run around Prague but all that remains in their heads is a surrealistic cultural mixture. The film is also remarkable for its so-called total animation where the spectator is participating directly in a dynamic and crazy ride around Prague.
Reci Reci Reci (Words Words Words) dir Michaela Pavlatova 1991
The words spoken are represented by comic strip-style word balloons that take on different colors, shapes and vibrations to show what is being said.
Repete dir. Michaela Pavlatova 1995
This is one of the classic animations of the 1990s with its surreal tale of the struggle between the sexes. All the strains as well as the closeness of relationships are shown, the title referring to the repetition of the tensions throughout our lives. It also reveals the role the woman plays in a marriage and the need, though often not communicated properly, of the man for this companionship and support.
Pad (The Fall) dir. Aurel Klimt 2001
Cat fucks cat on the roof and old ladies drop from their windows to the sidewalk to their death. Guy who “forks” their bodies off the sidewalk reminds me of dude in Monty Python who says, “Bring out your dead…”
ANIMATION – THE EARLY HISTORY
1839 b&w photography
1861 colored photos
1888 roll film (Eastman)
1895 film camera bros. Lumieres
1906 stop motion camera (for animation) Vitagraph T.A. Edison
Emile Reynaud – Poor Pierot (1894-1900)
500 individually painted images and lasts about 15 minutes. It is one of the first animated films ever made, and alongside Le Clown et ses chiens and Un bon bock was broadcast in October 1892 when Emile Reynaud opened his Théâtre Optique at the Musée Grévin.
Revenge of a cameraman Vladimir Starevich (Father of Puppet Animation) (1912)
This very early silent era stop-motion film was made by Władysław Starewicz in imperial Russia in 1912. He used real insects to create the story.
Bros. Fleischers: Out of the Inkwell
Betty Boop, Popeye the raver (1932)
Walt Disney: Skeleton Dance (1927) animation to music
Europe between the 1st and 2nd Wars 1918-1939 (avantgarda):
National Film Board of Canada (NFB):
Begone Dull Care (1948) dir. Norman McLaren
Mash-up of abstract paintings
Neighbours (1952) dir. Norman McLaren
Siamese guys read paper about war and peace when a flower grows just behind them (time lapse effect)
Big Stitt (1985) dir. Richard Condie
Couple playing Scrabble. Man has all Eeeeee’s.
A look at two simultaneous conflicts, the macrocosm of global nuclear war and the microcosm of a domestic quarrel, and how each conflict is resolved. Presented with warmth and unexpectedly off-the-wall humor, the film is open to a multitude of interpretations.
UPA – United Productions of Americe:
Ragtime Bear (1949) dir. John Hubley
First appearance of Mr. Magoo
Rooty Toot Toot (1951) dir. John Hubley
In no way a children’s film; it deals with strictly adult characters and situations. Gerald McBoing Boing and The Ragtime Bear had performed very well at the box office, so Columbia approved a larger budget for UPA cartoons–they would now be budgeted at nearly $35,000 each.
Studio John Halas and Bachelor
Love Me Love Me Love Me (1962) dir. Dick Williams
There are two men, Squidgy Bod, who is unkempt and uncoordinated, but whom everyone loves; and Thermus Fortitude, who does everything right, but whom dogs, horses and kids hate. The only one who loves Thermus is his stuffed alligator named Charlie.
Dream Doll (1979) dir. Bob Godfrey
Mr. Pascal (1979) dir. Alison de Vere
Pulls nailed Jesus off cross.
Girls Night Out (1986) dir. Joanna Quinn
A sexually repressed woman goes wild for a male stripper during Girl’s Night Out. “Joanna Quinn is an English animator. She was born in Birmingham. She received an Academy Award nomination for Famous Fred, nominated in 1998.
Carnival dir. Suzanne Young
Late Edition (1983) dir. John Lord (David Sproxton)
Creatures Comfort (1989) dir. Nick Park
The original short film that later became a series of commercials for Heat Electric.
Soviet & Russian Animation
Gari Bardin: Break! (1985)
Greg Wolf + Little Red Riding Hood (1991)
Ring of Fire – dir. Andreas Hykade 2000
Two young cowboys spend their days in the cool shade of a rock, but at night they make their way to the bazaar of sexual desire. Drifting further and further in, they encounter many dangerous and fascinating characters. Eventually they realize that they are completely lost. By the time they manage to leave, they find that their lives have been changed forever.
Zdenko Gasparavoich: Satiemania 1978
Satiemania portrays the jungle of the big city — the supermarket, brothels and bars, and the ripple of water in simultaneous harmony and conflict — all moving to the satirical, mocking, but always lyrical music of Erik Satie.
Pencho Bogdanov: Veselcy 1969
Stoyan Dukov: Requiem 1982