Thursday, 24 December 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Jan Švankmajer is a Czech surrealist artist. His work spans several media. He is known for his surreal animations and features, which have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay, Shane Acker, and many others.
Švankmajer's trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses fast-motion sequences when people walk or interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Many of his films also include clay objects in stop-motion, otherwise known as claymation. Food is a favourite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though recently his feature films have been including much more live action sequences rather than animation.
Many of his movies, like the short film Down to the Cellar, are made from a child's perspective, while at the same time often having a truly disturbing and even aggressive nature. In 1972 the communist authorities banned him from making films, and many of his later films were suppressed. He was almost unknown in the West until the early 1980s.

Monday, 14 December 2009

NEIGHBOURS- Norman McLaren

This film uses the technique known as pixilation, an animation technique using live actors as stop-motion objects. McLaren created the soundtrack of the film by scratching the edge of the film, creating various blobs, lines, and triangles which the projector read as sound. "I was inspired to make Neighbours by a stay of almost a year in the People's Republic of China. Although I only saw the beginnings of Mao's revolution, my faith in human nature was reinvigorated by it. Then I came back to Quebec and the Korean War began. (...) I decided to make a really strong film about anti-militarism and against war." — Norman McLaren

Saturday, 12 December 2009

YOUR FACE- Bill Plympton

This is the film that set the style and started the career of Bill Plympton. One of the most profitable short films ever made, it's still showing all over the world. As a second-rate crooner sings about the beauties of his lover's face, his own face metamorphosizes into the most surreal shapes and contortions possible. The music was written and sung by Maureen McElheron, then slowed down to sound like a man's voice because Mr. Plympton was too cheap to hire a male singer. 1988 Academy Award nominee for Best Animation.

your face

scandinavia | MySpace Video

Friday, 11 December 2009

TANGO- Zbigniew Rybczyński

"Thirty-six characters from different stages of life - representations of different times - interact in one room, moving in loops, observed by a static camera. I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. The miracle is that the negative got through the process with only minor damage, and I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities. In the final result, there are plenty of flaws ® black lines are visible around humans, jitters caused by the instability of film material resulting from film perforation and elasticity of celluloid, changes of colour caused by the fluctuation in colour temperature of the projector bulb and, inevitably, dirt, grain and scratches.”

- Zbig Rybczynski –Looking to the Future - Imagining the Truth,” in FranÐois Penz, Maureen Thomas, Cinema& Architecture. Mþliús, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia, BFI, London, 1997

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Broken Down Film, 1985. A 6 minute animation film which parodied old cartoons, and the techniques used by animators to fake a 'film break', by having a Wild West cartoon, supposedly made in 1885, continually have faults with the tracking and the film running too fast, as well as the occasional break in the film, rendering it impossible sometimes for characters to do anything.

Dr. Osamu Tezuka is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He is often credited as the "Godfather of Anime", and is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his formative years. His prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga", "the god of manga" and "kamisama of manga". His grave is located in Tokyo's Souzen-ji Temple Cemetery.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

VINCENT- Tim Burton

 In 1982, Burton made his first short, Vincent, a 5:52 black and white stop motion film based around a poem written by Burton, and depicting a young boy who fantasizes that he is his (and Burton's) screen idol Vincent Price, with Price himself providing narration. The film was produced by Burton's girlfriend at the time, who was an executive at Disney.