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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Thanks, Mike

Mike Sporn called me out on the last post, so here's an amended version: Nina Paley is the first person to singlehandedly produce an animated film in FLASH. She is possibly the fourth person to ever animate an entire film by herself (Neither Bill Plympton nor Lotte Reiniger did EVERYTHING on their films themselves. Reiniger's husband was her cameraman and Plympton works with renderers and probably cameramen/women.)

But while researching the Polish feature ADAM 2 that Mike mentions (which is unavailable on YouTube) I found two films that I saw in junior high school that I have (a) had nightmares about and (b) been searching for ever since. I'm serious. I haven't forgotten the first film in forty years, though I thought it was French because its title is French....RENAISSANCE by Walerian Borowczyk is a stunning allegory of war. I remember being fascinated by the stop motion animation, which has never, in my opinion, been used to greater horrific effect than it is here.

LES JEUX DE ANGES, also by Borowczyk, is an even more harrowing depiction of life--if you can call it that-- in a death camp. Stay with it. The slowness is part of the horror. I remember that I and one other Jewish student were the only ones to understand this film in the entire class. Perhaps it was better for the other students that they did not understand it. Borowczyk ended his career making porn movies and I can't say I blame him for seeking some kind of escape, any kind of life affirmation, as the antidote to these memories.

So thanks, Mike, for inadvertently getting me on the right track to find these two films. Maybe I should have just asked Jules Engel about them at Cal Arts. It never occurred to me to do so so it's taken me a bit longer to find these films than I had hoped...but they are worth the wait.


Michael Sporn said...

Back in March 2006, when Borowczyk died, I tried to get more information about him. George Griffin led me to some small pieces but not much was more illuminating than the short bio in the Times. His work had affected me deeply, too. They don't make film artists like him or Lenica anymore despite the fact that it's certainly easier to make that type animation with a computer. He was an individual.

Brett W. McCoy said...

That's so cool you tracked those films down. There was a film I had seen as a child that had haunted me for many years, an Italian film based on the Arabian Nights. I was delighted when I found a couple of years ago, and it had even been released on DVD. It's called "The Singing Princess", produced in 1948, and has some Disney-esque elements and suffers from bad overdubbing, but it's darker than most Disney stuff, and the main villain looks remarkabaly like the main villain from Aladdin, and even has the same name (Jafar). Hmmmmm....

Nancy said...

Artists make disturbing films after living through horrors. It's one way of dealing with the memories.