Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Little Bloody Spots and Little Bits of Happiness

I'll hold back on editorial comments, and just offer straight reportage.

SVA (where they obviously teach their students to ask about money) hosted Yuri Norstein at their newly renovated theater on 23rd Street last night.  A full crowd came out to see the screen where I saw "Spiderman 2" many years ago.  I think we were working on "Between the Lions" at the time.

He explained a bit about his process, showing two of his three classic films: "Heron and Crane" and "The Hedgehog in the Fog".

"The Hedgehog in the Fog" confirms my position that the greatest animated films are fully composed (musically) before the animation begins.

He creates a script and storyboard (sometimes the board gets ahead of the script).  The board is worked out by seconds and he works to this time.

The film is shot on a multiplane downshooter with an oversized table.  The table size allows for a whole scene to be film with the camera moving into different fields, much like a set.

He does a dry run with his cameraman, testing light effects.  This takes about 1/3 the shooting schedule.

He then shoots the film by himself, operating the camera as well as animating.

The characters are made of cutouts, unhinged, of dozens of tiny pieces of art.

"Film is space, but not in a physical way.  Space in a more Eastern sense.  Space that moves behind the horizon further and further."

Rhythm of the work comes from the space.  In his films characters don't feel force or violence from the space.

The Hedgehog doesn't have much expression to his face.  The emotion comes from his relation to the space.

Black and white holds a strength that is fantastic compared to color.

Sound is half of the film if not more.

"There's a short line from the heart to the hand. The hand captures your feeling and you can not put that in a computer."

"The whole sense is not the material.  It has nothing to do with materials, but the character."

[sic contradiction]

On the character design for a lovely short film based on a Japanese poem.

"I often watch TV not to watch those idiot politicians, but to watch what I find visually interesting"

Sketched a conductor from TV.

"It's a lot easier to work on a physical level than on a sublime level."

Made his mouth a little crooked.

"Look at the details I took away."

"Please take a picture because I'm afraid that it'll all just blow away."

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