Saturday, July 17, 2010

Annecy 1975

Here's a pretty detailed recap of Annecy 1975.  The article calls it "10th International Cartoon Film Festival".  I don't know how that math works for a biennial festival that began in 1960.  Must be an ASIFA thing.


It's written by Nino Weinstock for Graphis.

No spectacular innovations, some little masterpieces in every technique, numerous new names, few famous ones -that sums up briefly the tenth meeting of the cartoon film people in Annecy.  The programme accompanying the festival proper, the provision of information and the opportunity for personal contacts seem to be gaining importance.  The influence of the festival is making itself felt, for two of the best films were actually made in Annecy: "Illusions" by Nicole Dufour and "Night Bird" by Bernard Palacios.  Both tell a poetic story with the simplest of means, using cut-out figures on large painted backgrounds.  The rest of the French contribution was also convincing.  "The Actor", "The Footprint", "Landscape" and "One" are included in our illustrations.  Robert Lapoujade was represented by "A Comedian without Paradox", in which subtly operated puppets from Diderot's "Paradoxe du Comedien" say their pieces, and Peter Foldes, together with Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, by an excerpt from "Daphnis and Chloe" in which Foldes' much-admired drawings move and change against a colored background.

France also claimed the Grand Prix with "The Step" by Piotr Kamler.  The was recognition for an oeuvre devoted to research and experiment  and including many films which have not been fully understood.


Two types of productions stand out at Annecy: poetic films that use technical expedients to tell their story, and films in which the story is used to display technical skill.  Will Vinton's first film "Closed Mondays", proves that the two can also be rolled into one.  A first production that has won several awards, a couple of successful films made in an Annecy living room: the animated film would seem to offer a chance to everybody.  It is to be hoped, at any rate, that in future many artists will be attracted to this interesting medium.  Editor.

1-3.  Lenica's films are always a delight for the graphically trained eye.  He presents his mysterious stories with the simplest of means.  This time, in "Landscape", he deals with the monsters begotten by the sleep of reason, of which Goya spoke.

4. "A Poet's Life".  A piece of filmed literature from Japan, telling of the development of a poet who is also the hope of an oppressed working class.

5-6. "Smile 1 and 2", a two-part Swiss film mad with coloured sand.  In the first part peace is the issue, in the second part Oedipus decides to put an end to his complex.

7-10.  "The Footprint" is a bitter little story by the artist Cardon who has worked for "France Soir", "Humanite", "Charlie Hebdo" and "Politique Hebdo".  A strange prosthesis, the purpose of which is unclear, is strapped round the heads and chest of the children after birth.  Only when it is removed is the mystery solved: it provides space for the footprint of the child's lord and master.  The impact of this film is heightened by the forceful style of the drawing.

11-13.  In "The Actor" (Jean-Francois Laguionie. Production: Les Studios du Languedoc, Clapiers) a young actor, standing in front of the mirror, changes into an old man, but resumes his youthful appearance after the performance.  But what is he, what was he?  The mirror has a reality of its own.

14-21. "Night Bird".  (Bernard Palacios. Production: Pink Splash Prod., Maison-Alfort)  A civil servant drives home from the office every evening.  Almost by chance he discovers a woman with wings and a bird's head by the roadside one evening and drives her to a mysterious door.  A glimpse of paradise is allowed to him, the he goes back to his daily round.

The jury considered the best complete programme to be that from the United States. Apart from the films illustrated here -"This is not a Museum", "The Cloudmaker", "WOW" and "Closed Mondays" -Gene Deitch showed his film version of Tomi Ungerer's "The Beast of Monsieur Racine" and Bob Kurtz an advertising TV spot for Levi's jeans in the style of the great painter of the West, Frederick Remington.

From Britain came "Bigger is Better", "Butterfly Ball" and "Amateurs Night".  "Cafe Bar" is by Alison de Vere, who once drew for Halas and Batchelor and supervised the settings for "The Yellow Submarine".  Her film has all the ingredients of the successful animated film: an imaginative story, surprising developments and ideas, colours, forms and gags.  The action take place on a lady's hat in a cafe.  "The Miracles of Flight" by Terry Gilliam is a plastic picture book.  It is all about the invention of a flying machine, but as the successful flight never comes off in the film, it has to be limited to the ceremonies taking place in the airport.

There were not many highlights from the Eastern Bloc, which used to hold centre stage a few years ago.  The old master Jiri Brdecka had a new opus to show: "The  Miner's Rose." His films are always among the best, as are those of Ion Popesco-Gopo, who this time presented "Intermezzo for an Eternal Love", a charming piece in which the earth adorns itself with man's productions.  There is admittedly a painful middle passage in which the decorations consists of ruins, fumes and smoking chimneys, but there are finally replaced by flowers, vines and butterflies.  "In the Grass" by the Pole Jerzy Kalina is made up  of movement, cut-out figures and materials. Fabulous creatures of the technical age, half birds, half aeroplanes,  demonstrate the struggle for survival in nature.  Branko Ranitovic wih his "Chameleon" reminds us of the great days of the animated film from Zagreb.  In a ten-minute speech before the UN he unmasks the inconstancy of the political demagogue.  Hungary contributed "Ca ira -Battle Song of the French Revolution" by Gyorgy Kovasznai.  The principal figures of the French Revolution are conjured up in bold brush-strokes to the stirring notes of the song.

Among other productions that caught the attention were an appealing film painted in lustrous colours by Caroline Leaf, "The Marriage of the Owl"; "Smile 1 and 2", done in coloured sand by the Swiss Ernest and Gisele Ansorge; the study "Perspectives" by their countryman Georges Schwizgebel; and Borislav Saktinac's amusing tale of the cat that conjures with mice, "We Are a Crowd."

The members of the jury were Mustapha Alassane, Nigeria; the Russian critic Sergei Assenin; Miroslaw Kijowicz of Poland; the grand old man of animated film, Len Lye; Kati Macskassy, daughter of the Hungarian film pioneer; Farshid Mesghali of Tehran; Jimmy Murakami; the acoustic specialist Pierre Schaeffer; Zdenek Smetana of Prague and the Italian critic Piero Zanotto.


22-27. This is Not a Museum (John E. Haugse.  John E. Haugse, Santa Barbara). A man makes the acquaintance  of modern art in an unconventional museum.  The film is beautifully painted, in some cases directly on the film strip.  The sculpture in fig. 25 is borrowed from Magritte.

28-30. The Cloudmaker (Peter van Deusen.  Churchill Films, Los Angeles).  An allegory about our endeavors to live with technology.  A small figure, obsessed with the idea of making clouds, labours in vain with huge technical constructions.  Resigning at last, he goes on to manufacture -as a substitute -flying nuts and bolts.  The film, for all its charm, is much too long at over 16 minutes.  It almost seems as though a 15 minute limit would offer all-round advantages, for the phenomenon of the overly long film presented itself in almost every programme.

31-39.  Wow, Women of the World (Faith Hubley; Hubley Studio, New York). Made in honor of International Woman's Year, this film depicts the development of the relations between man and woman and attempts to open up a way to new understand between the sexes.

40-42. Da Da Da (Peter Hudecki: Sheridan College, Ontario).  A 95-second film, the first by this artist.

43-45. The Wild Man (Giuseppe Lagana: Corona Cinematografica, Roma).  writer of children's books makes skillful use of stylistic elements borrowed from Art Deco.  A bogey man steals a child and gets himself into no end of difficulties as a result.  The 11 minute film was made with movable, cut-out figures.

46-52. Amateurs Night (Thalma Goldman: Thalma Goldman, London).  Thalma Goldman, a young Israeli, studied animation in London for two years and now presents her third film.  On an "amateurs night", a number of amateurs do a strip-tease on the stage.  The film shows not only the performers themselves, but also the reactions of an enthusiastic audience that is really "with it."

53-54.  Butterfly Ball (Lee Mishkin: Halas & Batchelor, London).  In this children's film the frog invites all the animals in the wood to a big ball.  Lee Mishkin, veteran of "Popeye", "Magoo" and the "Pink Panther", deploys all his tricks in this bright mixture of Tiffany glass and Hollywood.

56-58. Bigger is Better (Derek Phillips: Derek Phillips, Hounslow).  Cut-out shapes and moving drawings are here used to depict the transition from the individual to mass society and the consequences it entails.

55. One (Paul & Gaetan Brizzi: Paul & Gaetan Brizzi, Paris).  This first film by two graduates of the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris was made possible by a grant of the Service des Arts Graphiques of the ORTF.  It tells the story of a last survivor of a civilization and the nightmarish creature that pursues him.

59.  The Miner's Rose (Jiri Brdecka: Kratky Film, Prague).  Twenty-five years on, still one of the best: Jiri Brdecka.  His 8-minute film is a miner who doesn't go back to his fiancee after the night shift.

60-61.  Closed Mondays (Will Vinton: Will Vinton & Bob Gardiner Prod, Washington).  Expressive plasticine figures are modified from frame to frame.  The hero happens to find his way into a museum on a Monday, which is closing day, and discovers that works or art live lives of their own.  Is it really only a step from the dream to reality?

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