Entries Tagged as 'wednesday'

Weird Wednesday: Franck Dion – Inventaire Fantome

This weeks post is a little more modern than what I have been doing, but I think it’s just as suitable. French artist Franck Dion has made this wonderful animated short. I don’t understand French very well, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this.

Wierd Wednesday: Karel Zeman

Another classic Czech animator and filmmaker, Karel Zeman was a innovating animator and developed many ingenious money-saving techniques that rivaled many of the big budget Hollywood productions of his time. He is most known for his masterpiece The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. This week instead of showing another film I found a special behind the scenes documentary, The Special Effects of Karel Zeman.

Weird Wednesday: Dante’s Inferno

Dermot Mulroney and James Cromwell star in this awesome animated adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. This hand drawn puppet style animations is unique in it’s using classic methods of paper puppets, simple mechanics, strings and sticks. It’s reminiscent of renaissance Italian puppet shows with a modern twist.

DANTE’S INFERNO has been kicking around the cultural playground for over 700 years. But it has never before been interpreted with exquisitely hand-drawn paper puppets, brought to life using purely hand-made special effects. Until now. Rediscover this literary classic, retold in a kind of apocalyptic graphic novel meets Victorian-era toy theater. Dante’s Hell is brought to lurid 3-dimensional, high-definition life in a darkly comedic travelogue of the underworld — set against an all-too-familiar urban backdrop of used car lots, gated communities, strip malls, and the U.S. Capitol. And populated with a contemporary cast of reprobates, including famous — and infamous — politicians, presidents, popes, pimps. And the Prince of Darkness himself.

Unfortunately this isn’t out on DVD yet, hopefully it will be out later this year.


Weird Wednesday: Dom (House) by Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyk

This week I decided to go way back to the beginning of the Eastern European animation movement.

Jan Lenica’s checkered career has encompassed excursions into music, architecture, poster-making, costume design, children’s book illustration, and all aspects of filmmaking. It is, however, for his animation that he is best known, particularly his collage and “cutout” films, which have their roots in the art of Max Ernst and John Heartfield. The films have influenced the work of Jan Švankmajer and Terry Gilliam.

In the 1950s, his films with Walerian Borowczyk led an aesthetic revolution in Poland that sent reverberations all over the Eastern European animation scene. Before Lenica entered the scene, Polish animation consisted mainly of American-influenced character animation, over which the shadow of Walt Disney lugubriously hung, sometimes with vaguely political overtones on the fringe. Lenica and Borowczyk moved the avant-garde into the mainstream. They attempted to forge a new experimental cinema that would coalesce contemporary artistic practices such as abstraction, collage, and satirical surrealism without jettisoning commitment to the Marxist concepts of artistic integration of form and content and art for the masses. Often their films deal with alienation in a modern world, and the challenge of the detritus of history, figured in their use of old newspaper and postcards and the ironic confrontation with the “Great Masters” of painting which consume the protagonist of Once upon a Time . . . . In The House, a wide range of techniques illustrate a strange mechanical rite. The rough simplicity of their materials in these films conveys simultaneously the menace of an absurd disordered universe, and an affecting artlessness of execution.

It’s interesting how alienation can be so universal that even under strict Leninist governments it is a common theme, and not so much a political statement that needs condemning. I love this early stuff. By today’s standards it can seem quite primitive, rarely do I see artists taking such chances in their work these days. At the time this was groundbreaking.