Suzan Pitt – Visitation (2013)

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Quote:
The animated film VISITATION unwinds through a dark landscape of unending life and death; steeped in the alchemical and inner dream life the film explores a black and white landscape of gothic figures who enact evolving metaphysical dramas. Surrealistic and strange, cast in grainy 16mm images, the film allows an imaginary glimpse within “an outer-world night…” The visions in the film are summoned from the film maker’s imagining of a mythical eternity which is beautiful but fraught with pain, exposed by the ether voices and figures which inhabit the eternal ballet beneath our consciousness. VISITATION imagines scenes from the alchemical experiments which were calculated to disclose and finally manipulate existential nature. Metals, air, fire and water were essential elements in Alchemy, and their psychological counterparts are likewise interpreted within the film as essential elements of death, cruelty, rebirth, and eternal evolution. The film was inspired by hearing wolves crying and simultaneously reading H.P. Lovecraft, a combination which led the filmmaker’s imagination into the world she then created. Using painted cut-outs and early cinema techniques (multiple passes, mattes, multi-plane levels, in-camera superimpositions, shutter manipulation, etc.) the film was shot with a 16mm Bolex camera in black and white which gives it a grainy handmade look. The abstract passages were created by placing objects directly onto raw film and exposing the film with a flashlight. Thus the film’s process mirrors the alchemical nature of chemical and material experimentation. Continue reading

Segundo de Chomón & Giovanni Pastrone – La guerra ed il sogno di Momi (1917)

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Little Momi’s father has left to be a soldier and his letters are eagerly anticipated by his family at home. In one of them he recounts the adventure of little highlander Berto, who saved his mother from an attack by the Austrians by running to warn the Italian troops. Momi is impressed by the tale and falls asleep on the sofa, hugging his favourite toys, agile Trick and violent Track; as soon as the child is sleeping Trick, Track and their troops unleash a battle with a vengeance, featuring heavy artillery, chemical weapons and air attacks. Finally, in the vehemence of their clash, Momi is involved as well and prodded with bayonets. Nevertheless… it is only a rose thorn and the battle was only a dream. Momi confidently keeps looking forward to the return of his father from the front, together with his mother and grandfather. This masterpiece by the wizard of “special effects” Segundo de Chomón is a war story, divided into a first live-action part and a second animated one in stop-motion, with a skill that still leaves one gaping even today. Visual inventions and sophisticated technical solutions follow each other: from the bellows sucking in the fumes of the chemical attack to the soda bottle used to extinguish fires in the city of Lilliput after the air incursion. Continue reading

Jim Henson & Frank Oz & Gary Kurtz – The Dark Crystal (1982)

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Jim Henson ventures into Tolkien territory in his all-Muppet fantasy feature The Dark Crystal. The titular Crystal maintains equilibrium in a mythical kingdom. When the Crystal is broken, the evil Skeksis take over, killing off the good-guy Gelflings and enslaving everyone else. Two of the Gelflings have survived: Jen was raised by the all-knowing Mystics, while Kira grew up amongst the swamp-dwelling Podlings. Jen and Kira join forces to “heal” the precious Dark Crystal and restore order to their world. Adults may find the whole affair a little precious, while children may be disturbed by the film’s mortality rate. Continue reading

Chris Sullivan – Consuming Spirits (2012)

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SYNOPSIS
Consuming Spirits is an Animated Feature Film produced totally independently . with a small crew. Written Directed and Primarily animated by Chris Sullivan, This Film is made in the spirits of independent filmakers like, John Cassavetes; Dennis Potter; Jane Campion; Masaaki Yuasa; Studio 4°C; Alexei German Sr. and Jr.; narratively complex, from the heart, and intentionally emotional. The Film is about three characters who live in a rustbelt town called Magguson,. All three work at its local newspaper The Daily Suggested . At first they appear to be acquaintances. But as the film unfolds, we find they have a long diabolical history, revolving around social service intervention, and foster care, romance and hatred. Each character has family secrets to hide, and family secrets to discover, skeletons in the closet, in the museum, and in the earth. This Film was Supported by the John Simon Guggenheim, and Rockfeller Media arts fellowships. Continue reading