Eiichi Yamamoto – Kanashimi no Beradonna AKA Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

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Belladonna of Sadness was the third and final animated feature film produced by Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Pro studio. The studio went bankrupt two months after the film came out. The film is loosely based on French historian Jules Michelet’s La Sorcière about witchcraft and Joan of Arc. Jeanne and Jean have just been married, but Jean can’t afford to pay the marriage tax demanded by the king. As a result, Jeanne is raped by the king. To save her husband and marriage, Jeanne sells her body and soul to the devil. In return she obtains the power to save the villagers from the black death, whip them up into an orgy, and turn them against the king while he is away at war. Continue reading

Lukas Schrank – Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island (2015)

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Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island is an animated short film, which tells the stories of two men, currently detained in Australia’s notorious Manus Island Offshore Processing Centre. In October 2014, director Lukas Schrank made phone contact with the men who were able to tell their stories from within the compound. Their interviews offer a chilling insight into the reality of life for the 2000 people currently being held in Australia’s offshore detention centres Their stories are the voice of the film, guiding the animation through the backstreets of Jakarta, across the sea and deep into the fenced facility of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre Continue reading

Valentina Brumberg & Zinaida Brumberg – Noch pered Rozhdestvom AKA The Night Before Christmas (1951)

From Wikipedia:

The Night Before Christmas (Russian: Ночь пе́ред Рождество́м, Noch pered Rozhdestvom) is a 1951 Soviet traditionally-animated feature film directed by the Brumberg sisters and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow. The film is based on Nikolai Gogol’s story The Night Before Christmas.

The animation features heavy use of rotoscoping, known as “Éclair” in the Soviet Union, and is an example of the Socialist-Realist period in Russian animation. Continue reading

Marcell Jankovics – Az ember tragédiája AKA The Tragedy of Man (2011)

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Based on the 1861 masterpiece by Hungarian playwright and poet Imre Madách, Az ember tragédiája (The Tragedy of Man) is a powerful drama in 15 acts that guide us through the past and the future of mankind. The narrative begins with the creation of the world, the first and the last acts frame the story that show us Adam and Eve travelling through space and time in search of the meaning of life – with the guidance of Lucifer himself. The first human couple travels from the Paradise through prehistoric times, the ancient Egypt, Hellas, Rome, the medieval Byzantine Empire, Kepler’s Prague, the French Revolution to the London of the 19th century, then Jankovics rushes us through the last 150 years of Europe and we get an insight to the future. The film is a highly dramatised version of the play: while it keeps the philosophical profoundness of Madách’s book it also visually highlights and makes Lucifer’s fight for the soul of the first man more compelling than ever. Continue reading

Alexander Alexeïeff & Claire Parker – The Pinscreen Animations (Various)

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ALEXANDRE ALEXEÏEFF DVD
Animation works

DVD PAL, 30 films
English French booklet 20 pages
Total running time 137 min. Price 30 Euros.
Languages : English – French
Complements : Picture gallery, photos, portraits, engraving, tools.

This dvd contains 30 films, (27 by Alexeïeff), gathering for the first time the nearly complete cinematographic works, of this exceptional inventor and artist who brought Animated film to the highest levels of artistic demand in the 30’s. On the pinboard, this extraordinary imaging device, built with Claire Parker, five films have been made, all of which being on the dvd, including the mythical “Night on Bald Mountain” (1933) on Mussorgsky’s music, “The Nose” based on Gogol’s short story, “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Three moods”. One will also be able to see 20 animated objects advertising films made from the 30’s to the 60’s for the most famous brands, as well as unreleased Totalised Animation tests, and the Norman McLaren documentary “The Pinboard”, in which Alexeïeff and Parker reveal its working principles. As a complement a picture gallery of portraits, sketches, engravings, recreates the atmosphere of this unique artistic epic. Continue reading

Oskar Fischinger – Twelve Short Films by Oskar Fischinger (1924 – 1942)

Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) embodied the modernist ideal of the maladaptive artist so well that a balanced evaluation of his work as filmmaker and painter depends on one’s ability to withhold automatic beatification based solely on his biography. Born and educated in Germany, exiled to Los Angeles when Hitler came to power and abstraction was decreed a “degenerate art,” Fischinger was an uncompromising abstractionist who throughout his life retained a dogged faith in the transcendental potential of pure geometry and color. Persecuted in Germany and condemned to grinding poverty after he settled in L.A., Fischinger’s devotion to the integrity of his art was exemplary. Continue reading