Commentary
2004 Year in Review
© Amoniak Films
Emru Townsend | The two most interesting animated films I saw this year were OÏO and Imprints, both out of fps's home town of Montreal. What made them interesting was their directors' desire to manipulate existing techniques in new and refreshing ways.

Eleven years in the making and nine minutes in length, OÏO—the film that inspired this year's Year in Review question—is described as a "cinepainting" by director Simon Goulet. It uses the same premise as Jackson Pollock's "action painting": controlled use of chaotic elements. In OÏO, paint was flung through the air with a catapult and recorded on high-speed film, at anywhere from 120 to 360 fps. Those sequences were then composited together and set to music by Cirque du Soleil composer René Dupéré. The mesmerizing end result is like nothing you've ever seen.

Jacques Drouin's Imprints uses pinscreen animation, a technique that usually looks like animated charcoal or engravings. But not only does Drouin use colours (most pinscreen films are monochrome), he does the unthinkable—he makes us aware of the medium. In coordination with a harpsichord composition, Drouin pulls the camera in close enough for us to see the pins, illuminates from above, below, and the side, and rotates the entire pinscreen apparatus.

It's shocking because it violates the very premise of pinscreen animation, which is usually shot and lit in such a way that you see the result of the manipulations without seeing the manipulated objects themselves. But it's by breaking through this barrier, that Drouin paradoxically proclaims his love for the pinscreen. What the audience gets is a powerful, startling aesthetic and the sensation of seeing a medium's redefinition.
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