Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ottawa Part Pas de Deux de Deux

The other masterclass that the NFB so graciously sponsored was film maker Paul Bush. This was a relaxed friday morning coffee in hand chat with Paul as he discussed his background,technique and philosophy about animation. The best thing that I like about Paul as an animator is his continual fearlessness of techniques to get across his ideas. Scratch film, pixellation, time-lapsed and film collage are the various tools he employs to challenge and further push animation as an art form. Paul's film were shown and then he would talk about the ideas, techniques and if we were lucky funny asides about the film. His Comedy was his first film and he used the scratch film technique etching away the dark negative on the film of Gustave Dore's engravings. You can see the same technique used in his bigger budget film, The Albatross.
In his talk he compared animation to just being a 3 hand card trick fooling the eye and that all one has to do is set up the idea and the viewer fills in the gaps. You can see this in his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where two people play the lead role as he continually changes between actors. The changes happen quick or slow according to mood, tempo and drama. We, as the viewer are fully aware of the film trick but get captivated by it at the same time. Keep the idea simple he stressed, as long as there is something happening for the viewer that is important.
My favorite film that was shown in the retrospective of his work was Bugsby Berkeley's tribute to Mae West. It is a four panelled split screen of the male penis from arousal to not using time-lapsed photography. It is hilarious and uncomfortable at the same time. Paul Bush's films are where boundaries are pushed and life lessons are dealt in this 3 hand card trick that we are happily fooled by ever time.

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