Saturday, October 13, 2007

Naoyuki Tsuji DVD

Here is a nice after-image to the last post, Naoyuki Tsuji!! It is very hard to find information on the independent animation scene from Japan so I was very surprised to find this DVD collection of Tsuji's work!!! This is from Facets Multi-media, which is a non-profit distribution house out of Chicago that focuses on art house, foreign and hard-to-find cinema. Here is a small clip of Tsuji's film Trilogy about Clouds. Naoyuki works on a single sheet of paper with charcoal in hand as he works in an almost stream-of-conscious process. He lets the images emerge and transform out of the ghosted thoughts of childhood and memory in an almost delicate meditation of subject and medium. Erasing, blurring and drawing on top of as the last image becomes the new memory of the memory. Animation is very much like how the brain and memory function but it is interesting to add on the creative process of re-enacting that in a contemplative and intuitive way of working.

Naoyuki Tsuji has become synonymous with independent animation as the discussions about the art form are now starting to take hold. He gave a talk at the MOMA earlier this year and was apart of a brilliant exhibit this year at Parasol Gallery in London called Momentary Momentum. From the likes of William Kentridge, Kara Walker, Michael Dudok de Wit, Paul Bush and David Shrigley this exhibit establishes the role of animation in Contemporary art and the impacts on both (I noticed you can buy the catalog and dvd of this in N.A. from the New Museum). Here is a review and an excerpt of Tsuji's new film Children of the Shadows from the Dazed Digital site! Also, Naoyuki will be in a group show at the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island from November 18th to the end of January. Finally, there will be a program of Tsuji's films at this year's Aurora festival (November 7-10th). You can now view the full schedule and programs for this coming-soon festival! That should get you caught up on everything that is Naoyuki Tsuji...enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't be BLU!!

Here is a fantastic animation that picked me up out of my doldrums! I don't know much about the Italian artist named BLU but here is his website. All I can tell you is that this film was done for the Fantoche animation festival that was just held last month in Switzerland. It reminds me very much of Naoyuki Tsuji's work in both look (as in seeing the ghosting of the previous images) and surreal subject matter but on a huge scale.

I need my bedroom painted...I wonder if he does house calls?!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sleeping Betty

I know, I know...what the! But, here I am finally awoken from my 'Sleeping Betty' sort of slumber. Alas, no Prince Charming came to my rescue but at least it was a horse's swift kick that has jolted this bunny back up and staring with a stiff upper lip at Claude Cloutier's new short film. Sleeping Betty (Isabelle au bois dormant) not only took the Best Canadian film category at this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival but it also took the Public Award! In fact, after the showing of the film they introduce the film maker and I think Claude was caught like a moose in the headlights of the audiences thunderous applause.

Here is the synopsis of the film:
In a sumptuous palace in the basement of a house in a Montreal working-class neighbourhood, Princess Betty sleeps in a narcoleptic stupor. The king is at her bedside. He appeals to Uncle Henri VIII, Aunt Victoria, an emotional alien, a cool witch and, why not, a handsome prince! This worthy Prince Charles lookalike has to leave his royal suburb, confront a Canadian dragon and brave a surreal set of road rules in order to save the princess. But will Betty be wakened with just a kiss? (watch teaser)

Sleeping Betty is an anachronistic romp and rout through a richly illustrated style that could have easily come out of the pages of Punch magazine or the satirical caricature papers of the late 19th century. Mix that with Avery-style slap stick gags and let steep with the absurd predicaments that enfold in order to wake the too much Nyquil hibernation that Betty is in. Stir in a couple of lumps of Canadiana and now you've got the perfect brew to serve up in that cracked Queen Victoria patterned china cup. I would say though, that it is the ginger-snappy timing that carries this wordless film and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. In the end it will make you want to plant your own sloppy kiss on Betty in order to end the tea party insanity!!

Bonus: watch Claude's film Overdose here!