Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: September 2005, 26

Monday, September 26, 2005

11:26:18 pm , 433 words, 851 views     Categories: Animation, Studio

Animation 80

Hisashi Mori from Samurai Seven #7Browsing through the VIFF schedule today I smugly noted the improbability of there being a Brian Ferneyhough companion piece to the Arvo Pärt documentary on the schedule. (You know... new simplicity versus new complexity...) But it seems I was hasty, as there's something just as good - a doc on Elliot Carter, who, astonishingly, at 95, is still alive and composing. Having seen both WWI and 9/11, he comes across as the embodiment of the American Century in New Music, and I very much look forward to seeing this film.

Last year the festival introduced me to the Korean independent animator Lee Sung-Gang, and this year they're spot on in saying that the last thing in the world I would have been expecting as a next project from him would have been the live-action supernatural erotic thriller being featured at this year's festival. I didn't think I could admire the man more than I did before, but it just happened. (Though I do look forward to his next piece of animation.) Though a far cry from his debut animated feature, the new film actually sounds close in spirit to his early independent animated films. It's refreshing to find an animation figure like this who can effortlessly shift between such extreme poles from one project to the next, much the way Walerian Borowczyk did. I'm reminded of the motto for the Animation 80 "circle" in Japan: Animation isn't a genre of movies - Movies are a genre of animation.

Animation 80 was one of the biggest of the many animation "circles" that appeared on the scene in the 80s. These were groups dedicated to promoting the creation of amateur animation, with the main activity being the screening of animated shorts from around the world and shorts made by members. Animation 80 is still active and holds a screening each year in November. They're currently looking for submissions, and accept submissions from overseas. They also hold a 1-minute animation festival. You can see some of the films from previous editions online (in low quality) on their home page.

I've been under the distinct impression that Hisashi Mori has been doing uncredited work in Speed Grapher lately. Today I had a look over his other work trying to get a grasp of his line to see if I could find conclusive, telltale proof in this hook or that angle (didn't work), when it suddenly occurred to me that his characters looked very Pärn-ish, and that that was probably a subconscious reason why I liked his work so much, besides the obvious main pull of the incredible and unique movement.