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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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

11:55:09 pm , 555 words, 1021 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Movie

The Planet

Of all the animation scenes from around the world, the Argentinian is hardly the one with which I can claim to be the most familiar. But the 2001 film The Planet (dir. Pablo Rodriguez Jauregui) makes me wish that were not so. The 51-minute film is a collection of shorts by various Argentinian animators and visual artists of widely varying stylistic proclivities, from character-based animation to action painting, set to the music of guitarist Fernando Kabusacki. The film was released on DVD in Japan not long ago. This probably hints more strongly at an interaction between the music scenes in Argentina and Japan, where in the past Kabusacki has collaborated with Seiichi Yamamoto, among others, but Juan Antin's 2002 feature Mercano the Martian has made the rounds there as well -- it's currently on the programming at the recently mentioned Uplink Factory (which released the The Planet DVD) -- so it's not a totally isolated phenomenon. It's a strange way the world turns, to undergo my Argentinian animation baptism via Japan.

The film feels like it was made for me. It's just the sort of thing I wish people did more often, getting together to create animated jam sessions like this. Seeing it, the first thing I thought was: I wish the NFB would get together their animators and make a film like this. It's the Argentinian answer to Winter Days, before Winter Days. Though of course there are differences. In this case the music is much more compelling, and the extremely high quality of the music really does a lot to increase the impact of the film. It's a perfect marriage of images and sound. The various artists in question reportedly based their animation on or were simply inspired by the same-titled CD by the musician - in the beginning was the chord. The animation is lo-fi in the best sense of the term. This is animation that is all about the personal touch, and it all feels warm and real. Some are narrative, some timed closely to the rhythm of the music, some mirror the sounds with abstract images dancing across the screen. One was a short loop animation by a small boy. The way it was photographed, with the camera focusing on one piece of the image to the next, magifying the jittering lines in a way that got us to almost look beyond the external shapes and look at the lines anew, really highlighted the basic joy of animation, and the music with which it was coupled gave the section real impact. Like Winter Days the variety of the images is its main asset. This film is music-video-like and unencumbered by words -- the images all speak for themselves -- and the fifty minutes pass by all too quickly.

This film is a chocolate box to fans of animation, and it's great that it got to see the light of day outside of its country of origin, although unfortunate that it took this long and hasn't recieved much attention anywhere else to my knowledge. The country understandably has other more pressing issues to deal with. There ought to be more projects like this in different countries, because the format offers a compact way of seeing the work of a variety of artists from different walks who would otherwise remain nearly impossible to discover.

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6 comments

Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

sounds AWESOME. can i buy this online?

04/13/05 @ 08:34
Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

Done. Ordered online at cdjapan already!

04/13/05 @ 08:40
Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

And sorry to triple post, but I was thinking this sounds a little like Studio 4C’s Digital Juice, which is floating around on fansub. Have you seen it? It’s just a little jam-session of shorts experimenting with VERY strange techniques. Of course, now we’ve all got to sit tight for Genius Party…

04/13/05 @ 08:43
Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

QUADRUPLE POST!

Maybe this is old news. We all knew the mention of Joel Silver bringing Mindgame stateside, but I just noticed that on the regular JP mindgame DVD, it says in big letters (top of the back):

“MATRIX NO JOEL SIVER GA HOLLYWOOD REMAKE KETTEI!!!”

It can’t be a TOTAL remake, can it? I’m guessing this just means the live action bits will be switched as expected…

04/13/05 @ 08:49
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

Cool, let me know what you think of it. I’ve seen Digital Juice, and indeed it was pleasant but strange. From my overseas perspective I’m hoping they just release Genius Party direct to video, but for them it’s probably best if they do the theaters first. I’m just wondering if any more people will show up than did for Mind Game if they do.

As for Mind Game, your guess is as good as mine as to how to interpret that phrase. So far I’ve been hoping it just means replacing the faces, because that seems the only reasonable interpretation. They can’t possibly really mean “Hollywood Remake", ie redoing the whole film from scratch. But then I never could figure out how they expected this film to be a hit over here, so that would certainly answer that question.

04/13/05 @ 09:58
Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

uh oh… just saw The Planet. dissapointing to be honest, uneven at best. i felt like too much of it was just… unskilled, witless, visually unmusical. i felt like a was watching a second rate college animation project thesis or something. there a few moments that were nicely lyrical (the sketchy part with the chicken, the sexual skit) but overall it felt less like an experiment and more like a practice session for artists with little innate talent (don’t get me started on the paint sections. i like pollock, but this was so hollow). don’t get me wrong, i like the low-fi don herzfeld vibe, but this was… i digress. what the hell was that little blurry video section that kept cutting on the same beat like it was some kind of revolutionary idea? oh well, keep at it i guess… sigh.

04/28/05 @ 19:56