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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Friday, August 20, 2004

11:08:43 am , 388 words, 1561 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Live-action, Director

Walerian Borowczyk

Correction to an old post: Maromi coming alive was done by Masahiko Kubo (久保正彦), the person who did the much talked-about car chase in Mind Game. Another new talented animator on the scene. (Millennium Actress, X, Puchi Puri Yuushi 1, 7, 11, etc.)

Just to contradict myself, I'll go out of my way to say I'm a big fan of anime directors who consider themselves filmmakers first and foremost, who just happen to be making anime at the moment, who consider the animation subordinate, and therefore are as far as possible as you can be from the idea that anime is just about the animation. If the work is good, then I agree 100%. It goes without saying that I fully realize it's not enough to have great animation for 90 minutes if the other elements aren't there to make the experience work as a film. That said, good animation is good animation, even if it's in a bad film. There can be many approaches. If I focus on animation here, it's because nobody else does. I'm not a fan of beating dead horses.

You know what I'd like to see more than anything? A DVD of Walerian Borowczyk's animation (see also). He supposedly influenced Svankmayer and the Brothers Quay, so isn't that enough to suggest it might merit a release? A lot of it is pretty racy, which I suppose may be holding things back. Three of his shorts were released on a Japanese DVD of Goto, l'île d'amour (1968) that came out a year ago, and two of the three are indeed quite risqé, to put it mildly. It would still be worth it to be able to see his early pioneering works like Renaissance (1963) and Théâtre de M. et Mme. Kabal (1967), which lead directly up to his two great masterpieces, Goto and Blanche (1971), live-action films shot through the penetrating gaze of an animator's eye. While we're at it, it's unpardonable that Blanche is not out on DVD anywhere in the world. It's surely one of the best European films of the decade. Whatever you think about his later films (which can be pretty disturbing, though sometimes in a good way), his first two films are masterpieces. I'd personally take Borowczyk over Tarkovsky or Godard any day. Even including his later works, Boro is one of the treasures of the cinema.


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