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Albert Camus’ ‘The Fall’: An animation by Mike McCubbins
10.09.2011
11:57 am

Topics:
Animation
Books
Literature

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Though it lacks a voice-over, Mike McCubbins has created a beautiful and haunting short animation based on Albert Camus’ The Fall.

Camus’ story tells of a so-called “judge-penitent”, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, who reflects upon his life to a stranger at a bar the Mexico City, in Amsterdam. As Clamence comments to his nameless companion:

“Have you noticed that Amsterdam’s concentric canals resemble the circles of hell? The middle-class hell, of course, peopled with bad dreams. When one comes from the outside, as one gradually goes through those circles, life — and hence its crimes — becomes denser, darker. Here, we are in the last circle.”

Clamence explains how he has had a fall form grace, is now in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam. He describes himself as a good man, giving to the poor, helping the blind across the street, and that he lived his life for others. This was, until one night, as he crossed over the Pont Royal returning home from his mistress, he noticed a woman close to the edge of the bridge. He walks on and then hears a scream, and a muted splash.

“It repeated several times, downstream; then it abruptly ceased. The silence that followed, as the night suddenly stood still, seemed interminable. I wanted to run and yet didn’t move an inch. I was trembling, I believe from cold and shock. I told myself that I had to be quick and felt an irresistible weakness steal over me. I have forgotten what I thought then. “Too late, too far…” or something of the sort. I was still listening as I stood motionless. Then, slowly, in the rain, I went away. I told no one.”

Haunted by his failure to save the woman, or tell anyone about it, Clamence’s life starts to unravel, until one day a woman’s laugh (or is it his own?) causes him to realize everything he has done has not been for others, but always for himself.

To find out who he is, Clamence decides to act out of character, as “no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures”:

“...jostling the blind on the street; and from the secret, unexpected joy this gave me I recognized how much a part of my soul loathed them; I planned to puncture the tyres of wheelchairs, to go and shout ‘lousy proletarian’ under the scaffoldings on which labourers were working, to smack infants in the subway. ... the very word ‘justice’ gave me strange fits of rage…”

 

Though Camus never thought of himself as an Existentialist (more of an Absurdist writing against Nihilism), many of his concerns stemmed from the same bourgeois preoccupations that inspired Sartre and Existentialism - guilt, alienation, regret, angst. This is limned at the end of the tale, when Clamence reveals his role as “judge-penitent” - in a world without God, we are all guilty of everything, and Clamence must, therefore, sit in permanent judgement over everyone.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ren & Stimpy creator John K animates The Simpsons
10.04.2011
05:38 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Television

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Ok, so it’s just the sofa section of the show’s opening, but as a huge fan of both The Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy I just had to share this. Those two shows were the high watermarks of the 90s golden age of mainstream animation, and very influential on an entire generation of young, impressionable minds. So in a way this is the cartoon equivalent of the Beatles jamming with the Stones - but much weirder. A lot of people won’t like this (and some would say it’s a good fifteen years or more since both were at their peak), but it’s still great to see John K’s dark and twisted take on America’s first family. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I detect a subtle swipe at the character’s roles here, and Is that a hint of bitterness I can taste in the his rendering of their front room in such gloomy colors?
 

 
You can see a lot more of John Kricfalusi’s work at his blog.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
A Brief History of the Film Title Sequence
09.08.2011
04:06 pm

Topics:
Animation
Movies

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Simple but highly effective graduation film made by Jurjen Versteeg, who explains the idea behind his project:

Designed as a possible title sequence for a fictitious documentary, this film shows a history of the title sequence in a nutshell. The sequence includes all the names of title designers who had a revolutionary impact on the history and evolution of the title sequence. The names of the title designers all refer to specific characteristics of the revolutionary titles that they designed.

This film refers to elements such as the cut and shifted characters of Saul Bass’ Psycho title, the colored circles of Maurice Binder’s design for Dr. No and the contemporary designs of Kyle Cooper and Danny Yount.

This title sequence refers to the following designers and their titles:
Georges Méliès - Un Voyage Dans La Lune, Saul Bass - Psycho, Maurice Binder - Dr. No, Stephen Frankfurt - To Kill A Mockingbird, Pablo Ferro - Dr. Strangelove, Richard Greenberg - Alien, Kyle Cooper - Seven, Danny Yount - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang / Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
500 People in 100 Seconds
08.23.2011
04:19 pm

Topics:
Animation

Tags:

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Yep, what it says: 500 peeps in 100 secs by Eran Amir.

500 people holding more than 1,500 (!!!) developed pictures all around Israel, creating a smooth music video within their hands.

(Best viewed not on full screen).

Impressive.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Start me up: Radio Soulwax’s brilliant ‘Introversy’
08.19.2011
09:48 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Dance
Music
Unorthodox

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Ok, so this is kind of cheeky and infuriating, but you have to admit it’s also brilliantly executed. The Dewale brothers, aka Radio Soulwax, aka original mash-up masters 2ManyDJs, recently mixed the intros of 500 songs together into one hour long set and called it Introversy. That’s a hell of a lot of song intros - and the mix is accompanied by animation of all the sleeves of all 500 of the tunes coming to life. Now that’s dedication!

Introversy was originally posted on the brothers’ website last month, but as the original was not embedable, here’s a cheeky rip of a ten minute segment that has ended up on YouTube. Yes, the audio and visual quality are not great, but you definitely get the gist, and it’s all the more reason to check out the hour long original which is available to download as a free app on the Radio Soulwax website. Soulwax, their apps and website are all highly recommended - their currently streaming Celestial Voyage Pt 2 mix is a great blend of prog rock and space-disco which also features animated sleeves and is well worth checking out. But for now, here’s a segment from the rather excellent Introversy:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’ in 60 seconds, done in clay
08.16.2011
08:06 am

Topics:
Animation

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British animator Lee Hardcastle excels at getting to the very essence of a film (usually a horror film) with his 60-second claymation reenactments of movies like The Exorcist, Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Here’s Hardcastle’s take on David Lynch’s cult classic Eraserhead. I love the Northern accents, all done by Hardcastle himself. His accent ups the funny factor considerably.

See more of his Done in 60 Seconds with Clay webseries at Lee Hardcastle.com
 

 
Via Dazed & Confused magazine

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dr. Seuss, radical environmentalist: ‘I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees’
08.15.2011
04:42 pm

Topics:
Animation
Environment
Heroes

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The Lorax, the classic pro-environmentalist and rather strongly anti-capitalist Dr. Seuss book from 1971 had a big influence on me when I was a kid. That is to say, that it really bothered and upset me.

The book has a simple and powerful lesson at its core: “We’re killing the planet for often frivolous reasons. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Someone has to stand up for the trees. Someone like you.” The finger is pointed right at Seuss’s young readers. He means YOU, that’s right, you there reading this—YES YOU—and there is no escaping this fact.

The animated version that came out the following year spooked me ever more, although I loved it. When The Lorax (or any Seuss cartoon) was on TV, this was like a holiday to me. I don’t think its influence on my generations and the ones that came after can be overestimated. It’s one of the most subversive and powerful things ever written for grade school children. Both the book and the cartoon are veritable counter-culture classics. You simply cannot unlearn the message of The Lorax. It’s like Who Moved My Cheese?, but written by Karl Marx in verse. For me, it’s THE Dr. Seuss book, a stone classic.

In the story, a boy visits a sad old man known as “The Once-ler” who lives in a ruined wasteland in a remote area of town “where the Grickle grass grows.” We never actually see the Once-ler, who lurks in the shadows, only his hands You could argue that he represents not one specific person, but voracious capitalism itself. He tells the boy about his days as a wealthy man, running a factory to make a fad item of clothing (a “Thneed”!) woven from the colorful, woolly Truffula trees. The Truffula trees are not only beautiful, they support a vibrant and exotic ecosystem of happy and content forest-dwelling animals.

A Wilford Brimley-esque creature called “The Lorax” protests the destruction of Truffula tree forest, but is continuously rebuffed by the Once-ler and the red tape of “the system.” After the Once-ler has chopped down the very last Truffula tree he FINALLY gets what the Lorax was trying to tell him, but by then it is too late. The Lorax lifts himself up by the seat of his pants and disappears. The animals are all gone. What is left looks like a lunar landscape. The haunted old man, full of regret over his life, explains to the boy how greed will destroy us all UNLESS we—ALL of us—stand up to the corporations raping and pillaginging the Earth. He gives the boy the very last Trufulla seed and tells him to nurture it and to regrow the Trufulla tree forest so that the Lorax and his friends might one day return.

The near apocalyptic lesson of The Lorax was as haunting to my six-year-old mind as the Christian “end of the world” books like Hal Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earth were to me a few years later. But whereas goofy Hal Lindsay’s projections of his own psyche’s pathology onto “Bible prophecies” were ultimately easy to dismiss as I got older and smarter, the message of The Lorax I’ve still never shaken, nor would I want to. It should be required viewing for all school age children, although this being America, these days screening The Lorax for public school students could probably get a teacher fired. (There have been attempts to ban the book in northern California logging towns).

I was glad to see that Chris Renaud (the story artist for the Horton Hears a Who! feature) is working on a new film version of The Lorax so that its message will be heard by another generation. Danny DeVito is playing the Lorax. Perfect casting. The film is set to come out in spring of 2012. Until then, watch the original and oh-so-subversive animated original, below:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mod Odyssey: Documentary on the making of ‘Yellow Submarine’
08.13.2011
09:27 pm

Topics:
Animation
Movies

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Fun and informative mini-documentary from 1968 on the animators and studio behind the creation of Yellow Submarine.

Plus, a trailer for Yellow Submarine, which, given its age, looks like it was shot underwater.

In recent news, Robert Zemeckis’ plan to make a 3D version of Yellow Submarine for Disney has been given the red light. It ain’t happening. Zemeckis’ last big-budget animated flick, Mars Needs Moms (dreadful title))  was a mega bomb. It took in $7 million at the box office while costing $150 million to make. Disney figured investing in another Zemeckis project was just too risky. I doubt that fans of the original Beatles’ film are shedding any tears over this turn of events. And for some of us, Yellow Submarine has always been in 3D.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
British TV 1974: The secret teachings of Terry Gilliam
08.08.2011
11:34 pm

Topics:
Animation

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Terry Gilliam shows us the tricks of his trade on British TV’s Bob Godfrey’s Do-It-Yourself Animation Show in 1974.

Godfrey’s show, which made animation accessible to the masses by taking the mystery out of the production process, was vastly influential and inspired an entire generation of kids in England, including Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit, Jan Pinkava, who directed the Pixar short Geri’s Game, and Richard Bazley, an animator on Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Iron Giant.

After viewing this wonderful Gilliam video, jump to the next page for a documentary on the marvelous Bob Godfrey.
 

 
BBC documentary on Bob Godfrey after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
N.A.S.A.: The Spirit of Apollo
08.02.2011
10:57 am

Topics:
Animation
Hip-hop
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
For those of our readers lucky enough to live here in Los Angles (try to get that earlier post out of your mind, if possible) tonight at the Hammer Museum as part of their Flux series, Dangeorus Minds pal Syd Garon will debut his new film, co-directed with Sam Spiegal: N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo..

Syd writes:

I’ve been working on a documentary about the band N.A.S.A. and the making of their first record for a few years now. We took behind the scenes footage from recording sessions and mixed it in with animation on top of the picture as well as excerpts from the animated music videos. The animation was a collaboration between fine artists like Marcel Dzama, The Date Farmers, Sage Vaughn, Shepard Fairy and director/animators such as Logan, 3 Legged Leg, Florescent Hill as well as myself. The music is based around unusual collaborations, David Byrne and Chuck D., Tom Waits and Kool Keith, Method Man and E-40, Old Dirty Bastard and Karen O.

The show starts Tuesday Aug 2nd, 8 pm sharp at The Hammer Museum in L.A. The will be live custom screen printed t-shirts, food, drinks, N.A.S.A. will play a DJ set after the show, and a bunch of other stuff. The screening is free, open to the public and there is plenty of cheap parking. RSVP suggested.

An exclusive excerpt from the upcoming film N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo. Sam records Kool Keith in his studio while Tom Waits literally phones it in. The animation here is incredible.
 

 
Below, N.A.S.A. “Money” (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip). Art by Shepard Fairey. Directors: Syd Garon & Paul Griswold
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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