Call for Philip Morris!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)

Hedgehog in the Fog is a 10-minute animated film directed by Yuriy Norshteyn and written by Sergei Kozlov.  The studio which produced the film, Soyuzmultfilm, was run so that the financial success or failure of a film did not affect the animators' paychecks.  As a result, the animators experimented with a variety of styles, free from the concerns of marketability.  This film, in particular, has a charming, yet slightly dark animation style featuring characters and settings made from painted paper cutouts, animated to give the impression of three-dimensional movement.  Hayao Miyazaki has listed Hedgehog in the Fog as one of his favorite animated movies of all time.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mascot

To start off this blog: a classic 1933 stop-motion short film by Władysław Starewicz (a.k.a Vladislav Starevich).  Don't miss the rubbish creatures in Part 2.

From the Władysław Starewicz Home Page:
Wladyslaw Starewicz' childhood passion for entomology led his career: he began producing short documentaries in Moscow around 1909-1910, beginning with a documentary about insects in Lithuania. In his spare time, he experimented with stop-action films using beetles, which he articulated by wiring the legs to the thorax with sealing wax! This, of course, led to his big breakthrough, released by the Van Kanjonkov Studio of Moscow: "The Battle of the Stag Beetles", the first puppet-animated film.
The Russian Revolution caused Wladyslaw to emigrate. He fled to Paris, France, arriving in 1920, where he became known as Ladislas Starevich. He settled in a villa in Fontenay-sous-Bois, where he spent the rest of his life producing surreal, lyrical animation. With great patience and attention to detail, he wrote or adapted the stories; designed and built the puppets, sets and costumes; articulated every movement; and shot each film frame-by-frame, often without continuity notes. After 1924, his daughter, Irene (aka Nina Starr), assisted with and appeared in many of his films. Fiercely independent, Starewicz rejected lucrative offers from American animation studios, rather than relinquish creative control.