Friday, September 23, 2011

Wonders from the Zagreb School of Animation

A still from Tup Tup by Nedeljko Dragić (1972)
I was very pleased to be asked to introduce a programme of short films programmed by Aline Conti from the  Zagreb School of Animation showing today at the 31st Cambridge Film Festival.  At the microphone, I was obliged to confess straight away that I have no expertise in the area of Zagreb Animation, just a sturdy admiration.  I leapt at the chance to have a think about the films, relay my thoughts and the results of my research and sit in the dark and watch them all on the big screen.

The films screened were:

SAMAC (Alone) by Vatroslav Mimica, 13'09", 1958
SUROGAT (Ersatz) by Dušan Vukotić, 9'36", 1961
ZID (The Wall), 3'32", 1965
MUHA (The Fly) by Alexsandar Marks & Vladimir Jutriša, 8'16", 1966
MACKA (The Cat)by Zlatko Bourek, 10'10", 1971
TUP TUP by Nedeljko Dragić, 9'42", 1972
SATIEMANIA by Zdenko Gašparović, 14'15", 1978

A still from Muha (The Fly)
by Alexsandar Marks & Vladimir Jutri
ša (1966)
A still from Satiemania by Zdenko Gašparović (1978)
A still from Surogat (Ersatz) by Dušan Vukotić (1961)
The films were largely united in the use of a 'limited' style of cel animation, simple non-realistic design and movement, absence of  dialogue, brilliant experimental sound design and an anecdotal focus on the small man encountering difficulties in a big world.  My only reservation about the work was that occasionally these unsurmountable 'difficulties' were unresponsive women or fields of bosoms. (The films were all made by male animators.)

I really enjoyed MUHA (The Fly) by Alexsandar Marks & Vladimir Jutriša from 1966, it had a lovely circular narrative, extremely spare animation and some wonderful shots that were both uncanny and full of suspense.  TUP TUP by Nedeljko Dragić was a fantastic film, the way that his frustration was animated with such a light yet vigorous touch was so pleasurable to watch.  SUROGAT (Ersatz) by Dušan Vukotić was the first non US film to win an Oscar in 1962.  The design was splendid and the gags very clever, I especially enjoyed the way that he put his swimming trunks on with his head buried in the sand and his bottom in the air.  There's this brilliant humming tune, that's too catchy.  Watch it on you tube and see if you'll be humming it too. 

1 comment:

Mark said...

Surogat - love it love it. And yep, humming that tune for the rest of the day