We are off on our holidays soon, and I'm taking Tricky Women - the book (Women in Animation). It's really good. Waltraud Grausgruber & Birgitt Wagner have commissioned some properly serious essays (eight in English, four in German). In the first place the book offers a fresh historical perspective of the history of women in animation from Jayne Pilling. Because we know she knows her stuff, she can write informally. She reminds us of the some of the chronological landmarks or milestones, but also offers thoughts on subject matter, viewing contexts, Eastern European animation and the necessity for contextual knowledge, or not. For German speakers there is an essay about Mary Ellen Bute about whom there is not enough written or screened. Ruth Lingford has written a wonderful essay about Vera Neubauer, it's short but incisive and together with the interview with Vera, gives an insight into Vera's powerful, joyful and brave work. Eliška Decká has written about the The Czech and Slovak New Female Wave of Animation, which of course includes Michaela Pavlatova. Julie Roy from the National Film Board of Canada has written about metamorphosis in Michèle Cournoyer's work.
A still from Michele Cournoyer's film The Hat, 1999
Suzanne Buchan's essay is about Animation installation, focusing on Rose Bond, Marina Zurkow and Tabaimo. The installed, projected works are described really beautifully, which is important for works that exist in a space far away and at a time that has passed. At the end of the book, and if all that wasn't enough for 24 euros, there's an explosion of fantastic thoughts and connections from Esther Leslie. Her essay Shadowy, Shape-shifting, Shaky Animation as Subversion sends you scurrying all over the place making mind altering connections, which I marvel at and embrace as a practitioner. Leslie revisits some of the works from an exhibition Shudder at The Drawing Room in 2010, for which she wrote Shudder, Shutter, Shatter, but her written work here is all entirely new.
Did I say that it comes with a DVD too. I can't think of another festival that has commissioned such an important collection of essays, can you?