On Saturday evening we finally had the chance to watch the first 2 competitive parts of this year’s edition of the festival. 17 films in total, many afterthoughts with the ending titles.
Peeping at the short summary of the films in the festival catalogue, I wasn’t really sure of what to expect, but I was more than confident that I would be probably engaged into new questions concerning my so-far-short but exciting acquaintance with the world of stop-motion animation. And I was right. What I found the most striking and fascinating after both screenings was the variety of techniques employed by the animators. I found myself wondering at the creative process as such and the innumerous possibilities behind the making-of. The diversity of genres is also worth mentioning, since I could trace a vast variety of thematic approaches, some of them more psychological, others more aesthetic, some grotesque, others more funny and satirical, some creepy and wicked, others horrific and scary. This element also contributed to transforming the night into a multidimensional animation journey.
Among the films, I singled out a bunch of them, either inspired by the story or the technique used to make them, other times by both.
I would like to specially mention Tess Martin’s short Ginevra, which captured me with its aesthetic plurality and narrative approach. Based on Percy Shelley’s lyrical poem The Dirge, the narration describes a young woman’s murder scene. We had the chance to meet with the Tess, who guided us through the creative steps and the difficulties of transforming such distinct and challenging literary genre into a stop-motion project. It was interesting to realize that with simple materials, such as paper cuts, you can create almost multi-dimensional and realistic figures. Knowing how to manipulate the light and shadows properly is the key.
Frog song by Violaine Pasquet kept me going with its musicality and sensible approach. Inspired by New Orleans’ jazz heritage. It gives a powerful message about how a community that is phenomenally weak, connected with music, tradition, heritage and determination can fight against every kind of oppressive monster, real or fictional. I could detect the political oeuvre of the short, which was elaborately and discretely channeled through a simple, subtle and touching story. Violaine was there giving us an insight into her voyage through the creative process of the piece.
My final mention goes for Marco Jemolo’s Framed. I found this animation quite special since it offers us a study into the nature of the stop-motion technique. The puppet doll is oppressed, he seems to suffer without being aware of the origins of his oppression. The help that he aspires to is not fully achieved. This is a question for the author of animation, how far can you go into manipulating the puppets even if they do not have their own will? How easy is it to project emotions, psychological states and attitudes to a manufactured object? It is also a reminder; a reminder of how much patience, creativity, restlessness and hard work it takes to finish a work.