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Thoughts After Annecy… (Paths of Hate, Luminaris and Stones)

June 21, 2011 4 comments

Probably everybody knows by now the official results of Annecy competitions. It was great to hear that 3 out of 7 Polish shorts selected in the competition actually got something. I even wonder if I can dare to say we smashed it! but perhaps that bit of national solidarity is out of place here?.. slightly?.. or is it really? ūüėČ

OK, enough of coquetry and let’s name these awards:¬†Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a first film went to Switez by Kamil Polak, Paths of Hate by Damian Nenow got a Special Distinction and Maska by Quay Brothers won an award for original music. For more info, go to Annecy festival website:¬†The 35th International Animation Film Festival Awards.

To be honest I am especially happy for Switez and Paths of Hate. The first one just deserves to be noticed – pure artistry. As for the second, after watching the trailer I wasn’t really sure what to expect. For some reason I was thinking it would be another 3D stunt – good technique but not much more than that. And I don’t consider it actually to be enough for a good film. I also don’t really fancy all those rage and hate topics that, in my humble opinion, are just extreme and outworn by now examples of human confusion; and for that reason do not have to be exposed too much. But¬†I saw¬†Paths of Hate at one of the screenings in Annecy and, despite my reservations, I let myself immerse in the story. I liked the way Nenow built tension. I liked the way the tension went to extremes fairly soon and I enjoyed the fact it stayed there almost till the end. I didn’t get tired, I didn’t get bored. I enjoyed the way the animator played with time, changed the¬†dynamics in the picture from unbearably fast to..¬†unbearably slow when a second lasts at least a few. And I wasn’t distracted by the cross nor the sentimental photo of a lady-the-pilot’s-love-forever-whatever (or at least not too much). Paths of Hate appeared to be just a very good film, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I had been thinking of giving Maska some thought here too but I decided to it¬†some other time…

Apart from Polish films there were a few others that drew my attention too. Let’s focus on two of them. First of all, Luminaris by¬†Juan Pablo Zaramella (2011). The film got the audience award and it¬†definitely¬†was my choice too. I think there are often films in festival competitions that are witty, funny, with good concept, with nice narration, illustrated with good music, hence with good rhythm too. And such films are enjoyed by audiences but later on get only¬†awards from… audiences. Don’t get me wrong here as obviously sometimes audience awards say much more about appreciation of the film than any other distinction. And I think it’s a very important type of award. It’s just that it does not come from the jury (sic!).

Luminaris is actually one of such films, me thinks. It got the longest ovation of any films I watched at the festival (sure, there could have been other, even longer but they must have happened in a screening room around the corner!). It uses animated objects, pixilation and photos. It seems that the combination of techniques is nothing unusual anymore, but the concept itself reminds me actually of nothing I have seen before. Of course, we have elements we can be familiar with, like the way the main character gets to work as if it was taken straight from The Jetsons. But still, I had that amazing feeling of freshness while watching it and I appreciate it so much! It doesn’t happen too often, does it? Can you think of any other (RECENTLY made!) animated film that showed you something you had never seen before?..

Below, you can see the film’s trailer. For more videos by Juan Pablo Zaramella, visit his channel on Youtube.

Summary: In a world controlled and timed by light , a common man has a plan that could change his destiny.

Stones (Kamene, 2010) by Katarina Kerekesova and Ivana Sebestova is another short I liked. It did not win anything but in my opinion it simply stood out. Stones is a puppet musical combining emotionally strong music, unconfined space, passion and fear – that’s how it’s described in the catalogue and from what I saw I can tell it’s true. It relies on a musical convention, tells a story of unfulfilled love, disappointment and shows how a woman can disturb a grey and simple life of quarry workers. What I liked in this particular film was actually the usage of conventions transferred to animation ground. Again, I have not really seen that type of puppet musical before. Perhaps I have not seen that much yet ūüėČ

Here, you can find a few details on the film’s production and below is the film’s trailer. Enjoy!

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