Monday, February 11, 2008

Sleep, Movies and Persepolis

This is a late post, and its not even the post I wanted to make. But my schedule is reaching that point. The point where I am working on my film into the early morning hours, and my sleep patterns get all screwed up. I originally wanted to do a post on Chuck Jones, but I didn't have enough time to put all the images together. So for now, I am throwing this together.

Amid Amidi, Cartoon Brew's other half and (now) New York commentator, posted something on Cartoon Brew last week that really excited me. It was an article written by David Levy for the ASIFA-East newsletter, about the rise of independent animated features coming from New York. Music to my ears. With Persepolis getting lots of attention, I side with Mr. Levy in seeing this as a sign of an on-coming revolution. An evolution in animated features. I suggest you read it.

Among the filmmakers mentioned are Michael Sporn, Bill Plympton, Nina Paley, Paul Fierlinger, and Dan Kanemoto. I am suprised Amid neglected to mention Pat Smith, as Pat is working on a feature of his own at the moment.

I visited Michael Sporn's studio months ago with a class. There, he informed us of a feature he was working on, based on Edgar Allen Poe. I hope it goes well, because as Sporn's style has evolved over the years, its got the potential to hold an audience's attention for more than an hour. And I think his style is a relaxing place to go to.

Nina Paley and Paul Fierlinger also have interesting films coming along. Nina Paley has a style that is quite charming and embracing, so I am very curious to see the very personal Sita Sings the Blues. And Paul Fierlinger managed to snag some top-notch British actors for his film about a man's relationship with his dog. Very impressive.

Bill Plympton has been making his own features for years. They have been quite rocky for him, however, as they seem to go in limbo when released, and never make much money. The image above is a feature he did four years ago, Hair High, which I saw and believe to be his best feature. His most recent feature, Idiots and Angels, might be a little more effort in embracing it. Still, its nice to have something different, and after hearing Mr. Plympton talk about it with us, its clear that he is thinking more like a filmmaker than an animator now.

In the midst of my depressing schedule, I managed to go see Persepolis. I saw it early at the Ottawa Festival back in September. It is truly unlike any other feature out there. Even though its directly based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel, its still refreshing to see an animated feature today that is black/white and introspective. It is a deeply moving and emotion story, with moments of wonderful humor. I know some animators have complained about the style of it. But the style makes the movie work, and its probably one of the more complete features of the last ten years.

The start of a revolution? I absolutely hope so.


Anonymous said...

Viva la revolucion

Javan said...

Nice post Emmett, makes me think I might be in the right town for now after all.