The Special Jury Prize was shared by two seasoned filmmakers, Ishu Patel of Canada and Rein Raamat of the USSR. Patel’s film Paradise is the tale of a rather ordinary looking blackbird who longs to be like the birds of paradise that live in a glittering palace. He dresses up to look like the birds in the palace but his clumsy efforts get him thrown out. He realises that freedom as an ordinary bird is better than the caged luxury of the palace. The film runs for 15 minutes and the plot takes a long time to unfold. The strength of the film lies in its visual display of colour and light. The director Ishu Patel was born in 1942 in India. After graduating from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, and studying graphism at the Allgemeine Gewerbsschule in Basl, he joined the Canadian National Film Board in 1970. He has made ten previous films but this is the first one to have a comic sequence. When asked about this he said: ‘The sequence was done by another animator. I felt that the story needed humour so I hired a humorist.’
Enfer is based on three engravings done by the Esthonian painter Edward Viiralt, The preacher, Cabaret and Hell. They depict low life in a night club whose patrons are a weird and in some cases, revoltingly ugly bunch. Some of the characters are brought to life more convincingly than others. Engravings are a difficult medium to animate due to the vast number of lines and this led to some of the characters being held in unconvincing profiles. The director Rein Raamat was born in Villandi, USSR in 1931 and graduated from the Fine Arts State Institute of the Soviet Republic of Esthonia in 1957.
Incubus has a little middle aged man go to bed and then proceed to have one nightmare after another. Each one is a development of the man s everyday life and demonstrates that any event can become a nightmare. The director Guido Manuli was born in 1939 in Cervia, Italy. He started as an animator in 1959 and has worked on numerous films as animator and sometimes co-director. Incubus is more dramatic than his previous comic films. When asked if this was a change in his style he replied: ‘I prefer to put the accent on the dramatic side. In a way tragedy can also be comic or ridiculous. It can be seen better with a comic eye than the tragedy point of view.’ Does he have the fears of the character in Incubus? Says Manuli:
“They are the fears of everybody; death, police, surgical operation, the fear of loneliness.” Why do Italians of his generation always deal with tragedy in a comic situation? His answer: “I like this kind of humour and it seems that other Italian film makers do too.”
Comet is an educational film that illustrates the return of Halley’s comet. The director Sidney Goldsmith was born in 1922 in Toronto, Canada and works for the National Film Board.
Romeo I Julija was for me one of the funniest films of the festival. It re-tells William Shakespeare’s story using a two headed green monster for Romeo and a white and pink spotted monster for Juliet. Much of the humour was of a lavatorial nature but done in the best possible taste. The director Dusan Petricic was born in 1946 in Beograd, Yugoslavia. He said that it was his aim to produce a series of cartoons sending up classic films such as The Seven Samuri. This prompted the question: would they have fourteen heads?
Criminal Tango was made by scratching on 35 mm black leader. A man is chased through a city by a mysterious cat woman. It is an amazing piece of work with detailed images and a fast moving story. At the end of the film the action goes up in a helicopter with the city skyscrapers passing below. On the top of the buildings are neon signs that contain the credits for the film. The director Solweig von Kleist was born in 1954 in Germany. When asked about the production she said: “4,000 images were scratched with a darning needle. It took one year for the drawing and three months to do the sound track. No special apparatus was used. I went from the first frame onwards without a script. I cut shapes out of paper to get the backgrounds to register from frame to frame. The sound-track was done afterwards.”
The Big Snit is about an old couple who have an argument over a game of scrabble and are so tied up in their own problems they don’t realise that atomic war has been declared. There is some beautifully depicted madness in the film, such as the man who saws up the furniture when his wife’s back is turned. The wife keeps getting one of her eyes stuck and takes them off like a pair of glasses and shakes them. The director Richard Condie was born in 1942 in Vancover, Canada. When he was asked if the film was about wasting time he said:
“The ideas come from my own experience.” In that case did he saw armchairs? “Yes, constantly”, said Condie. On the subject of his relationship with the National Film Board of Canada he said: “I work at home for three-quarters of the time and do the editing and sound cutting at the Film Board.”
The feature film winner, Dalias Idok by Jozsef Gemes of Hungary, is an impressive work based on a trilogy that is well known to Hungarians. It is set in medieval times and tells of the fortunes and misfortunes of a bold and strong knight who becomes an outcast due to a misunderstanding. The style is like oil paintings and the animation is very fluid. In the version shown at the festival there was no dialogue although there is a version with an English sound track available.
The prize for the best French feature length film went to Gwen, le livre de sable by Jean Francois Laguionie. The story unfolds slowly, revealing the lives of a desert tribe who hunt ostrich to feed on their feathers and then let the birds go. Objects fall from the sky from time to time and the reactions of a boy and girl to these form much of the plot. The film was made by a filmmaker’s co-op working in the French countryside. Well known artists helped with the production and the intention is that they take turns in acting as director on future productions.
ANNECY 85 THE WINNERS
Grand Prix Annecy 85:
Een Griekse Tragedz Nicole Van Goethem, Belgium.
Special Jury Prize :
Paradise – Ishu Patel, Canada.
Enfer – Rein Raamat, USSR
Incubus – Guido Manuli, Italy
Carnival – Susan Young, Britain
First Film Prize:
Charade – Jon Minnis, Canada
Second Class Mail – Alison Snowden, Britain
Comet – Sidney Goldsmith, Canada
The Entertainers – Pat Gavin & Graham Ralph, Britain
Dalias Idok – Jozsef Gemes, Hungery
Romeo IJulzya – Dusan Petricic, Yougoslavia
International Critics Prize:
Enfer – Rein Raamat, USSR
Criminal Tango – Sozweig Von Kleist, France
Gwen – Jean-Francois Laguionie, France
The Big Snit – Richard Condie, Canada
Een Griekse Tragedie – Nicole Van Goethem, Belgium
French Teachers UFOLEIS Prize:
Skywhales – Phil Austin & Derek Hayes, Britain.
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Printed in Animator Issue 14 (Winter 1985)