Edinburgh Film Festival 1983

37th Edinburgh International Film Festival


I heard that there was to be “An Animation Event” as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival in late August. I eventually succeeded in getting a copy of the programme (which not ready till after the Festival had started) and discovered that there were animated films on the Monday and Tuesday running from 2.00 p.m. till midnight.

Most of the shows were devoted to a retrospective on the work of Ladislaw Starewicz, a Polish animator who made puppet films, mostly between 1909 and 1939. These were very accomplished, but many of the prints showed their age and were quite a strain to watch. The puppets were mostly naturalistic insects, sometimes combined with live action. The insect proportions were true to life, so they could not express much feeling, in a couple of films he used a soft toy dog character which had much more life in it.

For me the highlight of the festival was “Taking a Line for a Walk” by Lesley Keen from Glasgow. Those of you in more civilised parts of the country which can receive channel 4 may have seen it, and the film about the making of it, already. The film is a “homage” to the work of the artist Paul K. Lee, starting from the same idea as Sheila Graber’s “Mondrian”. The images flow easily into one another, and some computer generated animation is very skilfully blended with the artwork so that you couldn’t see the join. The cels are light coloured lines, and the generally dark backgrounds give very glowing colours on the screen, quite unlike a Disney film which has characters outlined in black on lighter backgrounds. i saw it twice in Edinburgh and would have liked to watch it several more times (although preferably with the sound, specially composed’ continuous electronic music, turned very low) to appreciate it fully.

Strange Growths from “Taking a Line for a Walk”.

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