Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Balance", Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein (1989)

"allegory (n.) - the representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form."

While many animated films can be read at an allegorical level to some extent, "Balance" conveys it's "abstract ideas" with particular clarity. By removing traditional film-making artifices (character, setting, dialogue etc.), we are shown a portrait of the delicate balance between greed and fear that characterises human economic activity.

The film was made by the Lauenstein twins whilst enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany. It won them the Academy Award for Short Animation in 1989


Answers -
(retrieved 23.10.09)

Wikipedia - Balance_(film) (retrieved 23.10.09)

Wikipedia - Wolfgang_Lauenstein (retrieved 23.10.09)

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Totoro" , Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

I've posted this scene from Totoro to demonstrate the Japanese design concept of "ma" as it applies to animation timing. "Ma" roughly translates into English as "gap", "space", "pause", or "the space between structural parts".

One of the most memorable qualities of this sequence is it's slow pace - long holds, lengthy pauses between actions, and shots in which nothing appears to happen. The pace can seem awkward or primitive to Western audiences accustomed to more continuous action and rapid editing. However, the timing is deliberate, building a mood of quiet eeriness which anticipates the entry of the mythical Totoro. The spaces between the actions artfully convey as much meaning as the actions themselves.

"Totoro" was written and directed by the prolific Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, with art direction by Kazuo Oga, and produced at Studio Ghibli. It was made using traditional cel animation over lush watercolour backgrounds. The feature has understandably become an enduring favourite within Japan and without.


Wikipedia -
My Neighbour Totoro
(retrieved 14.10.09)

Wikipedia - Ma (negative space) (retrieved 14.10.09)

Things Asian - Aesthetics in Japanese Arts (retrieved 25.09.09)