Sunday, December 13, 2009

"The Cameraman's Revenge", Ladislaw Starewicz, (1912)

Animation is a medium often chosen by artists with wide-ranging interests, as exemplified by the Russian-born Ladislaw Starewich. His fascination for entomology led him to experiment with the stop-motion technique, as recounted in this anecdote:

"In the mating season, beetles fight. Their jaws remind one of deer's horns. I wished to film them but since their fighting is nocturnal, the light I used would freeze them into total immobility. By using embalmed beetles, I reconstructed the different phases of that fight, frame by frame, with progressive changes, more than five hundred frames for thirty seconds of projection. The result surpassed my hopes: 1910 -Lucanus Cervus - the first three-dimensional animated film" (Starewich, L., in Bendazzi,G.,"Cartoons", 1995)

The result surpassed audiences' expectations also, and their response so encouraged Starewich he went on to spend a lifetime making stop-motion films. In his early work he continued to use insect bodies as puppets, lending a macabre aura to the films. A move to France brought more conventional puppet-making techniques into his repertoire, and the films appear more lyrical as a result.


Bendazzi,G.,"Cartoons, One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation", John Libbey and Co, 1995)

Animation World Network - Entomology and Animation: A Portrait of An Early Master Ladislaw Starewicz (retrieved 14.12.09)

Wikipedia - Ladislas Starevich (retrieved 14.12.09)