Friday, November 28, 2008

Aleksandr Petrov's The Old Man and the Sea

Here’s a gem from Aleksandr Petrov -- a film that is both short and sweet, and also a very good way of blending artistry with technology. And no disrespect to Disney and company, but I consider this masterpiece to be one of the most beautiful animations I've ever seen.

Yes, the Russian animator/director famous for being a proponent of Romantic Realism in his works made this short 20-minute animated film based on Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

Mr. Petrov’s technique may look old-school to some, but it's not. It is in reality solid, unique and beautiful. By just looking at the pictures, it surely evokes varied thoughts and emotions, surely painting a thousand words. Of course, it would help if one reads the book, since it would be far easier to understand this winner of the 1999 Academy Awards for Animated Short Film.

I will let Wikipedia provide the detailed explanation regarding the painstaking work and process that the artist/director, with the help of technology, did to breathe life into Papa’s classic man versus fish tale--

...the first large-format animated film ever made. Technically impressive, the film is made entirely in pastel oil paintings on glass, a technique mastered by only a handful of animators in the world. By using his fingertips instead of a paintbrush on different glass sheets positioned on multiple levels, each covered with slow-drying oil paints, he was able to add depth to his paintings. After photographing each frame painted on the glass sheets, which was four times larger than the usual A4-sized canvas, he had to slightly modify the painting for the next frame and so on. It took Aleksandr Petrov over two years, from March 1997 through April 1999, to paint each of the 29,000+ frames. For the shooting of the frames a special adapted motion-control camera system was built, probably the most precise computerized animation stand ever made. On this an IMAX camera was mounted, and a video-assist camera was then attached to the IMAX camera.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Doubt

‘ saw the Tony Award- winning play at the Walter Kerr on Broadway in ‘05 with Cherry Jones as Sister Aloysius and Brian F. O‘Byrne as Father Flynn. It was no doubt one of the best plays I’ve seen.

So, make no mistake, I will definitely watch the film adaptation; with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the cast as well as Pulitzer Prize- winning playwright John Patrick Shanley directing; can’t get any better than that.

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