29 July 2011

Lithuanian Animation

It's not Animation Week, but the popularity of those posts have prompted a new addition since I didn't have anything more interesting up my sleeve.  I was able to scrounge up some interesting animators from the small country, and even found some from one of my blog followers, Ruah Edelstein

via Ruah Edelstein's blog (screen capture "Of Stars and People")
I will start with Ruah since she is obviously a supporter of this blog.  I hadn't checked her blog in a long time, but I found her on the "Lithuanian animators" channel (are they called channels?) on Vimeo.  It was a very pleasant surprise because I hadn't quite anticipated running into a familiar name there.  I really loved the Oah and Harlam episode, "Of Stars and People" because the music has a Celtic quality to it (a sort of whispering countryside element I can't quite pin) despite being played by Korean instruments and the animation had the look of charcoal and Impressionist painting.  The short "Tomorrow" is poetic and I can't help but love the score.  Opera gets me.  The short "Summary" is far more abstract with some interesting visuals created by a technique I do not understand, but it made me think of negatives of a photo of a desert taken with 70s-era camera with a red lens, which has a few spots from exposure to the sun.  That visual is the only way I can describe what the animation conjures up, so I hope it makes some sense.  Her blog has a great deal of animation exercises, sketches, and paintings, which are all very lovely.  That "Winter Light" painting?  I want to own it...2 minutes ago.  I highly suggest looking up her work!

Another animator on the Vimeo channel is Indrė Juodžiukynaitė.  I liked his animation "Winter Watercolour" because it's so stark and simple.  The juxtaposition of the detailed, realistic radiator with the abstract winter scene and people was as humorous as it was ponderous.  It made me think of "Sex for Fridge", a story written by the Georgian author Zurab Lezhava, simply because this person was dragging around a seemingly worthless item.  This was the only animation he's put up, but I hope there's more to follow in the future.

A more well-known animator is Ilja Bereznick.  I found his son's (Danas) Vimeo channel, which includes his father's animation "Baubas Artimetika".  There are others like "This Is Our Plasticine Life (Toks jau mūsų plastilininis gyvenimas)" and "Grandpa and Grandma (Senelis ir Senele)" that feature Bereznick as director of the animations.  The animations are cute and clearly more child oriented, though I think "Senelis ir Senele" might be more appreciated by an older audience.  Browse the channel for more work of both the Bereznick men.

I also found the young, female animator Urte Budinaite.  My first find was an animation for "Venera", a song by a Lithuanian rap group, Despotin' Fam.  I'm also excited I discovered Lithuanian rap.  (Maybe a revival of Rap Week?)  The animation is cute, but clever.  It's not cutesy, but it has little plastic toy animals, so it's cute.  I also really loved her short "Sugedęs telefonas (Broken telephone)", despite my lack of Lithuanian knowledge, because I clearly understood the concept.  The morphing picture of the telephone message is genius.  So genius it seems incredibly obvious.  The "Painted abstraction animation" is fun to watch because it's like a painter's version of those iTunes visuals that are so tripped out.

I enjoy seeing animation that is neither Disney nor CGI because they explore more creative mediums and display individual styles.  It's unfortunate that most of these forms of animation do not see the light of day outside "art house" categories because these creative visuals have so much more to offer.  The visual is the story as much as the plotline.  I will stop waxing rhapsodic,  but I do enjoy the breadth of work that is out there, including those featured today.