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Annecy 2015 – Women Filmmakers

// Featured, Reviews (Event)


The spotlight at this year’s Annecy festival was on women in animation – a great theme that saw some fantastic films on display, not to mention the fabulous intros created by Gobelins students to celebrate some of the greats. The Women Filmmakers screening took us through a brief history of women in animation, specifically in France, from 1934 to 1977. As the program read for this screening:

The first years of live action cinema in France can boast the names of a few women directors like Alice Guy, Germaine Dulac or Germaine Krull. Conversely, animation was not a haven for women before the 1930s, when their first films could finally be seen on the screen.

The screening started in a crazy, cartooney, rubber-hose style with La Decouverte de l’Amerique (The Discovery of America, 1934), a film by Mimma Indelli, then moved swiftly from that to La Decouverte de l’Angleterre (The Discovery of England, 1937), a film made by Indelli with Emile Cohl. The two films, though they share a director, could not be more different; the first was slapstick and funny as cartoons from that era are, but the second appeared to be just a four-minute panning shot of the Bayeux Tapestry; historically accurate certainly, but not too much fun as a film-watching experience. The last film from the ‘30s was Etude sur l’Harmonie des Lignes (Study on the Harmony of Lines, 1939) by Claire Parker. The title suits the film; it is a slow exploration of rotating sculptures in half-silhouette that creates beautiful lines (I could certainly appreciate it on a fine-art level); but like the Bayeux film it is slow and not very animated.

Metropolitain: les Illuminations (Dir. Laure Garcin/Henri Gruel, 1958)

Metropolitain: Les Illuminations (Dir. Laure Garcin/Henri Gruel, 1958)

We then jumped in time from 1939 to 1958 with Metropolitain: Les Illuminations by Laure Garcin and Henri Gruel, based off the poem Metropolitain by Arthur Rimbaud. It was very abstract, random etchings moving to a sonorous voice reading the poem. The next film however was very entertaining; Eau Chaude (Hot Water, 1961) by Jeannine and Cristianne Clerfeuille with Raoul Franco. A fantastic example of cut-out animation, the filmmakers animated black-and-white photographs over a very simplistic pink-and-white background with an upbeat soundtrack and tongue-in-cheek direction.

The next two films to be shown were also by Jeannine and Christianne Clerfeuille; Caisse nationale d’epargne: Chiffres (National Savings Fund: Figures, 1967) and 1880 (1963). The first was psychedelic, featuring crazy patterns and not hugely memorable, but the second was brilliant. 1880 is another cut-out animation using black-and-white photographs from the Victorian era and it is synced to opera music so that the photos seem to be playing out the opera. It was very well done, with cut-out bicycles and carriages riding down photographed streets and passengers singing wildly with sliding mouths. The subtlety of the animation in the film was amazing and would have made it a great watch even without the film’s music or humour, but with those added it was wonderful!

The final film shown was Atelier d’Animation a Annecy (Annecy Animation Workshop, 1977), a behind-the-scenes, live-action look featuring animated segments, this was a film that was enjoyable to watch not just because of its content but also for its historical significance. A good screening overall, I discovered some new names that I hadn’t known before and I will definitely be researching their other works.

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@lewisheriz
Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly Yeah! That's when it becomes << actual magic >>
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@themooks
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly That first time you see it move is such a buzz and then you add sound and it just enters a whole new stratosphere.
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@lewisheriz
Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly I know it's kind of obvious, but I used to see it as 'important but secondary'. I don't see it as secondary any more.
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@themooks
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly Sound does bring it to life.
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