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Marco de Blois on bringing erotic animation to Annecy 2017

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Among the special programmes at this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival are a trio of erotica-themed animation screenings, curated by Montreal-based Marco de Blois. With extensive experience as an animation historian, programmer and festival director, Marco’s selections will play throughout next week and include pivotal work from era-spanning directors as artistically varied as Tex Avery, Signe Baumane, Steven Woloshen, Barry Purves, Dave Fleischer, Michaela Pavlátová, Kim Noce and Michèle Cournoyer. Skwigly caught up with Marco to get an idea of what to expect from Annecy 2017’s ‘Focus on Erotic Animation’.

Can you introduce yourself and say a bit about your work in animation curation?

The Cinémathèque Québécoise is a film archive and museum. One of our specialties is animation. In 1998, I was honored to be hired as the animation curator. I do animation programming and make sure that the animation collection is updated, accurate and relevant. The Cinémathèque runs an animation festival, the Sommets du cinema d’animation, of which I am the artistic director.

What prompted the idea to bring a programme of ‘Erotic Animation’ to Annecy this year?

I was invited to curate the retrospective by the festival artistic director, Marcel Jean.

There’s quite a range of time periods and styles covered, what factors determined which films would be selected for these retrospectives?

It was actually my intention to have a wide range of time periods and styles. I wanted to show that eroticism can be sometime very subtle, sometimes quite extreme. My concern was also to please everyone—not only heterosexual males… I had three themes (Gl(amour), Wet Dreams and The Joy of Living) that inspired me in the selection. My intention was also to invite the audience to have fun. And to discover a few things.

What would you say are some of the main advantages animation has over other forms of filmmaking when it comes to this sort of subject matter?

In one word: fantasy. Animation is not reality. It’s interesting to see that one of the first animated short film was called “fantasmagorie” (fantasy). The act of animating can also be erotic. Animations artists have the perfect medium to introduce their dreams, their desires.

Are there any personal highlights of the programme festivalgoers should keep an eye out for?

There are films in the selection who are rarely screened: Sylvia Kristel’s Topor and Me, for instance—it’s a beautiful animation documentary made by an actress who became famous for playing Emmanuelle. And also our recent restoration of Michèle Cournoyer’s early independent short, Old Orchard Beach P.Q., a dreamy and funny film. In the official animation history, Trnka is never considered as erotic. But the presence of Story of the Bass Cello in the context of the retrospective will propose, I hope, a new way to consider his work.
As the Cinémathèque animation curator, I will also be in Annecy to introduce the restoration of the first Canadian animated feature, The Enchanted Village.

For more information on this year’s Annecy programme visit annecy.org

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