Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Muybridge's Strings

“Can time be made to stand still? Can it be reversed? A meditation on this theme, contrasting the worlds of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge -- who in 1878 successfully photographed consecutive phases in the movement of a galloping horse -- and a mother who, watching her daughter grow up, realizes she is slipping away from her.” (From 2011 Montreal World Film Festival program book, pg. 63)
Warning: may contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot's elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

This movie offers a very wobbly hand-drawn animation (made of drawing and painting on paper), a classical soundtrack (a canon by J.S. Bach) without any spoken words and a very confusing story. It is clearly inspired by the contribution of Eadweard Muybridge to the genesis of early cinema with the invention of the phenakistoscope and zoopraxiscope. He first "filmed" a horse in motion by using a series of strings that would be successively hit by a running horse thus triggering a succession of camera. The animation seems also to makes allusion to Muybridge discovering that his wife was having affair and the fact that he shot and killed her lover (a murder for which he was later acquitted). There was also lots of scenes of a mother and child dancing and playing piano, but that would not have made much sense to me if I would not have read the program description. Overall, it is an amusing animation.

A co-production with the National Film Board of Canada, which seemed to have produced the musical part of the animation.

Muybridge's Strings: Canada/Japan, 2011, 13 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Koji Yamamura; Original Music, Sound Design: Normand Roger, Pierre Yves Drapeau, Denis Chartrand; Ex. Prod.: David Verrall (NFB), Kenji Saito (NHK), Shuzo John Shiota (Polygon); Prod.: Michael Fukushima (NFB), Keisuke Tsuchihashi (NHK), Shuzo John Shiota (Polygon). A co-production of the National Film Board of Canada, NHK and Polygon Pictures. Screened as part of the “Shorts Official Competition” segment at the Montreal World Film Festival 2011, on August 21st, 21:30 in Maisonneuve Theatre (opening for Dirty Hearts).

No comments: