Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Animation of the week-The Old Man and The Sea (Alaksandar Petrov)

It's been a bit quiet here for a while as I have been busy with my own comics, but I intend to resume posting, if not at my original post, then at least a couple of times a week.

Quite a while ago I picked up a book called Who's Who in Animated Cartoons by Jeff Lenburg from The Last Book Shop in Bristol, a bookshop where everything is priced two pounds and you can occasionally find an obscure treasure amongst the more mainstream reads. This particular book is something a mammoth tome, a Bible for anyone with more than a passing interest in animation. As well as listening every single significant major or minor player from the most famous animation studios, it lists more obscure and experimental animators such as John and Faith Hubley, John Canemaker, and Kihachiro Kawamoto.

Another one of the animators listed in the book Alkesandar Petrov was a Russian animator who developed a very unique, and very tricky, animation technique that only a handful of animators ever mastered. Using a slow-drying oil paint he would paint his animation onto multiple layers of glass in order to give depth to his visuals using his fingertips instead of a brush. To have such control with his fingers is a very astonishing and enviable skill and because of the level of work you can see going into it it gives you the impression that his animation was done in the 60s or 70s when in fact he was working from the 80's until the end of the 90s.

Stylistically he employs a romantically tinted realism which suits his work as a lot of it is literary adaptions of Puskin, Platonov, and Dostoevsky. However arguably his finest work is his twenty minute adaptation of Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea with its warm colours, its shifting sense of scene and its relaxed tropical pace at the beginning. Of course this is just the impression I get from the opening clip viewed on youtube which you can view here, as with a lot of the more obscure animators in the book, his work is hard to come by and more expensive, but you can get The Old Man and The Sea for about £35 on Amazon.