Sunday, 14 October 2007

Ljubisa Djukic "Menage Frei"

Ljubisa Djukic's 2005 flash movie, Menage Frei, has been well aired on the internet. Indeed it has been a mainstay of my classes for two years now since I saw it at the 2005 BAF Awards (the link is to their archive.) A huge bear gazes out of a cage that is only just big enough to accommodate him. His attention is drawn to a bright butterfly fluttering outside the cage. It is the only source of beauty in a life dominated by a tyranical though tiny circus master who whips him into submission. The bear is forced to parade round and round the ring on a ridiculously small bicycle wearing a ridiculously small vest. Part of him yearns to escape, to free himself from the ring. Thus Ljubisa's movie explores that need to break away from our confines, though of course some of us never will. It also works on a simple narrative level: will the bear escape from the circus? Artistically it is quite special being beautifully drawn and smoothly animated. Throughout there are touching moments as well as humour. Although born in the old Yugoslavia Ljubisa Djukic's career has been in Germany. He studied both at FH Bielefeld and the Animation School of Hamburg. Ljubisa produced the movie for the Berlin based company, dyrdee. I have featured the movie on the school website. Finally I must praise the music of Benjamin Söllner for a soundtrack that captures the melancholic essence of the situation.

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