Thursday, 11 October 2007

Regina Pessoa "Tragic Story with Happy Ending"

Tragic Story with Happy Ending made in 2005 by Portuguese filmmaker Regina Pessoa is a special movie. Regina tells the story of a young girl who does not fit into small town life because she is so different to the rest. This difference is the rather dramatic one of having a heart that is too small for her. It has to beat so loudly that folk are disturbed in their work and sleep. They resent her. In fact, rather like the ugly duckling that turned out to be a swan, the girl has a uniqueness that offers her salvation and escape. So much for the story but the film’s success lies in the sheer quality of the pencil drawing. The original drawings are transferred to glossy paper, brushed with india ink, and scratched with a sharp blade giving an end effect of an engraving. Almost every shot is worthy of framing, from the hostile population, the haunted face of the girl, the view from her upstairs window as she looks down on the town and its inhabitants. The use of shadow or perspective to emphasise her ostracism from the community is of rare quality. Some of the very finest animation of its type is seen in the people going about their mundane tasks and chores, their sheer ordinariness contrasting with the girl's very special qualities that, unrecognised by her neighbours, develop as the seven minute movie unfolds. The soundtrack by music and sound designer Normand Roger, with its persistent beat that echoes her heart, is very successful in transmitting the urgency of the situation. The film has won prizes galore, notably The Annecy Cristal Award International Animated Film Festival in 2006. There are downloadable versions of the movie about though I note YouTube has had some taken down and I doubt whether the posted copies still available are legitimate. Therefore visit the film's site (with an impressive Flash interface), the film company's site, or that of the National Film Board of Canada from where you may purchase the DVD, download sizeable clips from the movie as well as some high resolution images from the film. As I have said before, independent film-makers deserve remuneration for their efforts.

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