Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Aleksandr Petrov "Rose" & "The Night" ("It's time To Fly" United Airlines)

Aleksandr Petrov’s two romantic commercials for United Airlines are perfect examples of the animator’s art. Rose has a travelling businessman snipping a rose from his garden and guarding it attentively accompanied by knowing glances from all he meets on his journey. Who is the lucky woman? He makes his business presentation and falls asleep on the flight home with the rose by his side. Again we wonder who is to be the lucky recipient? Rose was first broadcast on Mother’s Day 2004. The animation is painted on glass, Aleksandr applying transparent oils with his bare hands and brushes. He then takes multiple backlit photographs of the image using a camera mounted over his workspace before progressing to the next scene, painting directly over the old image before it has dried. The result is sumptuous colour in a free-flowing, liquid style. This is seen to equally beautiful effect in The Night. It’s early afternoon subjective time for the businessman stuck in his hotel room. Outside in the Chinese city there’s all the hustle and bustle of a vibrant nightlife in the early hours. It’s on with the jacket and out of the door to be whisked away by taxi to experience all the joys of carnival dragons, exotic food and wonderfully lit bridges and pagodas. Of course, an attentive stewardess tucks him up smugly for the flight home. The perfect ad for an international traveller! Aleksandr Petrov won an Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1999 for his The Old Man and the Sea. I will be writing about that movie in the next week. From a long line of Russian masters, Aleksandr lives in Yaroslavl though he is one of the the classy directors for the Canadian Pascal Blais Studio. His is the fourth post in this five part series about a campaign using the best animators in the world and giving them the freedom to display their talent.

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