Sunday, 4 November 2007

Ian Mackinnon "Adjustment" & "Un Amour Mobile"

Ian Mackinnon's DVD compilation under the title Adjustment and other flickering delights is a must have for any aspiring animation student. The title movie is the major work though there is one other piece that is exceptional. Adjustment traces the break-up of a relationship precipitated by and relived through an obsessive requirement by the film's narrator to record events the two have shared. The part animation, part filmed drama is extraordinary in that it becomes something of a manifesto for flip books. I can scarcely conceive of a form of flip book ignored in Ian's work: conventional, hand machine operated, toilet tissue unravelled, images scattered on the floor, scattered in the air and even, at one stage, pasted to the tube station wall so we see through the flickering views the girl's image revealed as the train comes to a halt. If the use of animation is extraordinary, the filming is subtle with a curiously detached quality about it. Many of the shots of Alice are full on portraits, reflecting her partner’s obsessive need to record their relationship. The walls of the apartment itself are white and at times it is as if the director has drained much of the colour from the action so that it echoes the flickering white paper of the flip books. Technically and artistically accomplished, Adjustment is beautifully edited, cutting from past to present almost as if the photographs and drawn images are shuffled into a different order, as indeed they are in the film. The leading actors do not speak, the narration being voiced by Simon Perry. The movie formed part of Ian's graduation from the Royal College of Art in 2006. He also studied and taught Computer Animation at Bournemouth University. I want to put a word in for his 2002 wholly animated short, Un Amour Mobile, however. This is a gorgeous piece of work tracing the comings and goings of a couple in a complex series of rooms, at once architect's model, or arrangement of stage sets. The perspectives change, the rooms tilt, the drawing is sharp and the animation first rate. There are a lot of talented animators out there at the moment, seeking work. One line of work evidently explored by Ian is the promotional music video and his animation for US3, Say You Belong, is most successful. Even here the flip books are rolled out though on a larger scale as the singer performs to an ever changing backdrop. Ian's website is excellent and the films are available in a streamed format though, as always, support independent animators by purchasing the DVD compilation of all Ian's 13 films for the grand total of £5 available from his website.

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