Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Gianluigi Toccafondo "La Pista" & "La Coda"

Gianluigi Toccafondo is an animator with a very distinctive and personal style - an artist who thankfully has chosen animation as his medium, at least in the following two cases. I am focusing on two similar works. La Pista (1991) is a two minute swirl of images and movement based on the dance routines of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Gianluigi worked alongside fellow artist, Simona Mulazzani. In addition to his brushwork, Gianluigi uses actual footage of the dancers though such is the fluidity of movement and colour that the integration is seamless. The music has a Latin flavour and in combination with the animation is all exhuberance. Humorous touches abound. The man's arm stretches to guide the woman, and stretches and stretches; she becomes a kite-like banner floating above his head, he transforms to a lion hunting its mate, the woman an ostrich leading her man. Gianluigi has spoken of his technique: “Cinema is my starting point. I make photos from film-clips; I xerox them on paper and then paint on them, transforming the original subject. Finally I make the shots with the 35mm film and they become cinema again.” For his earlier movie, the 1989 La Coda (The Tail), Gianluigi made some 1200 drawings of the silent movie star, Buster Keaton, and subjected them to his process of transformation. His hero collapses, climbs and parades on an ever changing canvas that, again, is set to exhilarating violin music. Born in 1965 and graduating in 1985 from Istituto Statale d'Arte di Urbino, Gianluigi now works in Milan and Bologna where he is very much in demand as a designer of books. The Ottawa International Animation Festival did a retrospective of his work in 2005. I know of him for his 1999 Pinocchio, available on DVD from Amazon. I wish I could point to an easily available DVD of the two movies featured here. I plan to feature another of his later works at the weekend.

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