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Saturday, 31 May 2008

Emma Calder "Springfield"




I've been away. Maybe I should get in some guest writers? I have remarked before on the durability of quality animation. Emma Calder made Springfield in 1986 and I swear no-one would have known it was not released yesterday. Emma's heroine is half woman, half vacuum cleaner. Well to be exact, her bottom half is machine the top half rather attractive woman, at least she is when she dolls herself up and ventures out of the house. Before that though there's an awful lot of hoovering and dusting to be done. Her only relationship appears to be with her black cat. Oh, and have I mentioned the housework. Apart from one moment when the vinyl on the turntable transports her back to her holidays at the seaside and she is happy, the woman has a lonely life up there in her multi-storey apartment surrounded by photographs of the cats. Cue for a spot of make-up at the mirror and off she goes to join similarly rather lonely women at the bingo hall. Decisions about her life's direction need to be taken before the poor girl drowns. This accomplished film deals wittily with the subject of a woman in danger of losing both confidence and identity. The drawings have a sense of fun about them, whether it be zooming in to the underside of the vacuum cleaner or the multi coloured collection of ladies poring over their numbered cards; and always there is a certain zaniness to the piece, counterpointed by a sadness such as the view from the upstairs tower block. Emma's animation/design studio in London is Pearly Oyster Productions. She qualified from London College of Printing and, as if I didn't guess, the Royal College of Art. A word for Ged Haney, who also works at the studio. Ged produced the words and music that manages to be of its time and yet modern. It is a quite exceptional soundtrack of songs and melodies that succeeds in capturing the zest and occasional delicacy of the enterprise. More work by Emma to be reviewed here shortly as I'm a great fan.

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