Thursday, 7 August 2008

Piotr Dumala "Sciany" (Walls)

Piotr Dumala's Sciany (Walls) is one of the most moving animated movies one is likely to view. Made in 1987 it deals with the incarceration of a man in a dark cell from where there is no escape. It takes us through the changing emotions as he runs at the walls, listens attentively, hopefully at first, to the heavy footsteps of his jailer until, as the movie draws to its close, his spirit is broken and the jailer switches off the light completely. Piotr developed his technique of engraving on painted plaster giving a printed look to his work here; indeed, the darkness of the cell and the highlighted outlines of the sad figure, frame by frame, are works of art. The entire movie, with the sharp sound effects of footsteps on stone floors and the sad music marking the passing of time, is a tour de force and says so much about the political situation Piotr witnessed in his country. He has held senior positions in a number of international universities and is presently professor of the Film School in Lodz, Poland. I studied the works of Kafka and Dostoevsky as a youth and Piotr's work brings the themes hauntingly to life. A little mundane, but the movie also marks the end of my holidays so I should now be able to return emails.

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