Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Andrew Gibbs "Florian"

A cut-out animation today and a rather beautiful one at that. Florian by Andrew Gibbs is a tragic story of doomed love. A young soldier delivers a bouquet of flowers to his beloved to a plaintive and operatic CocoRosie soundtrack - the haunting song, Houses. In fact the young man is delivering his flowers to an idealised woman when he is distracted by a drowning girl. Overseen by the woman he attempts to rescue the girl who desperately clings to a receding thread of life. Set amidst classical iconography, specifically stained glass window figures, with a goddess-like woman surveying the action, Andrew has distilled the action to the level of myth. The magpie selecting glistening coins for his mistress adds to the sense of fable. The use of cut-outs contribute greatly to the tenor of the piece, particularly via the high definition Vimeo version in the link. As the soldier passes the ranks of figures they react in a manner that is most riveting, drawing attention to the tragedy of the drama. It is as if one of them has come alive and we are seeing a re-enactment of the tragedy that has made them petrified images of glass. Cut-outs for glass figures work well: music and animation in perfect harmony I feel. As Andrew informs us, "the animation was was made in South Africa in a home studio. It took 3 months to make. We constructed a 1.2 meter high light box and mounted the camera above it." Other credits should be tendered: Art Director/ Puppets - Zosienka Coombes, Special Effects - Neil Vermaak, Sound Design - Anthony Heanen. Zosienka's cut-outs, drawn on thick card, are exquisite. I see a lot of animation work - and have a lot directed to me; something about the precision, the restrained use of colour and the sheer allusiveness of the piece appeals very much. Andrew studied at The South African School of Motion Picture though came to London to develop his art. Good guys though they are, Radiohead and their representatives missed a trick when Andrew's submission for the aniBoom competition sank beneath the waves - judge for yourself with the storyboard - I'm a Moth.

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