Sunday, 14 December 2008

Faith & John Hubley & Tissa David "Eggs"

In researching the work of animator Tissa David I came across the following article in Michael Sporn's Splog, a source of insight and wisdom about all things animated and indeed a future blog (on Splog) item next week. He praises the animating skills of Tissa with good reason in the John and Faith Hubley directed Eggs made in 1970. It is a quirky movie, of its time, very experimental, though with touches of brilliance, not just in a jazzy soundtrack by Quincy Jones. The premise is that two characters, Death, with the gravelly voice of David Burns (ironically only two years before his own death) and Mother Nature (or fertility) played by Anita Ellis, are in conflict over mankind's "burgeoning population problem" as Hubley put it in a Screening Room interview in 1973. Awaking from her slumber in the clouds, the nymph sprinkles dust on the earth from which sprouts new birth. Her partner Death does his best to counter the good work. Lounging in the hammock over the Brooklyn Bridge he lights his cigar on two colliding aircraft, misdirects a vehicle into another. Beneath the pair, driving in their open top motor, is the teeming population of the earth. We are treated to two vignettes, one being in the distant future as a middle class couple choose to commence a family, bypassing the normal methods and having it done by machine; the other a man centuries old who reminicises about his youthful self as a sapling of 100. Both are satires that are very funny individually though straddle the movie in a manner I was not so sure about at first though I am, I think, persuaded. No time required to savour the lovely freedom of movement of the nymph, love at first sight; her body exudes sensuality and the animator's art - the splog provides Tissa's sequences of drawings -whilst the directors allow one to view the movements of the figures in a bravely unadorned manner. Death is similarly marvellously crafted by Tissa, a bit of a lad really. God is ..well...odd. The pair are banished to another planet to restart.


Asterisk Animation said...

Here's something Tissa shared with me about this film:

This film screened at The New School in the early 80's. She had scene it since they finished the picture. Looking up and seeing Mother Nature was, to her, like seeing a person you were very close to many year ago but lost touch.

That statement reveals her true gift as animator.

Also interesting to note, I've been told Eggs played before Goddard's Weekend in New York City. Two of the great traffic jam scenes in cinema back to back.

Ian Lumsden said...

I remember the famous sequence. The director was a favourite of mine at a time when I was trying oh so hard to be arty. I have not seen it for many years now.

And you have some mean films yourself at Asterisk. Prepare for a visit.