Thursday, 18 December 2008

Theodore Ushev "Sou"

Yesterday I featured an Italian movie made with an Eastern influence; today is it a Bulgarian, living in Canada, and his animation is pure Japanese. Made in 2006 for the National Film Board of Canada in a series, Shorts in Motion: The Art of Seduction Sou was released for mobile ‘phones and iPods. In a most informative article, Three Ways of Avoiding Animation, Richard O'Connor from Asterisk Animation wrote: "Many artists get paralyzed by technique. They master a particular style and approach every problem from that perspective." Theodore Ushev is a very fine artist indeed, his work having a purity of line and shade that stands out. Yet he is never afraid to experiment, to vary the mix. An animation comprising a range of different techniques and components, Sou enters the helter skelter world of Japanese society where traditions and modernism are strangely confused, certainly to Western eyes. From a young couple eating noodles, the movie launches itself into a frenetic dash for all of its nearly three minutes in which the beautiful is intermingled in a plethora of the vulgarly modern. Classically drawn birds clash with cash registers, hordes of bicycles, city lights. Through it all the couple's face is stamped, almost despite the turmoil of life surrounding them. The thumping soundtrack, the combination of live action, still photographs, traditionally painted frames and abstract art is compelling.

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