Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Jeff Scher "Tulips"

I should keep this for Valentine's Day but in case you are short of ideas here is a premature gift for your loved one. Taken from his monthly contribution to The New York Times, Jeff Scher's animated short Tulips may be rivalled in the romance stakes but even Cupid could not manage more kisses in 90 seconds. In fairness, it's not the quantity that counts, more the quality. The movie consists of a selection of couples embracing and kissing, sensuously, lovingly, excitedly: the girl jumps into the arms of her lover, wrapping her legs around around him, different generations kiss differently, but they kiss, they share, they love each other. All the time the colours change, silhouetted, superimposed with a myriad intricacies that enrich the narrative. Jeff's rotoscoped technique involves him filming sequences then working on the individual frames, adding colour, subtracting colour, highlighting the characters in starburst or fireworks. Into the mix he showers abstract blocks of pastel for a fraction of a second, bric-à-brac of life. Any man who can surreptitiously slip the cover of the The Lovin' Spoonful album into a Valentine's Day animation has my vote: "I'm lost in a daydream, dreamin' 'bout my bundle of joy." Not the band though in soundtrack but the ukelele of Shay Lynch . Tulips was triggered by Thomas Edison’s 1896 film The Kiss. I wonder why "Tulips"? I could ask Jeff, he's an engaging fellow. What the heck, I give tulips for Valentine's Day: pastel coloured flowers adding an early dash of Spring to Winter. Lovely flower. Why not "Tulips"? For better images of his movie, visit Jeff's website and sample his images. He did tell me that the last couple (and the screenshots) is Jeff and his wife. What a Valentine's Day present. Kiss and movie. The following is the most romantic description of kisses I can muster - Victor Hugo: "How did it happen that their lips came together?/ How does it happen that birds sing,/ that snow melts, that the rose unfolds,/ that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill?/ A kiss, and all was said."
Postscript: I should have asked Jeff first time round - "Two lips, the things you kiss with. If there were a flower called fourlips I would have used that." I try to keep my stupidity a secret.

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