Sunday, 3 May 2009

Lucie Stamfestova "Automat" (2004)

Lucie Stamfestova trained at Prague's Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design leaving in 2004; Automat was her graduation film. She was fortunate enough to have the great Jiří Bárta as her professor. The great man's influence and a country's tradition of animating is very evident in a remarkable piece of work. Seven figures queue up at the Automat. In a barren landscape the gaudily lit building attracts its customers like moths to a light. The woman with the lurid, red spectacles distributes the tickets fixing her rather gormless clients with red rimmed eyes. In they go to the Automat to be greeted by an attendant with swivel eyes. Lined up on beds, they are plugged into the Automat itself, to seal a Faustian contract that so nearly goes desperately wrong; or right. Predominantly stop motion puppetry, the eight minute film also has a substantial amount of drawn animation to designate the fantasy world greeting the recipients of whatever rewards are available. Though at some cost. I like the drawn sections demonstrating the animator's versatility, but the puppets and most particularly the pulsating Automat itself are the stars of the show, the latter a huge, bloated living organ. When she graduated Lucie trained at Valence's celebrated Ecole du film d’Ánimation though she has moved back to Prague as an illustrator and storyboard artist for MARK BBDO.

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