Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Malcolm Sutherland "The Astronomer's Dream" (2009)

Montreal's Malcolm Sutherland is one of the most innovative and talented of animators. His latest film, the whimsical The Astronomer's Dream, envelops the viewer in a space fantasy for all of its 11 minutes or so. The link is to Vimeo, with comments high on praise, entirely absent in explanation. So here goes. The astronomer falls asleep and obtains a solution to his problem. (Well the problems of astronomers are way beyond me let alone solutions.) An intricately drawn robot discovers an orbiting robot in its telescope. Excited he tears around his observatory, set in an odd little world, until he can capture the thing (her?). As so often happens with dreams the reality does not quite match the expectation and, following a swift transformation, the robot, much changed, is swallowed whole, a bitter pill causing exhilaration or consternation, it being hard to read robots. Like we humans he does not learn from his experience and the whole episode is much repeated. Symbiosis, symbolism or failed robot love story I'm not sure, but there is a cute conclusion that ties everything up rather philosophically. Leon Lo creates the music with some help from Louise Campbell's clarinet whilst Lucas Fehr produces the robot's voice. It all adds up to a surreal piece beautifully drawn with subdued greens and blues. As a boy I used to draw detailed robots and space craft entirely without the delicious comedy of the The Astronomer's Dream that is decidely unastronomer-like. Do robots fall in love, do astronomers dream equations? Malcolm's output is similarly amazing. And his films are very mixed in style. Visit his website, buy the DVD, or perhaps read my previous reviews of Malcolm's work using the blog' search function.

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