Thursday, 24 September 2009

Izabela Plucinska "Jam Session" (2005)

In an apartment above a jazz club an aging couple, Theresa and Viktor, lie awake in bed listening to the noise below. He smokes, she counts, sleep eludes them. In the club, couples romance. A jazz band arrives, momentarily halting proceedings as they stand like some Mafia gang. Their music is sunny however. Above all this is a different, darker universe. The man reads his newspaper. She examines a cheery dress in the wardrobe, strips her nightclothes off. She remarks, almost to herself, that she is too fat. Her husband ignores her nakedness requesting a cup of tea. As the carnival continues, the couple are moved to attempt one last tango. I do enthuse about the animations I feature here but Jam Session is genuinely moving. Polish director Izabela Plucinska cleverly juxtaposes the mundanity of the couple's life with the far more joyous events occurring beneath their apartment in the jazz club. I say moving but this does not take into consideration the humour of the piece. If the screenshots have not informed you, the movie is claymation, the figures and set manufactured in an eerily expressive fashion. In Izabela's hands they come alive beautifully. One of the best gags I have seen in animation is here. The pair squeeze past each other attempting to enter/leave the bathroom. Each is blemished by the other's coloured placticine. Elsewhere the use of the material is exploited to the full. Newspapers, car headlights and, rather wonderfully, the snapshots of the couple in younger days are formed from clay, whilst the atmosphere Izabela generates by her sculpture and lighting, be it the gloom of the bedroom or gaiety of the club, is quite remarkable. The music, by the way, is by RAZ DWA TRZY, their placticine replicas gigging to perfection. Meanwhile, Izabela has just released her latest film, Esterhazy. It looks stunning in trailer. A graduate of the Academy of Arts in Lodz (Graphics and Design) and the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Izabela is another of those treasured folk from Slinky Pictures. The Jam Session DVD may be purchased in an attractive compilation: Best of Animation 1.

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