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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Borivoj Dovnikovic "Curiosity" (1966)





Lovers of classic animation should enjoy the second featured film by Zagreb director, Borivoj Dovnikovic. Made in 1966, Curiosity is an amusing study of human foibles. Set on a minimalist stage the lead character sits on the proverbial park bench watching the world go by. The world however is obsessed. It stops and has a peep at the large paper bag perched enigmatically on the vacant berth beside the often dozing man. A dog sniffs the package, children congregate to take a peek, a policeman inspects it, soldiers launch a military manoeuvre against the bag. The absurd is counterpointed with the mundane. A passing ship stops, passengers crane their many necks to take a look and the ship sinks. One passenger struggles ashore, steals a view, before returning to the water. The Zagreb School, as the Croatian animators of the time are known, produced a diverse collection of very fine and indeed striking films. Borivoj’s original short is essentially a single gag animation, finely executed but within the compass of one man or a small studio to produce. In its attitude to life’s absurdities it embraces the Yugoslavian zeitgeist of the times, a freedom to question as well as portray the sheer idiosyncrasy of life, institutions, man's behaviour. Bordo’s Learning To Walk provoked an email bemoaning the dearth of films like this today. I concur. Here we have animation in its purest form, intelligent, crisply drawn and animated, focused humour, adult.

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