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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Georges Schwizgebel "Hors-jeu" (1977)

It is nearing the date for that great worldwide festival of soccer. Time enough for another perspective on the great game, through Georges Schwizgebel, one of the great artists of the animation world. Hors-jeu (Off-Side) is a variation on his technique for here he uses rotoscope from live footage shot on Super-8, before applying acrylic paint on cellulose, dabs of colour with a hard brush. (Perspectives, made two years earlier, was his other film using this technique.) The film covers in fascinating detail the to and fros of the match with occasionally a smooth metamorphosis to encompass other sports of basketball and ice hockey. Long, dark shadows trail each player as if the scene were shot from a most oblique angle. The action ebbs and flows, strangely without goals, the ball passed mesmerically from player to player and thence to the opposition to move forward the action not one jot in a game for its own sake. A darker tone is set in the closing frames as other players appear in the game. I find the director compelling in his use of colour and paint. All his movies are treats on the eye, and ear usually, the music here offered in rather dramatic fashion by Guy Boulanger.

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