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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dongzhen Li "The Subway Time" (2009)

The Subway Time is the first animated short I have featured from the Beijing Film Academy. The CG piece from Dongzhen Li is initially notable for its carefully drawn studies of predominantly young people in the morning underground train, each with their own peculiarities and characters, drawn in a slightly stylised anime or manga form – shorthand terms I admit for a complex body of work. I initially thought the drama might restrict itself to a sort of documentary approach, perhaps develop into a romance. Well to an extent the second is true though not before Dongzhen takes us on a frantic, eye-dropping adventure with train crash and fuzzy little men invading the carriages as passengers fight back or flee. As the accompanying making of video demonstrates the technical skill demonstrated here is first class from an obviously talented student. Were I to state a preference I should ask for more observational humour or drama (eating sandwiches, pulling faces, playing with ipod, train crash) than fuzzy aliens but watching the film with others I was outvoted by many to one. (What an alien actually looks like has taxed many directors from Steven Spielberg downwards.) Here the aliens are treated with humour even at the end after the credits and Dongzhen handles the young couple’s flight rather well I felt. He asks on Vimeo for us to enjoy it!! I did.

2 comments:

Distorteddogma said...

The video is very high quality in story and concept. The "making of" proves he took no shortcuts in in the design and execution. It's hard to explain to new animators that all those steps are necessary and that they are actually seen in the resulting video. A fine example of both.
Thanks for finding it.
Be Well.

Ian Lumsden said...

A very fine example and fun too. I received the following extra information from Dongzhen: "I'm glad you like it. This is my first short animation and my graduation film. I’m a college senior will graduate next month.You can call me Dongzen , my Chinese name.
“Li” is the family name.
Maya ,Photoshop, Premiere and AfterEffects is the software I use." I occasionally do work for Adobe and I'm sure they will love this.