The term “animated film” often conjures up images of a narrative story or experimental art piece. This year’s Fest Anča will welcome British director Paul Bush, who will show animated film’s documentary potential too.
Here we’re not talking about documentary films with animated elements of course, but rather those that combine documentary narrative and a visually interesting work of art. Bush’s Shinjuku Samurai (2004) is a prime example: on 27 August 2004, 26 Tokyoites are stopped in the busy Shinjuku entertainment district. As Samurai. While the world around them rushes by. We breathe with them and perceive the contrast between rush and peace.
Paul’s films are often described as addictive – and after watching a few you’ll be hooked too. “Retrospectives of Paul Bush’s work have been screened in the US, Canada, Slovenia, Hungary and the UK. Your only chance to see one in Slovakia is at Fest Anča,” says festival programme director Maroš Brojo. “The screenings will also be attended by the director himself. His films also provide an overview of working with various animation types, which is fascinating for fans and newcomers alike.”
Paul Bush’s art is intelligent, analytical, and at times almost intimate. Just as Mozart composed with obsessive symmetry, Bush composes the basic structure of his films. That’s how he induces a feeling of perfect intimacy. His Lay Bare (2012) is a prime example. The film is a composite portrait of the human body, assembled from detailed photographs of over 500 children, men and women of all ages from all around the world. The concept of beauty being only superficial is common, yet appearance is still important to us. Lay Bare is an ode to the beauty of the human body. Such close-up observation is something we’re only used to with those closest to us. Our body suddenly becomes the eighth wonder of the world.
He employed a similar technique in While Darwin Sleeps (2004). In the film, we are observing an insect collection from the Natural History Museum in Lucerne. More than 3,000 species mill before our eyes. They slowly morph, come to life, move and grow. The insect widens, shrinks and changes colour. We are looking at tiny creatures that seem to be escaping all evolutionists’ theories. We are witnessing mescaline visions that Charles Darwin used to dream of. And the whole time it feels like watching a time-lapse film. Paul gives us a playful tour of English and Swiss museums, where exhibits come to life and reveal their stories, even in his next film, The Five Minute Museum (2015).
Like to find out how visual art can be combined with documentary narrative? Then join Paul Bush’s masterclass at Fest Anča.
The tenth Fest Anča International Animation Festival will take place from 29 June till 2 July in Žilina, Slovakia. Screenings at the Stanica Cultural Centre Puppet Theatre, New Synagogue, City Theatre, and open-air at Andrej Hlinka Square. The Festival is financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.