Half of the duo that created Fest Anča‘s visual design this year is Joanna Kożuch, animator of Polish origin who lives and works in Slovakia. After several student films she made at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, she succeeded with her first professional film – Fongopolis – at Fest Anča, as well as at other festivals and movie theatres.
We all know the chaos, nervousness and rush of train stations. Joanna Kożuch decided to push these elements to their limits. She made the protagonist, a young violin player, wander in an infinite maze of halls, signs and ticket counters. The atmosphere features all the essential inherent characteristics of big train stations. In this Kafkaesque setting we encounter obscure weirdos, uncommunicative station employees, and drunk customers in a dirty station bar that is almost impossible to leave. All this is accompanied by a visual smog of commercial banners attacking the violin player on every corner.
Fongopolis, created by a combination of collage, hand-drawn and digital animation, exaggerates these familiar aspects of train stations, and moves them into a level of magical irrationality reminiscent of Kafka’s The Castle. Despite all that, we can observe a certain inner logic by which the station and the people inside move, work and live. Fongopolis resembles the reality of big cities, and shows us unreasonable aggression, impersonality and inability to communicate. All this results in a confusion that makes a sensitive person feel lost.
The characters in Joanna Kożuch’s film have human faces. But these are not just any faces, but the renowned faces of contemporary Slovak animation. Martin Snopek stars as the protagonist, and you can recognise other animators in the faces of train station employees and people in the bar, which is a witty bonus for viewers familiar with the Slovak animation scene.
The film, produced by Ivana Laučíková’s Feel Me Film production company, features high visual and sound quality, which required a long production process. However, as soon as it was finished, Fongopolis became one of the most interesting animation projects in the last couple of years.
Text: Michal Tallo
Translation: Zuzana Šplhová