Spotlight: International Animation


During the month of October the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California, will be spotlighting slices of the history and practice of animation from around the world. The first program, part of their ongoing Alternative Visions series, highlights the work of New Zealand-born artist Len Lye (1901-1980). Lye's early experimental films have many similarities to the 'visual music' style of animation championed by artists like Oskar Fischinger and Hans Richter, but the color and handmade treatment of the film stock itself also foreshadows the work of Stan Brakhage. 'Swinging the Lambeth Walk,' set to music by Django Reinhardt, is a charming example of Lye's direct interventions on to the filmstrip, and his more figurative 'Rainbow Dance' illustrates his interest in dance and motion. The rest of the 'Spotlight: International Animation' month includes a special series on the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, another on Japanese animator Naoyuki Tsuji, and a series of popular Chinese animation. Though hardly a complete picture of the wide field of 'International Animation,' the program does comprise a few entertaining chapters in the history and international reach of the animated moving image. - Caitlin Jones