MIAF Day 2 – Focus on Poland 2, Abstract Showcase

23 Jun

By Michael De Martino

Focus on Poland 2

A continuation of Tuesday night’s session; this collection of nine films continued the morbid stories and dark aesthetics of the Polish. Even the comedic films had an undeniable layer of darkness to them. These films mainly consist of black and white with minimal use of colour. Even then, the colour mostly consisted of muted browns and greys. Darkness was also communicated through most of the films’ themes. Millhaven for example, one of the sessions top films, was inspired by a song from our home grown Nick Cave titled “The Curse of Millhaven”, which begins relatively normal but progressively gets more and more disturbing until we learn the young female singing the lyrics to the song is a psychotic killer who leaves us with the comforting words “All God’s children, they gotta die.” Regardless of the consistent eerie atmosphere presented by these films they all share a common attribute of being amazing.

Here are my top picks for this screening:

Exit (Grzegorz Koncewicz, 2006) This black and white film follows a man’s fantasy to win the girl from the apartment building across the street.

The Ritual (Zbigniew Czapla, 2010) Similar aesthetic to Exit, this beautiful stylised film consists entirely of black paint on white paper.

The Razor (Grzegorz Koncewicz, 2009) Arguably the best film of the session. It involves numerous animation techniques to communicate a man’s fear of the razor used to shave his facial hair. Surreal, fantastical, macabre, but most importantly: effective.


Abstract Showcase

Presenter and festival director, Malcolm Turner, opened this session by expressing his thoughts on abstract animation, “Trying to define what abstract animation is is about as much fun as being sodomised with your pants on.” This may well be due to the fact that pretty much all animation is abstract in its own way. This collection of films however delivered films even more abstract than regular abstract animation. These films can be described as experiments with colour, shapes, and film stock, accompanied but avant-garde auditory compositions. The seventeen films making up this session are experimental yet strangely beautiful head trips. They are too extreme to be indifferent about, but love or hate them, they will leave and impression on you.

Here are my top picks for this screening:

An Abstract Day (Oerd van Cuijlenborg, 2010) Arguably the top film of the session. A day-in-the-life story of a couple told through regular sound with abstract visuals to represent the sound.

Fiesta Brava (Steven Woloshen, 2011) The effort put into this film is mind boggling. A 3 minute, 26 second film consisting of scratching and painting the actual film stock to create the finished result. The erratic use of colour intertwined with the upbeat samba music complete the experience.

Metropolis (Mirai Mizue, 2009) Geometric assortment of buildings and lines accompanied by an industrial soundtrack.


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