TA 370 The Animated Feature
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P8F 300Di00459 II p Psewsm mi mrcvcam PAFE R We assure campl ance with US Gnvemmen capyright Eaw Permiss m to upiicate any mawrials cazavmed by cagyright Eaw hag b ft geaured team that approached a given situation then split up for solo episodes before coming together again at the finale While the for mula began to wear thin toward the end of the 19303 the abovenamed shorts presented the Disney machinery working at full steam wonderful characters in funny fantastic situations The only criticism one could make of these shhrts is that they were becoming too refined too concerned with characterization and not enough with gags and movement This development was almost inevitable as animators who had been weaned on story thin fast moving musical cartoons stretched out and put their accumulated knowledge and skill to Work No one except the Disney crew could have milked character gags the same way but this tended to make the car toons soft and introspective instead of funny A story would stop dead in its tracks in order for Pluto to sniff around a rnagi cian s hat in MICKEY39S GRAND orsna and Goofy could play hide andseellt with an almost human piano for endless footage in MOVING oar Even within the studio there was a feeling that the new cartoons lacked the spirit of the early 1930s when Mickey and his cohorts projected such a carefree attitude and the animators were unencumbered by endless detail and an enormous assemblyline oper ation This was all part of growing pains While refinement of the Disney stars Was occupying some members of the staff Others were making advancements of a dif ferent kind on the SILLY SYMPHONIES As Work began on a feature film project Walt relied more and more on the SYMPEONIES to give his crew a chance to develop new tech niques Greater sophistication in layout backgrounds and the like were matched by the ability to create new and sympathetic Characters in each sevenminute short Spe c VP a a P b zS an r N N WALT DISNEY cific achievements such as the first success ful animation of speed in THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE were hailed not only within the studio but throughout the animation indus try Other lms like WHO KILLED COCK Ros1N MUSIC LAND THE counter coUs1N LITTLE HIAWATHA FERDINAND TIIE BULL MOTHER oooss ooss HOLLYWOOD and THE UGLY quotDUCKLING brought additional praise and prestige to the Disney crew TIIE om MILL released in 1937 marked yet another milestone for the studio aside from being an outstanding cartoon it intro duced Disney s latest technical marvel the multiplane camera Built at a cost of 70000 and standing fourteen feet high this inven tion enabled the camera to look through a series of animation quotplanesquot instead of just one so that the finished picture would have a feeling of depth and dimension The famous establishing shot of THE OLD MILL was layer upon layer of landscape frorn reeds and thistles in a pond in the fore ground with ripples in the pond to the mill itself to a procession of cows walking behind the structure to the clouds passing in the sky Ub lwerks had developed something sim ilar in the mid 1930s but he never carried it to this degree of intricacy Maintaining sharp focus and controlling illumination on seven levels was just part of the challenge William Stull described the awesome operation of the multiplane camera in an article for American Cinematographer in February 1938 The problems of perspective proportions and timing in these multzplane scenes can be incredi bly complex Picture for instance a traveling shot in which the camera folloWs an animated char acter walking through a landscape In one plane the drawings on celluloid of the character would animate following one scheme of perspective and timing Behind him the back 51 quot52 OF MICE AND MAGIC Disney s famous multiplane camera setup The camera top looks down through several layers of drawings each one separately illuminated from the side ground would move past not only in a different physical plane but timed to an entirely different but necessarily rigidly proportioned degree of movement between exposures In the foreground might be one two or three sets of C ll L1lO1dS perhaps animated perhaps merely moving past but proportioned and timed still differently The range of adnxstments permitted by this 1ntr1 cate photographic set up 1S incredible Each of the stages is adjustable up and down along the cam era s optical axis and may as well be swung B71 any direction lateral1y north or south east or west as the Disney engineers phrase it The camera itself 18 susceptible to all these adust rnents and may be rotated through to a full 360 degree circle about the lens axis as well in all camera backgrounds foregrounds and animated action are capable of no less than 64 separate and dzstmct adjustments for every frame exposed Two engineering graduates of the Cal1forn1alnsti tute of Technology are kept constantly busy fig uring out the mathematics involved in drawing and photographing these rnultiplane scenes Thanks to their efforts the problems of actual photography are minimized Of course this camera was merely a tool not an end in itself It remained for Disney and l39l1S creative staff to devise sequences worthy of multiplane treatmentmmaterial that would be enhanced by the dramatic pos SilZ1ll Zl S this device offered them Complementing the development of this camera was Disney39s establishment of an effects department Animators had been informally classified by specialties before but this was the first time anyone was ever designated to handle nothing but effects Now character animators were free to con centrate on their actors while a separate department that included Ioshoa Meador Cy Young Don Maclvlanus and George Rowley added clouds rain rippling water reflections or whatever elements a sequence called for This development must have come as quite a shock to veteran animators who could remember a time when they were respons1 ble for everything connected with a scenew the characters the backgrounds the layout the gags and even the inking I Klein recalls that there were so many embellishments added to his animation on WYNKEN BLYNKEN AND NOD including multiplane footage that he did not recognize his own work when it came on the screen The culmination of all this technical and talent development was the production of Disney s first featurelength film srrow WHITE AND THE seven DWARFS Looking back Disney once said Web ster sums up the spirit of the snow witrirs enteiprise in his definition of adventure risk jeopardy encountering of hazardous enterprise a daring feat a bold undertaking in which the issue hangs on unforeseen events Disney was venturing into the unknown in more ways than one He had proved it possible for an animated cartoon to involve an audience emotionally for seven minutes but there was no way of knowing whether this involvement could be sustained for sev enty minutes or more People in the film industry predicted that no adult would want to see a feature length cartoon Disney rec ognized these obstacles and believed that he could overcome them The biggest problem was developing an approach to the construction of a feature You couldn t possibly realize all the things We had to learn and unlearn in doing SNOW WHITE Disney told reporter Paul Harrison when the film was completed We started out gaily in the fast tempo that is the special technique of short subjects But that Wouldn39t do we soon realized there was danger of wearing out an audience There Was too much going on Simplicity was one of the keys to a success ful cartoon feature and as Disney learned One of the most difficult things to achieve Relying on a classic story like SNOW wnrrs Was both an advantage and a problem Told In its most basic form the plot was too thin and too brief to sustain a feature but esh WALT DISNEY ing it out might add unnecessary clutter and diffuse the impact of this famous tale What Disney needed was a cohesive script in which one sequence would ow into the next and comic or musical interludes would not seem like padding He got his wish but it involved some difficult decisions along the way A lot more than just experimental shots and drawings went into the wastebas ket said one contemporary report Two long completed sequences one Where the dwarfs had a soup concert and another where they build a bed to give to Snow White were reluctantly snipped out to save running time One night two thousand feet went at one whack Disney had to order it and it hurt him a lot more than it did you Actually running time was not the main rea son the footage was cut Walt felt these enter taining but extraneous scenes hindered the progress of the story When THE THREE LITTLE PIGS had pre sented a trio of similar characters with dis tinctly different personalities it had been hailed as a major step forward Now Disney topped himself by creating seven wholly individual personalities each with physical characteristics all his own and a point of View to match There was no mistaking Doc for Grumpy or Dopey for Bashful in the fin ished filrn and that was the result of pains taking attention to detail by everyone on the 39 Disney staff It is still difficult if you draw one char acter and then switch to another said Bill Tytla at one of Don Graham39s classes because the spacing on them is different the way they handle their hands is different and their timing in a certain situation If Doc would say something they wouldn t all turn and look at him at the same time Happy would probably be first and Sleepy would probably be last in his reaction to a sentence and by the time Sleepy was turned the other 53 54 39 OF MICE AND MAGIC 39TIoDLtc1 acm 39 F1 anew wHrrEquot Cow gtAmTNE 395t39zES TgtwARr1395 AND SHOW wwr Xbfgfg Eu DY gg S y y e7 39 er A atria ae39T t W4AN F Al T rtE39I DuoA439quot39 l Model sheets from szvow WHITE AND THE savers swarms emphasizing relative size proportions and pasture Walt 39 Disney Productions fellow would anticipate into his business There is never any mechanical mass movement Every individual scene in the film became an intricate project Sharnus Culhane ani mated the dwarfs march home from their mine while they sang quotHeigh Ho 391 Worked six months on that goddamn thing and I don t think it s a Whole minute in the film he says What took six months We1l in the first place the proposition was very difficult Each Dwarf had a different style of Walk They were always in arow and they had to stay even And they often Walked in perspective sharp perspective in some cases which meant that you had to sit down and map out every damn walk with a blue pencil and a ruler In perspective you would diminish these steps so that everybody diminished properly even if they had a diE ferent step with Dopey out of step I had two assistants and one in betweener and we all worked about six months There was that much work Just getting it right wasn39t enough It had to be good and no one was a tougher critic 56 OF MICE AND MAGIC Part of the nished product the heartrending climax of snow WHITE AND THE sevnv nwmrs 1937 Walt Dis ney Productions most importantly Tytla said We are trying to keep animation simple which is a very hard thing to do Of all the problems this film presented perhaps none was so great as the animation of realistic human characters Some critics found this the film s major shortcoming par ticularly in the drawing of the Prince People in the animation industry had too much respect for Disney s achievement to dispar age the human animation but many of them passed it off as mere rotoscoping Rotoscoping is the practice of tracing the movements of live actors onto animation paper and Disney publicity made no effort to hide the fact that live footage was used for this feature The Woman who posed for Snow White then married to animator Art Babbitt later became famous as dancer Marge Champion But Grim Natwick the man chie y responsible for animating Snow White clar ifies the stories about techniques used to crew ate this character We Went way beyond rotoscope he says And even when we took a rotoscope drawing her chin came almost as far down as her bosom would be so we had to reconstruct the entire body we did that by making her very shortwaisted You see Snow White was really only about five heads high A realistic human form is usually sixl So if the leg motion was nice we could get some use out of it but it all had to be redrawn of course I remember one scene I had where there were 101 rotoscoped tracings that would mean that they traced every second frame on the film i used drawing one and drawing one hundred and one and I filled in the rest because there wasn t enough in it to give us anything to animate Let me say something about realism Natwick continues She was not actually that real There were probably two thousand different drawings made trying to develop Snow White39s character She started out as a little fairy boollt character and that didn t seem right As the character changed they gave us two complete months to practice animation on Snow White before we had to make a single scene that would go into the picture So if a model came in from the designing department that we animated and we found things We didn t like we simply Went back and told them As a matter of fact every model that came to an animator at Dis ney s did not have to be animated until the animator Wrote his okay on it Natwick had no less than five assistants on SNOW WHITE and with good reason quotEach drawing was complicated and was virtually an illustration I39ve always had tre mendous respect for Marc Davis and Les Novros and the other fellows that Worked with me They had to be excellent Those drawings were as good as you saw in the average illustrated children s book in those days or even today The dwarfs were much easier to draw because you tied the nose eyes and whiskers together and if it wasn39t a perfect inbetween you wouldn t notice it But you could not have an imperfect in between on Snow White because the eyes were in an open space the eyes and other elements like the mouth had to follow through perfectly otherwise you d get a jitter or a dance as happened with some prints even though we used every trick we could think of to avoid it The amount of work involved in Snow White s creation was so enormous that no one could have calculated it ahead of time We considered changing the name of the picture from SNOW WHITE to FRANKENSTEIN Disney once remarked referring not only to the never ending work but to the ever mounting costs He had originally hoped to produce the feature for 250000 but by the time he was finished the figure was six times that amount Along the way tremendous strides were made in the development of animation techniques at both the creative and technical levels While this was a source of great satisfaction to Disney he mod the fact that so many things were discovered While the picture was in progress You see we39ve learned such a lot since we started this thing i wish I could yank it back and do it all over again All that mattered now was the public s reaction None of the technical achievements or discoveries would have counted for much if the finished product hadn39t delivered the goods quot Vcm39ety s reviewer summed up the World wide response as Well as anyone when he wrote There has never been anything in the theatre quite like Walt Disney s snow WHITE AND rue seven DWARFS seven reels of animated cartoon in Technicolor unfolding WALT DISNEY an absorbing interesting and at times thrill ing entertainment So perfect is the illusion so tender the romance and fantasy so emo tional are certain portions when the acting of the characters strikes a depth comparable to the sincerity of human players that the film approaches real greatness What impressed people most was the film s ability to evoke a variety of emotions from the unrestrained happiness of Snow White s frolics with the dwarfs to the vivid horror of the Queen39s transformation into a wicked witch the infectiously cheerful ren ditions of songs like Heigh Ho and Whis tle While You Work to the overwhelming sadness of Snow White39s apparent death That any film let alone an animated cartoon could elicit such a remarkable range of responses from adults and children alike was astonishing All the love dedication and hard work that went into SNOW wnrrs paid off The film was a tremendous hit in 193738 earning more than eight million dollars around the world Its songs became not only hits but standards and the characters enjoyed the same merchandising success that Mickey and his friends had known since the early 1930s For Walt and his staff there w 0 great s ts isfaction No other project ever recapturpd the special excitement of this the first feature film There would be other challenges ahead but SNOW WHITE remained a unique experi ence for the many people who worked on it Not that anyone was resting on laurels No sooner was snow WHITE completed after months of back breaking work to meet a Christmas premiere date than fullscale production commenced on PINOCCHIO The two years between SNOW WHITE and PINOCCHIO were years of confusion swift expansion reorganization said Disney 57 58 or Mics AND MAGIC Hundreds of young people were being trained and fitted into a machine for the manufacture of entertainment which had become bewilderingly complex And this machine had been redesigned almost over night from one for turning out short subjects into one aimed mainly at increased feature production One by product of this expansion which had begun in the mid 1930s was Walt s increasing reliance on intermediaries to supervise the everwgrowing output at the studio These directors were former anima tors whom Disney had promoted Most were capable men but some of them feared for their position and wanted to avoid displeas ing Walt at all costs Consequently they bore down on animators and artists and discour aged invention and new ideas that Walt him self Would have approved When the anima tors got to deal with Walt directly and saw this to be the case their frustration only increased quotquot1 had more luck with Walt in sweatboxes than I did with the directors affirms ani mator Al Eugster Walt himself knew What he wanted but the directors had to guess at what he wanted so they were in a tough spot I got the feeling that if I39d always worked with Walt i would have made out a lot better It was a very harsh place to Work in says Shamus Culhane but harsh with every kind of advantage Even in those days a rnovieola a filrn editing and viewing machine cost twelve hundred bucks or something but everyone had one You could shoot stuff over as long as you wanted At every other studio animators worked at drawing boards with wooden disks over the light bogtlt Di3ney s disks were cast aluminum The marvelous thing about the studio Culhane adds was that you could work all day the whole eight hours and at the end of the day look at what you did and put it in the wastepaper basket with no compunction Nobody would ask you why you did it they would ask if you didn t Despite financial pressures Disney re fused to compromise with quality and he was determined to incorporate into PINOC curo all the lessons he had learned during the production of SNOW W1 ELITE Plans took shape to make this second feature even more elaborate than the first Disney later declared rgtINoccn1o might have lacked snow wHIrE s heart appeal but technically and artistically it was superior Story concept remained the biggest obsta cle One day Walt made the difficult decision to scrap five months Workmincluding ani rnationbecause it just wasn t right The PINOCCHIO team started from scratch and built a much better film The cast of characters in PINOCCHIO pro vided Disney s animators with a new set of hurdles Pinocchio had to project the likable qualities of a little boy While remaining a Wooden puppet Jiminy Cricket had to reg ister as an important character even though his size was a fraction of the others The Blue Fairy had to be a beautiful woman yet ethereal and not a quotglamour girl The two heavies Stromboli and Worthinggcon Foul fellow the fox were designed as completely different types of villainsmthe former a flamboyant personification of evil and the latter a roguish kind of con man Anirnating Monstro the whale presented an entirely different problem as described in a Popular Mechanics article from January 1940 The creation of Monstro the whale lay rather equally between the regular character animators the effects animators and the layout men For months they experimented with some way to fix up Monstro so that his big bulk took on depth perspective and highlighting The Whale was first drawn in pencil on regular animation paper Then the drawing was traced to a special type of colored paper and the highlights rendered in chalk From this point the drawing went through a trac ing dyeing photographing process on a newly developed type of sensitive film In this way sub tleties of highlights and perspective were obtained as well as nuances and shades of color ing impossible with regular paints Whale models created within the studio also helped the anirna tors and layout men with their project A minia ture whale skeleton some five feet long was made which the artists could twist and turn at will The model department fashioned a rib cage and lungs which could be pumped to simulate actual breath ing Clay models were made and painted in oil so that the artists could study probable highlights and light changes on Monstroquots skin The layout rnen discovered the illusion of great size could only be carried out by paying minute attention to perspective They drew him to approximate the scale of a threestory building Wherever possible the Whale filled up most of the camera field Even the sound effects accompanying Monstro required extra Work and experimen tation most of which was in the capable hands of sound wizard Jim Macdonald The finished film was more sophisticated than SNOW WHITE in terms of story and imagery as Well as technique If snow WHITE was a fairy tale laced with moments of terror PINOCCHIO was an extended nightmare with occasional humorous interludes Many of its major sequences the abduction of Pinoc chio by Stromboli the transformation of Larnpwick into a jackass on Pleasure Island the chase at sea to elude Monstro the Whale ranllt among the most terrifying moments in screen history It was this full bodied sense of drama that made PINOCCHIO so powerfully effective WALT DISNEY A series of sketches showing the preliminary version of Pinocchio which was later scrapped Walt Disney Productions Pinoccino marked Disney s second fea ture success Critics outdid themselves in singing his praise and skeptics who had thought that snow WHITE could neverbe topped were silenced Many people feel that PINOCCHIO was Disney39s finest achievement in the featurefilm category But now Disney surprised everyone by turning to a project so different so unusual that it would never be duplicated by Dis ney himself or any of his rivals The original title of the film was CONCERT FEATURE but it was later changed to FANTASIA The genesis of this film was a SILLY SYM PHONY illustrating Paul Dulltas s famous musical piece The Sorcerer s Apprentice with Mickey Mouse in the leading role A chance meeting between Walt and Leopold Stokowski led to the great conductofs partic 5 C 60 OF MICE AND MAGIC Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer s Apprentice struggles against the tide of Water he has magically created in these animation drawings by Preston Blair from FANTASIA 1940 Walt Disney Productions ipation in the film Disney was exuberant and his expectations for the short were real ized by an enthusiastic crew The crew39s enthusiasm and the necessity of recording Stokowski with one hundred musicians at an outside studio ran the cost of this short subject up to 125000 At this point Roy Disney admonished Walt that there was no Way to recoup their investment on such an expensive short So in the spring of 1938 while PINOCCHIO was still in prog ress Walt set in motion the idea of reengig ing Stokowski for an entire feature of which THE soncsnsifs APPRBNTICE would be a part Once struck by this idea Disney plunged into the project with his usual fervor telling chief engineer Bill Garity that he wanted a completely new projection and sound system for this film The next chore was selecting other pieces of music that like Sorcerer would lend themselves to visual adaptation The final selection included Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky The Rite of Spring by Stra vinsky quotPastoral Symphony by Beethoven Dance of the Hours by Ponchinelli Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky and Ave Maria by Schubert Debussy s Claire de Lune was recorded but not used in the film Each segment was designed to create a different mood and feature an individual animation style quot391quot occata and Fugue with its visual impressions of the sound track was inspired by the experimental films of Oskar Fischinger Ironically Fischinger hirn self had proposed a collaboration with Stow kowski in 1936 the project had ne ver come to fruition and now three years later Fis chinger Was on the Disney staff helping to create this unusual sequence But the corn mitteelike atmosphere of the studio was sti fling for an artist like Fischinger moreover both Disney and his artists have grave sus picions about and a certain contempt for the Word abstract In a studio newsletter effects animator Miles Pike recalled the initial discussion of this sequence when reference was made to Fischinger s Work as pretty good stuff But he also recounted one of the other partici pants snapping quotWe don39t want anything like that do we and someone else reply ing Hell no Yet the whole idea of the sequence was the depiction of musical sounds as abstract figures and the animators did take their cue from Fischinger s prelimi nary work Fischinger later left the studio frustrated and unhappy According to the studio newsletter quotOne of the most arduous tasks in developing an overall style for the Nutcracker was that of getting away from a tenacre lot type of stag ing and nally achieving a tiny and intimate world as a stage In this gnat seye view of things was fantasy finally found The most memorable portion of this segment was the dance of the mushrooms a disarmingly sim ple and eloquent piece of work animated by Art Babbitt The Rite of Spring was chosen to depict the creation of the world Walt wanted the result to look quot39as though the studio had sent an expedition back to the earth 6000000 years ago and to that end his staff busied itself with extensive scientific research Some of the practical solutions to animation prob lems had little to do with science however Bill Roberts told his colleagues Draw a twelve story building in perspective then convert it into a dinosaur and animate it And art dirctor Dick Kelsey composed a poem that expressed his particular dilemma in styling this segment quotThe Rite of Spring is a moody thingSo make it dark as night With lots of jets and black silhouettesBut be damn sure it s light Personality animation was one of the key factors contributing to Mickey Mouse s suc cess in THE soRcsRsR s APPRENTICE Fred Moore supervised the treatment of Mickey and redesigning him provided eyes with pupils for the first time on screen But the SORCERER depended on effects animation as much as any segment of FANTASIA and art WALT DISNEY director Zack Schwartz recalls one particular achievement in this area Ugo D Orsi ani mated the water in THE soRcEREn s APPREN TICE alone by himself He did the Gels him self He did it in pencil first but then instead of handing it to someone in ink and paint he did it all D Orsi shot film of water and studied it frame by frarne not to trace it but to find the quality of water he could seize upon and animate The PASTORAL SYMPHONY is notable chiefly for the stir it created when the Hollywood Production Code office insisted that the centaurettes created by Fred Moore would have to wear brassieres Artisticaiiy its most interesting achievement lay in the attempt to create stylized backgrounds 39Forms were suggested rather than realistically pre sented stated the staff newsletter DANCE or THE HOURS was one of the film s bestreceived numbers because it combined elements of music dance and comedy in such a delightful and unpretentious manner The idea of alligators ostriches and hippo potamuses executing elegant and accurate ballet steps was irresistible and the Disney artists gleaned valuable pointers from the drawings in this fanciful mode by Heinrich Kley In addition to having actual choreog raphy which was inspired in part by live action film of leading baiiet dancers the sequence had movement that was dictated by graphic considerations quotPrior to rough layout we adopted a linear motif for each sequence wrote art director Ken O Connor In the first sequence our motif was vertical and horizontal in design This tied in with the vertical necks and legs of the ostriches and as far as possible the birds were kept moving horizontally and vertically In the second sequence We adopted the ellipse as a motif This was more active than the previous one and tied in with the rotund hippos and their circular 61 02 OF MICE AND MAGIC Detaii and more detail Betty Reynolds adds nishing touches to a quotcentaurette cel for FANTASIA ballet movements For the sequence involving the crocodiles we introduced a zig zag motif as being most violent It was related to the angular reptilian construction and carried out by diagonal paths of action Similar thoroughness was evident in the decisions about use of color The animation in this sequence was a tour de force with particularly memorable work from Howard Swift on the ostriches and Preston Blair on the hippos Says Blair When directors like Norm Ferguson and T llee have animators that continue the cre ative process into their animation instead of just grinding the stuff out they deserve great credit for encouraging instead of stifling the animators creative processes Walt Disney felt very strongly on this point and in FAN TASIA it shows as a production where the creative machine was tuned at full speed and running on every cylinder One of the most famous single pieces of animation in FANTASIA is Bill Tytla s render ing of the Black God in NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN Disney knew that Tytla was the right man to tackle this weighty assignment and gave him all the help in the world to get the job done lltayNielser1 s storyboard illus trations for this sequence pinpointed the crucial visual elements and movements and Bela Lugosi was hired to enact the role of the Black God in liveaction footage which Tytla then studied The result was a sequence that many feel has never been surpassed for sheer power of movement The BALD MOUNTAIN segment and its expression of evil are contrasted with the purity of the AVE MARIA segment for the film s finale While this last section may not seem as intricate or expressive as Tytla s work staffer Ed Gershman wrote in 1940 39Some of the closest animation ever attempted by any animator in the studio was the animation of the nuns in the long pan So close was this animation that the difference in the Width of a pencil line was more than enough to cause jitters not only to the am mation but to everyone connected with the sequence The technical problems in making FANTA SEA must have seemed insurmountable at times Sound engineer Robert Cook discov ered that the studio s rawfilm supplier had used a new kind of ink t edge nurnber the film and it was aking off and sending par ticles all over the film frame which inter fered with sound quality when the footage was reprinted No cleaning solution seemed to work and technicians had to actually paint out the alrnost invisible specks In the camera department there were other headaches quotFANTASIA was the first feature to make use of the studio39s two new multiplane cranes according to the studio newsletter Of the over 8000 feet shot 3500 feet was multiplane footage more than in SNOW WHITE and PINOCCHIO combined Due to an unprecedented amount of multiple exposure the average exposure per frame ranged around the 212 mark 20527 feet of negative passed beneath lenses in order to produce 8000 final screen feet Adding to the technical challenges were the problems that Disney faced with Fanta sound a rnultitrack rnultispeaker sound sys tern that was stymied because of war priori ties which made mass installations of the equipment unfeasible When all was said and done was this tre mendous effort worthwhile Some critics thought so while others charged Disney with musical blasphemy The public was equally divided in its reaction with the masses who comprised Disneyquots major audiw ence staying away put off by the movie39s highbrow connotations For the artists and technicians involved FANTASIA was probably the greatest chal lenge of their careers And Walt was unswerving in his sentiments about the proj ect 39rANrAsIA merely makes our other pio tures look immature he said at the time of the film s release and suggests for the first time what the future of this medium may well turn out to be What I see way off there is too nebulous to describe But it looks big and glittering That s What I like about this business the certainty that there is always something bigger and more exciting just around the bend and the uncertainty of everything else Uncertainty was most assuredly the right word to describe Disney s prospects at this juncture for the next few years held in store a series of events he never could have predicted The first blow was World War II The out break of war in Europe cut off Disney s highly profitable foreign market at a time WALT DISNEY when he badly needed that revenue All the profits from snow wnrrs were poured back into studio expansion and the construction of a modern new plant in Burbank as well as into production costs on PINOCCHIO and sanrasra The inconvenience of being denied materials for Fantasound systems in 1940 was just the beginning of things to come Americas participation in the war beginning in December 1941 stripped Dis ney of staff and vital supplies such as color film stock and then the government enlisted his all out support for the production of war time films He was forced to give to govern ment demands priority over those of paying audiences Another problem was the commercial fail ure of sanrasra coupled with heavy criti cism in many quarters This discouraged Disney who had believed that his innova tion would signal a new dawn for the ani mated cartoon He could have taken the easy DeeIns Taylor Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney at a recording session for FANTASIA 63 as OF MICE AND MAGIC route and made a simple followup to snow WHITE AND res seven owaars but instead he decided to venture into new and unex plored territory He learned that such crea tive experimentation has its price tag Plans to update FANTASIA on a yearly basis by inserting new musical selections were never realized The cruelest blow many feel was the bit ter studio strike that occurred in mid1941 Disney was a visionary and a genius but he was also a selfmade man His painful expe riences with crooked distributors and dis loyal employees during his first years in business helped to shape his views on suc cess and turn him into a kind of benevolent despot No expense was spared when it came to production at the studio Disney even insti tuted a bonus payment plan for what was deemed topquality animation But because Walt drove himself so hard he expected the same degree of dedication from everyone in his employ Many people Worked nights and weekends to finish SNOW WHITE on time with no such thing as overtime salaries to compensate them Disney felt the personal glow of success and thought his coWorkers would share that feeling But by 1940 the studio had grown to factory proportions an analogy that seemed particularly appropriate to the new Burbank facilities which lacked the ramshackle hom iness of the Hyperion shop Fewer people on the staff had direct access to Walt and conse quently had no particular compassion for his dedication to the cartoon medium They merely felt neglected and underpaid Disney s naive but stubborn attitude to unionism added fuel to the fire and inspired many upperechelon artists to join the labor movement Walt issued statements in which he spoke of union organization as a legal and proper procedure but privately he was dis traught that his workers would want to band against him after he had given so much to them and to the animation industry in general His ill advised attempts to quell thentide by firing union activists only made matters worse On May 28 1941 some five hundred picketers were lined up outside the studio The Disney strike is a complicated subject with many serious questions to be consid ered on both sides of the fence but one thing is clear It seriously changed the atmosphere of the studio and affected the Work produced there in years to come 39 For one thing Disney lost many of his fin est men including Art Babbitt and Bill Tytla along with a younger group that eventually formed the nucleus of UPA John Ilubley Dave Ililberman Steve Bosustow Adrian Woolery Bill Hurtz and others For some of the people who stayed the communal feel ing and spirit of adventure were never recap tured Certainly Walt was never quite the same in his attitude toward the staff It is ironic that in the midst of the strike RKO released TIIE RELUCTANT DRAGON a liveaction tour of the Disney studio show ing the humor and harmony among the Workers as they created cartoon entertain ment The most interesting and important section of this lightweight film however is the BABY WEEMS segment a charming story about an infant with a genius IQ which is told as a series of storyboard sketches with minimal animated movement At thetirne it was seen merely as something different per haps to some it was a cheater because it required so little work But in retrospect BABY WEEMS foreshadows the stylization and limited animation of UPA Whether con sciously or not some of the Disney artists were eager to show as early as 1941 that there was more than one way to approach the animated cartoon The last Disney features to emerge unscathed by the problems of the strike or the war were DUMBO and BAMBI Says Dick Huemer The saga of DUMBO is a complicated one indeed and not at all an easy clearcut one to delineate All Disney39s features started with a book or establishing story From there on it was worked up on storyboards by sections of story men and presented to Walt Here at story meetings much was added and subtracted by Walt and others Many such meetings finally pro duced a result with which Walt would be sat is ed So much for this stage Now the okayed sequence was moved into the direc tor s room Where it was timed broken down into scenes and layouts for the animators and moved into actual animation Sweatbox ing honed the sequence to as near perfection as Walt the arch perfectionist could bring it So much for the normal procedure quot With DUMBO however there was an added step which had never occurred before Step Two with storyboards and meetings had been taken and the original story idea which in effect was all it really was expanded embellished many of the new elements like Casey Junior arrived at and then Walt dropped it I don t know why quotWhat happened some time later is what constitutes the unusual step Joe Grant and myself who had established ourselves as a writing team took what had been done so far and decided to see if we could rekindle Waltquots enthusiasm for Dumbo This was accomplished by putting the whole story line on paper straightening out what appeared to be stumbling blocks adding new material such as pink elephants Submitting this a chapter at a time for Walt to read as a sort of continued novel Walt was very enthusiastic about this way of operating although it was never done again and immediately put the picture back into production Here it fol WALT DISNEY DUMBO a cell of the black crows rests on her desk lowed the normal procedure where much much more was added gag action and dialogue Despite the above aberration DUMBO remains no less the characteristic community effort common to all that goes onto the big screen Perhaps because of IIuemer and Grant s groundwork DUMBO was one of the easiest features the Disney staff ever tackled Changes and problems were minimal once the film went into production and everyone was imbued with the wonderful spirit and simplicity of the story about a ying elef phant Production time was short and the cost was lower than for any of the features that preceded it Critic Cecelia Ager wrote 1UMso s the most enchanting and endearing of their out put maybe because its the least pretentious of their works the least self conscious It tries only to be a wonderful example of a form they themselves created the fable expressing universal human truths in animal guise hliouds parts cels of Timothy the Mouse for 65 66 OF MICE AND MAGIC Besides heart and humor DUMBO also boasted the studio s first surrealistic sequence PINK ELEPHANTS ON PARADE Later shorts including one sUsr1Rsa s FACE and PLUTOPIA would draw on this sequence for inspiration and segments of such features as rue THREE CABALLEROS MAKE MINE Music and MELODY TIME would try to extend its principles but PINK ELEPHANTS 39 remains unique and unforgettable Depicting Dum bo s psychedelic visions after he has swal lowed a basinful of champagne it perfectly captured the fantasy of the situation in a way no live action film ever could This was the animated cartoon at the height of its powers The naturalistic beauty of BAMBI was quite a contrast to the highflying fantasy of DUMBO Disney had purchased rights to Felix Salterfs lyrical book about forest life in 1937 and realized that it would require a com pletely new stylistic approach He assigned a special crew to work on BAMBI while the rest of the staff continued its chores for PIN occnro FANTASIA and other films With occasional interruptions this team spent five years perfecting the story characters and animation techniques for BAMBI Never before had Disney artists studied nature so closely They knew that Bambi s story could only play against a backdrop that was cornpleteiy credible and that the char acters themselves had to give the impression of being real animals Caricature exaggera tion and stylization were encouraged but only as embellishments of reality The story too presented a different set of principles than those the iI isney st f was accustomed to There is humor in BAMBI but the film is basically seriousa visual poem extolling the glory of nature as seen in the cycle of seasons and the unchanging pattern of life for the forest animals from birth to maturity One false step could have turned this delicate story upside down a piece of comedy at the wrong moment a heavy handedness in the depiction of a new season But BAMBI stays on course from beginning to end and ranks as Disney s loveliest film Its sentiment is honest not cloying and its visual evocation of nature is a tasteful com promise between an artist s fancy and a nat uralist s authenticity Unfortunately BAMBI was Disney39s last major animated feature for a number of years The financial burden of the War and the need to stimulate cash flow caused Dis ney to keep the pot boiling with less arnbi tious projects for the balance of the decade None of these endeavors cut corners in any way but they were simply less arduous and less timeconsuming than snow WHITE PIN occnro FANTASIA and BAMBI had been VECTORY rnnouon AIR rowan drew on realistic animation techniques the staff had refined while making training films for var ious branches of the armed forces It impressed people with the propagandistic power of animation as it put into visual form the wartime theories of aviation expert Major Alexander de Seversky SALUDOS AMIGOS was merely a string of four short subjects linked by some live action footage and the overall theme of Americas quotgood neighbor policy It served in some ways as a blueprint for the more extensive feature film THE runes cAsALLs nos This film had more of a story thread although its segments were actually just as arbitrary and disconnected as 39 the earlier efforts But THE THREE CABALLEROS ventured beyond the reahn of shortsubject predicta bility with its bold and dazzling animation techniques Some of the cartoon material resembles an early Version of the Peter Max 66 OF MICE AND MAGIC Besides heart and humor DUMBO also boasted the studio s first surrealistic sequence PINK ELEPHANTS ON PARADE Later shorts including DER rUEHIvsIt s FACE and PLUTOPIA would draw on this sequence for inspiration and segments of such features as THE THREE CABALLEROS MAKE MINE MUSIC and MELODY TIME would try to extend its principles but PINK srsrnanrs remains unique and unforgettable Depicting Dum bo s psychedelic visions after he has swal lowed a basinful of champagne it perfectly captured the fantasy of the situation in a Way no liveaction film ever could This was the animated cartoon at the height of its powers The naturalistic beauty of BAMBI was quite a contrast to the highf1ying fantasy of DUMBO Disney had purchased rights to Felix Salten s lyrical book about forest life in 1937 and realized that it would require a com pletely new stylistic approach He assigned a special crew to work on BAMBI while the rest of the staff continued its chores for PIN Occirio FANTASIA and other films With occasional interruptions this team spent five years perfecting the story characters and animation techniques for BAMBI Never before had Disney artists studied nature so closely They knew that Bambfs story could only play against a backdrop that was completely credible and that the char acters themselves had to give the impression of being real animals Caricature exaggera tion and stylization were encouraged but only as embellishments of reality The story too presented a different set of principles than those the Disney staff was accustomed to There is humor in BAMBI but the film is basically serious a visual poem extolling the glory of nature as seen in the cycle of seasons and the unchanging pattern of life for the forest animals from birth to maturity One false step could have turned this delicate story upside down a piece of comedy at the wrong moment a heavy handedness in the depiction of a new season But BAMBI stays on course from beginning to end and ranks as Disney s loveliest film lts sentiment is honest not cloying and its visual evocation of nature is a tasteful com promise between an artist s fancy and a nat uralists authenticity Unfortunately BAMBI was Disney s last major animated feature for a number of years The financial burden of the war and the need to stimulate cash flow caused Dis ney to keep the pot boiling with less ambi tious projects for the balance of the decade None of these endeavors cut corners in any way but they were simply less arduous and less time consurning than SNOW WHITE rIII OCCHIO FANTASIA and BAMBI had been VICTORY THROUGH Am POWER drew on realistic animation techniques the staff had refined while making training fiims for var ious branches Of the armed forces lt impressed people with the propagandistic power of animation as it put into visual form the wartime theories of aviation expert Major Alexander de Seversky SALUDOS AMIGOS was merely a string of four short subjects linked by some live action footage and the overall theme of Americas good neighbor policy It served in some ways as a blueprint for the more extensive feature film THE THREE CABALLE nos This film had more of a story thread although its segments were actually just as arbitrary and disconnected as the earlier efforts But rIIs rrrnss CABALLEROS ventured beyond the realm of short subject predicta bility with its bold and dazzling animation techniques Some of the cartoon material resembles an early version of the Peter Max WALT DISNEY 67 K DAY WITH MR DESNEY In wiozkia Morton Picture Herald gen o weer Walt arriving at the studio The army and navy ioln Wall Joe Grant uttering an idea gives caretul consideration is greeted by a reception at the conterence table to Walt holds him with to Donald Dul395 comments committee bearing mes his electric eye while Dick about his Work For the sages Huemer prays hopefully day 5peals Mlclcey Mouse voice on assignment which has al ways been his exclusively eats lunch talking to three wanjoys as quiet cigarette while tables at the some time his mind roves n t Journey into the hall where listens to the gang quotsellingquot Walt comes of the nest with l1l l Cl I65 a ride with 5 rar he is approached by persons a gag in Victory Through Motion Picture Herald39s pool having problems Air Powerquot Fourth of July cover idea 73959 efmwlug by Roy Williams 5 words 51 Ralpk Twrker from Disney quotDispute quot wirk variations A cartoon chronicle of Walt Disney s typical day at work drawn by Roy Williams and Written by Ralph Parker in 1943 It probably wasn39t far from the truth psychedelic style so popular in the 19605 returned to Disney in 1940 to concentrate on other moments particularly in the title nurn such technical matters An article in Popular ber animated by Ward Kimball transcend Science Monthly explained the normal Disney boundaries and head wward hm cy by Vlrlug of Comm lmagman This cartoorhoverIive action effect was achieved hon a d ha1rbreadtht1m1ng39 through a further development of the quotprocess THREE CABALLERQS 3159 boasted me Of projection already used by all major studios to the mO5t mgenmus Photographic P30995395 place actors in front of previously filmed bacllt seen to date in any Hollywood film Most of grounds Disney s small projection out t could them were developed by Ub Iwerks who place cartoon characters in the foreground but 02200002000 0003 0000000000 000202 2000002002 02000 2gt2O2gt2 00 0003 020320 00000 0020 000 02003 020 02005 0000 Q0 2000 30gt 00G00200 0030002 E00002 00000 2250 005 000808 020 000 20225 000v200bo 00300 000003 0020 8002 000000 020 00000 000 220022 0022 08 0000200020002 022 gt2o2000000000m0002 200000 000 00002 000 ium2 2 02000000022 0220200002 20 005002000 020 0000 0000000000 200000000 M02208 002gt00m 0000002 000 0002202 205000002 020 00020220000 gt022 0000000020 0300 000 000002 00 00002 0202300000 030000000 00200 000 00202002 0022000 0000000 50 000Bm 00005 2002 2002000000000 020 0000 0022000000002 0002 020 02 000202 0000200002 gt000 000 0002000000200 302 20 02020000 000000000 020 0000000 02003 00000000 00gt200 00000 00000000 020 3 0002 2000000000 0 0002005 0020 00030 0200002 003 02 0am 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o m wan n u dogumm wudmumow m muntomum 3 Ra 383 Lmuwm mu mmxum may we um gt5 may w 5 muomum 3 9 5 J50 Ewzo 533 amamm A550 Gm mag 30 mag HQCGTS 80 Em 38 m E Bozo 5 mo umsmuum E om w um 3 oars mean we uco lt Suwowa mo Emom z mar um V103 was 2 am we conm uu w svm um m EHOHEQ uGOE m Eco mam wm 93 we 33gt 35 9 Beam 83 Ema was we 38 9 8ou5n 35 Qoom dmmuu E 3 mam 335 mmnmE U8m vam Q9503 wd mwb momma oum m 3 EmgtoaE 65 mwasammm M ouhbm E50 Hm wwd ou Jog mam 052 33 833 Ecuuwo wmmzm 225 2 mmmm om F quot MW S I It Q 3 I it 3 is quot1 t 3i p 39 i 2 i lquotquotquot Rquot e l 39 k Q P e g q 7 p tzf e izfatg O i PL tt s t9 quot 0 quot is A E i st l t 3 t an j V E a 07 at g ke yo i 0 0 if W 5 x will ave T S f wt William M oritz pz Pj cinema as an essential powerful popular artforrn and maintained busy animai tion studios not only for each country but also for distinct ethnic groups animators were often tenured civil servants with guaranteed fulltime employment making not only theatrical cartoons but also public service and educational animation childrerfs films of folk culture and titles and special effects for features On the other hand Soviet policy dictated sharp guidelines for subject matter and a strict censorship of both preliminary plans and nished lms in order to guarantee that all films upheld general communist ideals and current party agendas While many animators retnained content their careful planning to outwit censorship made them in some cases create master pieces of film art Four festival prizewinners one from each decade demonstrate tht changing strategies that their lmmakers used to speak out against totalitarian oppres sion prize at the 1958 Brussels Experimental Film Festival a 10 000 cash prize The tW9 animators who collaborated on the film Walerian Borowczyk and Ian Lenica used tht prize money to emigrate to Paris and West Berlin respectively where they contintl d their animation careers in freedom They had made H mm during a particularly touch 39 U oviet Russia s domination of Eastern European countries for over 40 years from H the fall of the Iron Curtain around 1947 until the Glasnost of about 199039 brought mixed blessings for animation On the one hand Soviet policy favoured quot to concentrate on innocent children s lms or benign situation comedies some artists attempted to produce allegorical or satirical Works critical of totalitarian regimes and 39 Before the birth in 1960 of ASIFA the International Animated lm Association with its all anirnation film festivals a newly rnade Polish lm Dom Home won the gta d year in Soviet history in OctoberNovember 1956 Russian troops crushed the H1111 39 garian rebellion against Soviet occupation and the hopes of neighbouring countries E0 3 es cape communist domination A year later the successful launch of the S putniie satellil I Narrative strategies for resistance and protest in Eastern European animation 39 PI Russia In control of the skies as well jifgme addresses the issues of people trapped in a repressed World through three strategies It sets up a complex non linear structure that the viewer must decipher which 1 makes 3 hard for a censor to ban since no individual element is obviously against the rules and the overall meaning is uncertain and 2 requires the viewer to question the norm which is a subversive act in itself They also 3 focus Home on the plight of Women which seems to remove it from the political arena although the thinking viewer will 1ec0gI11SE3 that the ills of the Woman arise to a considerable extent from the thought c0I1U Ol and repression of the totalitarian government The opening and closing scene of Home are the same above the decaying facades of centuryold apartment buildings ickering patrols lurk emphasised by Wlodzimierz Kotonsllti s ne pioneer electronicconcrete musical score Decades before the helicop ters of Blade Runner and Blue Thunder these abstractions read as the omnipresent surveillance of the totalitarian state Seven times we see the occupant of one apartment awontian played by Ligia Branice BoroWczyk s wife waiting hearing footsteps looking up expectantly or glancing down contetiiplatively Between each appearance of this heroine we see six episodes of radically different styles which cumulatively probe the daily life of the Wife in a repressive society The images of the first episode mostly cut out of scienti c texts show a drill or welding gun assembling a human skull and turning on its perceptive abilities which gradually comprehend circuitry music as a mechanical action and furniture culminating in that quintessential Victorian houseplant an aspidistra on a pedestal The sequence forces the viewer to ask Whose brain is this Is it a man s head thinking of machinery or a Woman coping with her home And What is perception is it just a mechanical action Is it human Is it controlled by some outside force The second episode anirnates a man in sequential poses obviously cut from a manual of some kind and tinted a pastel yellow Is it dancing exercise or selfdefense The main question remains What is he doing Which may be What the woman Wonders The third episode prompts the question What is she doing through an astonishing still life with wig On a kitchen table top with bottles glasses a cannister an orange and a crumpled newspaper a blonde wig roams perusing the newspaper pursuing the orange drinking milk from the bottle breaking a glass and nally scurrying away at the sound of the surveillance This Wig partly suggesting the emptyheaded rambling Left Walerian Borawcayk and fan Lenca working on the animation ofthe model husband in Home 1 95 6 39aleriar1 Borowczyk and Jan Leriica Right The wife eagerly embraces the husband in Home Waler1an Borowczyk and Jan Leriica 40 A READER IN ANIMATION STUDIES of the trapped housewife partly the dispossessed glamourhair of the Inechanicalised head from the first episode seems eerily subhnman menacing in its impossible ability to drink break glass and pursue 39 The fourth episode again heralded by the approaching footsteps pictures the man as a dehumanised robot through a live action loop repeatedly showing him enter the door and hang his hat on a hook accompanied by musical scales played on a tinny toy piano gradually escalating in volume The fact that the footsteps continue after this episode re locates the mechanical husband in the mind of the wife continually Waiting a theme in feminist literature from Natalie Barney s 1910 poem Waiting to Faith Wildingis l970s performancepiece Waiting The fifth episode delves deeper into the soul of the woman following her reveries and longings lying nude she remembers the olden days photo graphsof her grandparents children s books romantic church weddings trips abroad honeyrnoons and beautiful owers For a moment the footsteps intrude upon her sensuous nostalgia and her nude body quickly turns into the waiting Woman again Then in a sixth episode the live action woman approaches the handsome head of a man which appears to be a hat model dummy She fondles caresses kisses him her passionate gestures tnrnin g into owers one of which is tinted scarlet But the mass produced uniform head collapses beneath the heat of her passion his eye his nose his forehead crumbling until only a hollow shell is left Empty reality fails to satisfy desire The surveillance sound hovers again the woman looks up and scurries even as the wig had earlier The footsteps relentlessly continue over the end credits no answer no solution appears for the woman s paralysed life While evoking the tragic plight of the con ned dependent woman Home also convicts as guilty the repressive society that dehumanises her and the men on which she is forced to be dependent Jiri Trnka s Ruka The Hand made in 196465 just as the Czech New Wave began to blossom represents the more traditional mode of expressing protest through allegory The Hand was also the last of Trkna s 25 lms as it threw him into official disfavoar In a 1966 interview in Newsweek magazine Trnka complained Too many officials think their opinion is the only one that counts Official taste is bad taste Luckily he added unlike Disney I do not have a child s soul I do not suffer from any illusions a comment repeated in his obituary when he died of cancer some four years later after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia Trnka uses a simple linear story a large Hand invades the home of a potter fond of making floWer pots demanding that he in the future make only images of hands The potter refuses and tries to get rid of the Hand in several ways hiding nailing the doors and windows shut refusing gifts ripping out the phone but the Hand foils all the potter s protests and eventually manipulates the potter with strings like a traditional marionette to make a monumental sculpture of a Hand Though celebrated with state Laurels for this achievement the potter languishes and dies Trnka managed to get the scenario and the nished film past censors by cleverlyidentifying the Handwith speci c nationalities the Nazi salute the raised hand of the Statue of Liberty considered enemies of socialism so that the parable could be read as a protest against foreign domination but the film nonetheless garnered international recognition not only the Jury Prize at the 1965 Annecy but also prizes at nonanimation festivals in Oberhausen Melbourne and Bergamo as a denunciation of Soviet control over the arts and media The brilliance of Trnka s masterpiece arises not only from its clever plot twists the ken ower pot telephone and television as destructive tools the seductive Hand ficing in mesh hose but also in subtle conceptual depths the Hand is also the mator s hand and the protagon1st s unchanging wooden face is ingeniously designed d 51 miraculously managed so that it registers dozens of different emotions from joy gdespair simply through subtle lighting and movement uri Norstein claimed in an interview that Trnka s TheHand was his favourite animated P5 which reminds us that these lms were produced in a conscious tradition By the glare 19703 when Yuri and his wife Francesca shot Sieazka Sfeaaofe Tale of Tales several fquot uccessful changes of leadership in postStalin Russia must have made it seem that the 5ov1et order wouldlast in de nitely So rather than a speci c protest against government policies the message of Tale of Tales urges artists to accept the burden of keeping better times alive through art Norstetn still constructs his film in a complex non linear story ighat conceals the implications of his images from the blunt eye of the censor Like Home and T he Hand Tale of Tales is ltered through a particular consciousness that of a little wolf a protagonist which Norstein freely admits to be autobiographical At the same time this hero derives from a traditional Russian lullaby A Little Wolf could carry you away deep into the forest which is sung repeatedly in the film As with Trnllta s potter in The Hand the woll s paper cut out face magically seems to mirror a hundred emotions often deriving from the situation and subtle movement the little tilt of the head while staring at the baby or when swinging on the treadle of an abandoned sewing machine Once in an interview Norstein pointed out that the anima in animation means putting soul into something not just life Within the first few minutes of this half hour lm we glimpse a sample of all the material that will appear in variations during the rest of the film an apple a baby nursing seasons passing in a forest an abandoned house with a dazzling light pouring lmrarzoe strategies for resistance and protest in Eastern European animation The face of the Norsteins toolfmagi Cally seems to mirror a hundred emotions According to Yuri Norstein anima means putting soul into something not just life Yuri and Francesca Norstein 41 42 i A READER IN ANIMATION STUDI5 Above left from its door a luminous reverie of a bygone era half Pushkin half Picasso peopled 77 18ltlP 1 5 3ltij3jl 85I 0f by a sherman a poet and a girl jumping rope with a bull a wartime picI1ic dance from m ljdg 3amp1 She 333 which men disappear to battle and death and the heavy traffic on a contemporary mam Slww m highway which has now out through the forest near the abandoned house Each image 533 mg Ofme gm has its characteristic sound such as the popular tango The tired sun says goodbye at the sea just as you say you don t love me anymore for the Wartime scenes Yur1 and Francesca Norstein Each of these images is animated freshly and differently and the subtle changes express Above rigm a growing awareness of the deeper meanings or potentials of the material The apple in p The boy dreams Of the snow for exaniple IS seen as a ruptured fantasy when the boy dreams of feeding I feedmg we inrd the birds but it IS interrupted by his drunken tyrant father whose Napoleon hat he adopts 5 later this bitter childhood memory is redeemed by the excision of the parents and the successful feeding of the birds The Pushkin reverie is first seen in vivid detail Yuri and Francesca N orstein Gradually the lm focuses on the wolf protczgomst and its eoer tuz39detzing point ofvieav Yuri and Francesca Norstein Naff five strategies for resistance and protest in Eastern European animation 43 nniiig across the seaside property pulling in for closer views of the children s play quot3 witty cat the poet and his lyre the sh and the sherman The second appearance spires all in a long shot following a wanderer who passes through the same scene at keeping everything in a larger perspective obviously the wolfs widening point view which leads to his decisive intervention quot he transitions between disparate elements occur as visual analogies the fire in a baker s qoven turns into autumn leaves aring into ame at the foot of a tree Wl 11Cl391 in turn Eleads to the ashing lights of autos in the highway This constitutes the associative ggeiitai process of the wolf protagonist The luminous door through which the wolf Ai eaCl 1 S the nostalgic past is paralleled by the lightcone of the wartime lamppost and by the luminous manuscript of the poet ickering like a projector beam and this umulative chain leads to the Wolfs climactic gesture of stealing the manuscript from he past and nurturing it as a baby in the present thus preserving the precious memory of the beautiful and the tragic alike In addition to Winning the grand prize at Zagreb during the 1984 Olympic Games an international jury chose Tale of Tales as the greatest animation lm of all time a distinction well deserved by the variety of superb effects and moods from the quiet realism of the little wolf eating a hot potato to the conceptual brilliance of scratching the phonograph record so that music 1S missing at the point of departure of each soldier Trnllta s The Hand took fourth place Priit Parn sEme M and Picnic on the Grass orDeezmersurl herbe after Manet s painting also Won a grand prize at Zagreb in 1988 though the film had been proposed as early as 1983 and was finally approved for release in 1986 after the Chernobyl nuclear accident signalled the decline of Russian prestige Soviet Russia had occupied and plundered Parn s native Estonia for more than 30 years by that time so his theme logically concentrates on desperate living conditions in a country Without goods without self rule redress or justice In making D jeuner sur Pherbe Parn already knew both Home and Tale of Tales so his Bel out The wolf decides to steal the manuscript ofthe past and nartme it as a baby in the present thus preswemgpreczous memories Yi1ri and Francesca Norstein A READER IN ANIMATION STUDIES Above left The theme 0fPriz39I Pcirnis D jeuner sur l herbe concentrates on desperate living conditions Priit ParaTallinnhilm Above right George must nd suitable clothing for the picnic TallinnFilrn The faceless Bertha Cowers in bed l riit ParnTailinnlfilm structure consciously became even more complex A super cial overall pattern becomes gradually clear four Estonian people wish to have a picnic in a public park or more speci cally as We find out only at the end the picnic depicted in Manetfs painting Dejemzer Sm Fherbe as a moment of art and respite from the brutality of daily life Each of the four has a specific task in order to make the picnic possible and We Watch each of their tales separately Anna must get the food symbolically an apple necessary for the meal George must nd suitable clothing for his costume instead of the grim grey 39 uniforms officially available in stores Bertha formerly an artist s model but now a faceless digit in the socialist state that prizes motherhood over art must regain her sense of an artistically Viable identity if she is to model again Edward must manage to get the bureaucratic permit to use the park Each is successful and for a moment they actually realise their dream of an instant of art and respite Narrative strategies for resistance and protest in Eastern European animation 45 Across this more obvious structure however ow equally obvious contradictions that make the Viewer puzzle and question Anna is awakened atprecisely 920 in the morning by the shrieking crash of an automobile accident and later While shopping she drops bag of apples just after George sneaks by which children pursue out into the street K George s tale the car crash sound occurs while he is sti11ho1nea11dit causes Bertha s iiicture to fall from the wall yet he encounters the children running after the apples Meek Edwatdfakes macho strength to enter the bureaucrats o ices Priit PiirnTallinnfilm At last Edward obtains the key to the garden Qyark gate Priit P irn Still courtesy of BF Film and Video Distribution 46 A READER IN ANIMATION STUDIES much later and manages to grab one in order to trade it for blaclornarket good In Bertha s tale we see her daughter join the children running after the apples fallen from the bag and the car swerves and crashes in order to avoid Bertha s daughter but the camera pulls back to show Anna just awakened looking out her window Tm inconsistency implies that disaster happens over and over again so time no longer matters in this moribund society The frequent reocciirrence of a character that looks like Picasso the film is ironicam dedicated to Artists who do exactly what is expected of them also reinforces this ideal Often Picasso is being arrested by two policemen usually pursued by seagulls but mysteriously he sometimes performs other roles although George had seen him arrested only minutes before he is with cynical common sense a civil servant in the Boreas of Eyesight where he is arrested again Artists are always being arrested just as can are always crashing Picasso also gets the last word After the lucky four enioy their moment of art we see the hapless Picasso lying in the road his arm crushed by a passing tank squashed out into the shape of a seagull s wing No real room for artists in the totalitarian state As with Home The H and and Title ofTalesD eimer sin Marine offers a wealth of aesthetic and conceptual thrills that make the viewer happy to continue working to puzzle out the overall structure Parn s clever use of a grotesque caricature for the common man whether the taxi driver or the blackniarketeer who wants sea with Anna in exchange for an apple they look the same is subtly twisted and enriched by George s airbrushed Playboy fantasies or the remarkable instant of ecstasy that the drunken workman experiences in the snivelling ballter s factory The passing reference to the Beatles Yelloa Submarine when George changes the Shoe sign to a blue glove or the chilling moment when Bertha draws a Picasso distortion of eyes nose and mouth on her empty fact with her makeup cause the viewer to feel more intensely the plight of intelligent feeling prisoners of this closed system The epic imagery of Edward s quest his shrinking stature the iriouldy walls of the minister s building the giant squashing a little man in the elevator the monumental secretaries the cyclops administrator makes the viewei feel both the absurdity and the tragedy of this battle against bureaucracy even as does George s ridiculous transfer as if it were a sport like football of blackmarket goods apple for bread for shoe for glasses And if the hidden jibes at the Russians are as always clear to a Western viewer the Russian administrator the filn censor woiilt have been one such is a Cyclops because the Russians only see one way to do things and since the Estoniaris habitually leave the spoon in their tea while the Russians tale it out Edward can blind the Russian with a teaspoon the Odyssean imagery carrie the idea through Home Tale of Tales and D jezmer stir l herbe all posit an interactive system in whicl the purposefully convoluted narrative structure must be unravelledby the viewer Whili these strategies might have been devised to circumvent censors they result in a ricl experience that rewards repeated viewings since the lins are composed freshly in th viewers minds with new connections new perceptions and new feelings every time And the intricate artistry of all four lmmakers does appeal as strongly to the emotion as to the reason of the viewer which enhances our sympathy for the characters ant makes the films transcend the narrower political issues that they originally protested This paper was presented at the 1993 SAS Conference 5 Norratzoe strotegtes for reststance and protest HI Eastern European antmdrI0 quotquot quotquotquotquotS Notes 1 Gxannalberto Bendazzi Cartoons Oneffuncired Years ofCmemoA mmotzon Lon on John Llbbey 1994 438 for the founding of ASIFA weil indexed for all references about arnmatron Parker Tyler New Images Dom Loomg L opera mouffe Ftlm Quarterly vol XXI no 3 Spring 1959 50 53 Natalre Clifford Barney Attendre iotes etEntr actes Pans Sansot 1910 88 89 Faith Wr1d1ng s performance prece 18 preserved in Johanna Dernetra1ltrs s documentary lm Womanhouse 1974 fire Trnka der Puppen lmer ctus Prag Frankfurt Deutsehes Frlmmuseum 1987 Borge Trolle I111 Trnka the Master of Puppet Anlmatron The z lrtmofz nzmatzon vol 1 no 1 Sprrng 1994 28 39 Trnkalanci Newsweek vol 67 no 13 March 28 1966 99 100 Transmon 1r1 Trnka Newsweek vol 75 no 2 January 12 1970 45 I P Jenner Yurr Norstern Btmc Tztre no 15 December 1980 2123 M11ltha1lYampo1sllty Yur1NorsIe1n Kmo R1gaApr11 1985 A French vers1on ofthls rntervrew appeared III Posttzf no 297 4850 Posztzfno 288 also earned Errc Derobert s study ofNorste1n 61 The Olympzad ofA mmatzorz June 29 July 2 1984 presented by The Academy oflvlonon P1crnre Arts and Scrences and ASIFA Hollywood Twenty vepage program booklet Mrkhazl Yarnpolsky The Space of the Anrrnated F 11111 Khrzanovs1lty s Ilm wzth Youzflgatn and Norste1n s Taie of Tales A ertmage no 13 Autumn 1987 93417 Karen Rosenberg Yuri Norste1n Pegbar vol 1 no 7 Summer 1991 1819 Serge Assenzn Drawn Paradoxes Prnt Parn Etude Eestz Multz lmtdest fa Nende Loojatest Estonran Anzrnated Frlms and Thenquot Creators Talhnn Perrodrka 1986 296304 for an Englrshlanguage text plus 18 pages of unnumbered color plates on Parn This text covers only up to Tzme Out In 1984 but 1t drscusses Parn s background as 1 graphrc arnst Arnhenn theones 1n relanon to Parrfs lms etc 47 E gt 0 an J at g 1 y 5 Introduction With the international success of Princess Mononoke Manamaire Hime 1997 and Spiritedlwczy Sm to Coiairo no Kemiilzaieusoi 2001 animation director Hayao Miyazaki established himself as a masterful creator of both enchanting fantasies and thought provoking scenarios often more tantalizing for adult spectators than for children The appeal of Miyazakfs movies has accordingly been rapidly growing not only among izmime experts and ordeal but also more importantly among a worldwide general audi ence comprising diverse age groups and the broad domain of lm criticism Whereas in Japan Miyazaki is as popular as Steven Spielberg and Rowling are in the West his name has not quite yet entered every Western household Neverthe less admirers of his work abound across the continents including practitioners within the animation industry and the lm industry in general comic artists and video game designers and increasingly the multifarious ranks of lay moviegoers Miyazaltfs movies are indubitably attracting audiences situated Well beyond the cultural and geographim cal bounds of his native Japan Over the past two decades and indeed for longer if one takes into account the director s output before the foundation of his own studio Studio Ghiblimlliyazaki has brought to life intricate fantasy realms building each from scratch and drawing their most minute items with total devotion Within these domains Eastern and Westw ern traditions ancient mythologies and contemporary cultures the magical visions of children and the pragmatic outlooks of adults intriguingly coalesce At the same time in using traditional cel animation and cutting edge digital techniques ernploying computers to manipulate images and to accomplish Visual and special e cects unattain able by traditional means yet remaining faithful to the two dirr1ensionality of the art of drawing the director and his studio have crucially rede ned the standards of con ternporary animation Miyazakfs Wondrous Worlds are as challenging as they are spellbinding due to their firnultaneous evocation of an elating sense of freedom and of a harrowing vision of life s Harker facets This conceptual mix is created by positing the encounter with a magical idiller as a metaphor not merely for a flight of fancy but also more importantly for the it 3 mperative to confront maturely and responsibly the full import of such an encounter ardless of the di iculties afflictions and humiliations involved in the process No 6 Introduction imaginary domain ultimately promises unconditional escape from moral and social obli gations and from the power of language to a irrn or deny both personal and collective identities Above all learning how to respect and honor other people and one s39 envi ronment at large is the prerequisite for the acquisition of a sense of self Concornitantly Miyazaki is also eager to show that no ostensible resolution to the quest for self ful llrnent is ever likely to be conclusive His endings therefore steer clear of consolatory tidying up messages offering instead purely provisional closures which audiences can scarcely anticipate or presuppose The plots themselves tend to follow life s own unpredictable flux more than the narrative and dramatic criteria codi ed by mainstream spectacle As the director himself has stated I gave up on making a happy ending in the true sense a long time ago I can go no fLu39 ther than the ending in which the lead character gets over one issue for the time being Many things will happen after this I think that s as far as I can go From the stand point of a movie maker it would be easier if I could make a movie in which everybody became happy because they defeated the evil villain Miyazalci 1988a It is vital to bear in mind in this regard that Japanese comics manga and their spir1offs in the domain of Japanese animation dnim do not abide by the criteria of i the typically Western narrative structure with its three act format leading from the delineation of characters and situations through a series of conflicts and complications to a d nouernent In fact although they are broadly conceived of as eventually con ducive to a resolution mange tend to unfold over several years and therefore experi ence often substantial reorientations Animated series and features based upon them target audiences intimately acquainted with their narrative content As Alessandro Bern civenni explains in mangaeinspired animations the set up is reduced to a bare minimum and various key elements and narrative tran sitions are taken for granted The Japanese viewer goes to the cinema to see a familiar story and to take pleasure from the ingenuity and nuances of its translation into an ani mated film The Western spectatofs situation is different insofar as s he is projected into the world of the story without the bene t of any rnediarions and therefore strgggles to follow its complications It is often hard to come to grips with the plot if its premises are not known in advance This is what prevented the first great animated feature from japan Katsuhiro Ototno s Aeim 1988 from being adequately appreciated when it was released in the West Bencivenni 2003 p 13 my translation However Miyazalcfs lms do not adhere slavishly to Japanese narrative conventions either For one thing he has made it Studio Ghibli s primary objective to produce featurelength movies and not TV series although it is in the latter format that cznim has asserted itself as a major component of popular culture Furthermore instead of deriving inspiration solely from mange Miyazaki harks back to heterogeneous sources thus begetting an imaginary and deeply defarniliarizing vision of human society traversed by myriad fragments of a transgeographical univer sal unconscious The lms are Woven from both crosswcultural elements and aspects of Introduction 7 the director s native culture As discussed below in some detail they are globally rele vant by virtue of the central themes they handle closely bound with Western culture due to the literary and cinernatographical sources they draw upon and to the settings which several of them employ and distinctively fapanese in their use of tradition and lore their display of an eminently pictographic sensibility and their original adapta tion of manga and aaim aesthetics gtEl The social psychological political and economic preoccupations addressed by Miyazakfs lms hold crosscultural and even universal relevance Most prominent among them are the fate of the ecosystem the everpresent phantom of war the evils of totalitarianism and the vicissitudes of selfdevelopment As far as the relationship between the natural environment and human technology is concerned in particular this is alternately addressed in a utopian vein emphasizing prospects of peace and regen eration and in a pragmatic mode that accepts the inevitability of technology even in scenarios of relative harmony between humankind and nature The problems emanat ing from these issues are posited as ubiquitous inveterate and very possibly ineradica ble even as the director promulgates a worldview wherein everything is continually changing and much of the time people have nothing to go by except ephemeral pat terns spun from the contingent moments vaporous scenarios In acknowledging the worldwide relevance of Miyazakfs movies it must nonetheless be emphasized that several of the legends traditions and customs which they draw upon carry speci cally Japanese connotations and that a modicum of familiarity with the direc tor s indigenous culture is therefore bound to enhance the viewer s enjoyment of some of his productions most notably My Nezlga aor Yiaroro Princess Mononoee and 5pz39ritedAwrzy Where the specifically Japanese dimension of Miyazakiis output is concerned it is also important to take carefully into consideration the director s sociopolitical origins and sit uation Miyazakfs lms and personal circumstances remind us that since the Second World War Japanese culture has had to negotiate often pain illy its damning association with an aggressive expansionist and belligerent mentality At the same time it has had to grapm pie with the impact on its traditions and customs of West dominated globalization Miyazaltfs tales although they never explicitly represent modern conflicts bear witness to these issues by dramatizing the numerous di ficulties involved in the acquisition and development of a cultural identity at the individual and the collective levels Miyazaki has consistently advocated pacifist and egalitarian principles while also striving to come to terms with a troubling sense of his family s complicity with the war his father was the director and his uncle the owner of the factory responsible for pro duction of rudders used on kamikaze planes Moreover Miyazaki has retained a keen and shamed awareness of the privileged situation enjoyed by himself and by his farn ily during the war the opportunity to move to the countryside town of Utsunornya located about 60 miles from Tokyo As a result they did not have to openly confront the horrors faced by the more defenseless victims of the conflict This sense of guilt lies at the roots of the most overtly adult of Miyazakfs films namely Porto R0330 8 Introduction One of the most distinctively Japanese aspects of Miyazakfs lms arguably lies with the emphasis they place on the importance of developing from a relatively early age a keen sense of personal responsibility as well as independence and autonomy in a world that consistently appears to swamp the notions of individual identity and privacy The process of socialization of the young is thus consistently depicted as a rite of passage embracing both the joys and the tribulations of psychological and emotional growth However the ethical imperatives promoted by the lms are not situated in a strictly Japanese framework of codes conventions rituals and mores Hence they are capable of appealing to r1on Japanese viewers and to their own sensitivity to the Bz39a zmgsro mam topos as a thematic and structural motif that has consistently played a major part in the art and literature of numerous cultures On the Whole therefore it could be plausibly maintained that Miyazaki eschews ethnocentricity and that this is attested to not only by his treatment of globally con sequential issues but also by his extensive use of Western styles imagery and thematic points of reference This proclivity is partly attributable to his exposure via the Chil drerfs Literature Research Society run by the university where he graduated with a degree in politics and economics to Western authors such as Philippa Pearce Rose mary Sutcliffe Eleanor Farjeon and Arthur Ransorne Years later the director described these writers as some of the most in uential sources of inspiration behind his films cit ing Britain speci cally as a treasure trove of children s authors Miyazaki 1995a p 118 Subsequently Miyazaki avidly consumed the output of numerous European and American writerswnotably Jonathan Swift Jules Verne JRR Tolkien Maurice Leblanc Antoine de SaintExup ry Isaac Asimov Brian Aldiss Ursula K Le Guin Diana Wynne Jones and Frank Herbert His work moreover evinces more than merely cursory competence in the handling of elements derived from Greek and Norse rnythol ogy Western folktales and fairy tales and the Bible Concurrently Miyazalti has been deeply in uenced by foreign cartoonists and animators including Winsor McCay Max Fleischer Paul Grirnault Lev Atamanov Frederic Back and Yuri Norstein Miyazallti s visual register could be described as an intertextual collage of images and pictorial vocabularies distilled from a scrupulous exploration of the various sources enumerated above At the same time however it echoes the graphic styles immortal ized by Japanese art from the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth centurym pri marily the woodblock prints known as ukiyoe pictures of the floating world or the transient show and the works of Utarnaro Kitagawa 17 50 18 06 Hokusai Katsushika 17601849 and Utagawa Hiroshige 17971858 Pervading these overtly local aspects of Miyazakfs style is a distinctively Japanese sensitivity to things their beauty and the sadness of their passing encapsulated by the principle of mono no awazre However Miyazakfs settings are frequently informed by preerninently Western styles and imagery Irnportantly six out of Miya239allti s nine principal features are set in non Japanese locations The action of Lupin III The Carrie ofCczglz39ortro 1979 is sit uated in a peacefully picturesque European duchy Nczuszrzzii oftbe Valley oftye VVz39nd 1984 takes place in a half European and halfwalien world and Lzzpum Castle in the Sey 1986 in an imaginary milieu based on nineteenthcentury Wales and on the quirky Introduction 9 projections of that century s techno visionaries Gail Delivery Service 1989 and Howl M0y ng Castle 2004 employ Europeanwlooking syntheses of architectural components derived from disparate cities and Porto R0550 1992 incorporates imaginary elements into a faithfully rendered representation of coastal Europe and rural northern Italy My Neighbor Yiotaro Princess Mononoilee and 5pz39riredAwszy conversely use locations of dis tinctively Japanese provenance Nevertheless it should not be assumed that the films endowed with explicitly Japa nese connotations are automatically more Eastern than the others Where Ybtoro is con cerned for instance its focus on two young girls negotiation of a troubling family situation and a potentially ominous environment makes it appealing to disparate audi ences regardless of its meticulously detailed rendition of the Japanese countryside and of Japanese architecture and domestic habits In Mononoer the treatment of the rela tionship between nature and technology likewise extends the narratives sociopolitical Cogency well beyond the boundaries of the directors native country As for Spirited Away the economic commercial setup which the lm highlights is no more Oriental despite the bath house s emphatically ChinoNipponic structure and decor than it is West ern due to its unsentimental representation of greed acquisitiveness and self indul gence On the other hand the productions that feature landscapes and cityscapes of Western derivation cannot be regarded as more Western than the ones just discussed for what they primarily communicate to the viewer has less to do with the actual parts of the World on which those locations are loosely based than with Japanese perceptions of the West and especially of Europe The collusion of East and West is paralleled by two further forms of thematic and structural interplay Firstly Miyazaki s lms symbolically bring together diverse time scales by tackling certain recurring issues in historically disparate contexts Their recur ring concern with the ecosystem for example manifests itself with equal poignance when set in the ancient past Monono e in the present Spirited Away or in a postapoc alyptic future Nausz39ca i As East and West on the one hand and various ternporali ties on the other subtly coalesce so do multiple strands of reality and fantasy enabling the grave matters treated in virtually all of Miyazallti s productions to be both enhanced and problematized by the interventions of preternatural beings and by the incidence of Wizardly feats dazzling spells and concurrently physical and mental metarnorphoses Through these the experiences of children and those of adults beguilingly intersect the complexity and richness of the former being perceptively and persistently empha sized Miyazakfs animation style likewise bridges two Worlds and two traditions His com mitment to realism associates his lms more with Disney than with mainstream Japa nese em me and especially with golden age Disney productions such as Snow White and the Seven Dwmfs dir Walt Disney and David Hand 1937 Pinocchio dir Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske 1940 and Fantasia dir Walt Disney 1940 Yet Miyazaki gives priority to the narrative enabling both its pathos and its humor to sur face gradually and steadily as the action progresses instead of concentrating them into discrete lmic moments whereas recent Disney animations accord privilege to the 1 0 Intro dnction production of entertainment packages replete with set pieces and song anddance sequences which come to constitute the core of the narrative rather than work as corn plements In Disney technique tends to take precedence over narrative to the point that the story often becomes primarily a way of celebrating the animatofs technical expertise Where Miyazaki s cinernatographical style is concerned it is noteworthy that the camera angles used in his movies often hark back to mange where the method of sto rytelling through still images enables artists to use each frame as a means of showing details incrementally of slowing the action down or speeding it up Amfme adopts an analogous approach often taking a still image and moving the camera from left to right to convey the impression of movement though what is being presented is just a single static image Above all the director has an eager understanding of the comic book dic tate that something stylish or moving ought to happen on every page and has been able to translate this principle from the page to the screen Frequently spectators are pre sented with scenarios that invite responses analogous to those required by comic books When we look at a comic book page our eyes have a propensity to move toward what ever grabs us as the most prominent elements this may coincide with what the artist has intended to be the page s vital part but it need not automatically do so This means that we have a choice as to how we approach and consume the story Miyazakfs lms situate us in the space of the narrative in the way comic books tend to do presenting highly detailed tapestries of images wherein the prioritizing of certain elements over others does not preclude the viewer s freedom to focus on an apparently peripheral ele ment and process the visuals on that basis Regardless of their cinetnatographic connections with mange however Miyazakfs works do not follow either uncritically or uniformly the Japanese cornic book aesthet ICS Wl 1lCl1 is another main reason for which they are able to attract non apanese audiences In particular they transcend the visual style exhibited by an ample propor tion of emime productions and their mrmgcz counterparts in the depiction of their char acters and therefore discourage the spectator from automatically aligning those gures quot with stereotypical products ofjapanirnation This is borne out speci cally by Miyazakfs rejection of the conventional manga style face dominated by enormous and often preiii posterously colored eyes and accordingly bound to rather a limited and repetitive reper E toire of expressions In fact his characters tend to display a variety of facial modulationmii that mirror both their responses to contingent circumstances and their emotional pro gression through a certain story are As Andrew Osmond has noted While Miyazald characters broadly conform to rznime conventions Wide eyes lipless mouths stylizeggg features which appear Caucasian to Western viewers they lack the overt stylizatio of much cmime This is particularly true of his young heroines including Nausicai Osmond 1998 Though portrayed as comely adolescents those female gures caring be dismissed as mere plastic dolls not do they comply with the stylistic requiremefi of the cutebabe cmime protagonists that Philip Brophy has vividly described as fusi of Batywcztc9 extras Barbie dolls and Care Bears Brophy 1995 p 30 This rede nition of feminine physiognornies runs parallel to Miyazakfs distincti Introduction 1 1 indeed unique approach to the 5aoujo subgenre of amfme The term sfaoujo literally means little female and is commonly used to designate girls aged 12 or 13 On a metaphorical level however it alludes to the transitional stage between infancy and maturity and its admixture of sexlessness and budding eroticism On the whole the worlds depicted by 5aoujo stories are serenely dreamy and bathed in an atmosphere of magic and wonder in sharp contrast with the dark side of amime typically to be found in science ction and wartime plots According to Tarnae Prindle What fascinates the Japanese is that the 5aoujo nes tle in a shallow lacuna between adulthood and childhood power and powerlessness awareness and innocence as well as masculinity and femininity Prindle 1998 p 35 In this respect as Susan Napier points out 5youjo characters could be said to embody the potential for unfettered change and excitement that is far less available to Japanese males who are caught in the network of demanding workforce responsibilities Napier 2001 p 119 Indeed surprising as this may sound to Western cultures 5aouja stories are not consumed solely by female teenagers addicted to lmzwczz39z39 cute consumer corn modities since adult Japanese males actually constitute a signi cant proportion of the 5aoujo audience and readership Miyazakfs young females are unquestionably 5aoujo in terms of their age and gen eral appearance However Where the average 5aoujo is portrayed as a passive being sus pended in something of a timeless drearnland Miyazakifs heroines are active independent courageous and inquisitive to the point that some commentators have described them as youths wearing 5aoujo masks Panoramic Miyazaki 1997 p 2 The director has emphatically declared his determination to avoid representing attrac rive girls as mere play toys for Lolita complex guys or as pets Miyazalti 1988a In his most recent productions Miyazaki has steered clear of conventional notions of fern inine beauty altogether both Chihiro s and Sophie s charisma in pz39ritea39 Away and Howl Moving Castle respectively resulting from qualities other than sheer physical attractiveness Representative examples of Miyazakfs approach can be seen in Nausicaa39 s treat ment of her father s assassins Sheeta s refusal to yield the magical crystal to the evil Muska Ldputd Killti s brave venture into a new life in an unfamiliar city Sarfs entire course of action Mononoke and Chihiro s willing submission to numerous challenges and hurniliations for her parents sake 5pz39rz39tedAwzzy Though positively adventurous and risktaking Miyazakfs heroines are concurrently depicted as compassionate gen tle and magnanimous The ambiguous nature of the typical Miyazaki girl is vividly encapsulated by the scene in Mononoke where Sarfs bloodstained face de antly con fronts the viewer The image would seem to connote a wholly savage disposition Yet the cause of San s ferocious appearance is actually a deeply nurturing act namely her attempt to suck a bullet out of the Wolf God s body Thus at the same time as they endeavor to rede ne one of the most popular varieties of amime Miyazaki s lms simul taneously deal in imaginative ways with gender and sexual relations depicting intrigu ingly ambivalent characters that frequently transcend stereotypical notions of femininity and masculinity 12 Introduction The coexistence of ostensibly incompatible features in Miyazaltfs protagonists is echoed by the hybrid nature of his topographies where the most outlandish and remote fantasies meet and merge in mutual su cusion with the real and the contemporary What lends these worlds utter credibility is their meticulous realization down to the most diminutive component At the same time Miyazaki s universes are ambivalently incon clusive because they tenaciously resist simplistic didacticisrn In lamenting the passing of an age in which nature was acknowledged as an autonomous and immensely pow erful force Miyazaltfs movies do not indulge in mere nostalgia for they frankly intimate that nature s forceful independence is unlikely ever be restored All one could hope for is a situation in which humans and their technologies may achieve nonaggressive cohabitation and even cordial cooperation with the natural environ ment As to how those scenarios may be realized Miyazaki ofiers various options Nam siczzi oftye Valley oftye V7z39m arguably the most overtly messianic and utopian of his movies solemnizes the resurrection of the depleted Earth by an act of wholly sel ess valor Lczputcz Spirited Away and How celebrate the power of love as a means of pro tecting the well being of individuals and collectivities alike Mononoke offers a more downtoearth approach though allowing for the forest s regeneration and asserting the enduring power of its spirits through an emphasis on the paramount importance of devotion and kinship the film soberly draws attention to the ultimate incommen surability of San s and Ashitakafs worlds Miyazaltfs cinema is eminently ethical Yet his films never descend to the level of populist rhetoric being in fact fearlessly explicit in their representation of evil and of its seductive powers In rede ning reality by transposing it onto an imaginary plane the movies intrepidly refuse to camou age life s sorrows or simplify its complexities in a Disneyesque fashion In this respect Miyazakfs approach is akin to the one favored by Akira Kurosawa 19101998 Rozaomrm 1950 Ikiru 1952 The Seven Samurai 1954 Throne of B10051 1957 Dem Uzala 1974 Ram 198 5 the best known Japanese direc tor around the world Indeed Kurosawa himself has professed profound admiration for Miyazalrfs work describing its signi cance as far more substantial than that of his own cinematic corpus I am somewhat disturbed when critics lump our works Eogether One cannot minimize the importance of Miyazakfs work by comparing it to mine quoted in the Channel 4 Film Review of Spirited Away 2003 Kurosawa included My Neig750quot Tbroro in his personal list of 10O Best Movies and praised Kz1 392r39 Dez39z2ery Ser vice profusely admitting to having been moved to tears by it In the West it may appear paradoxical that one of the greatest livewaction direc tors of all time should attribute such magnitude to the productions of an animation director This is because Western audiences tend to regard animation as a secondrate art form and when judging speci cally Japanese animation to dismiss it as violent super cial cliched and technically cold Such judgments are stereotypical however since they are based on moderate familiarity with only a small proportion of the Japagg nese animation industry s overall output Furthermore they do not take into considii eration the distinctive importance of cartoons and animated lms in the context Intro duction I 3 Japan failing to acknowledge that in that culture manga and their cinematic correl atives are an integral component of literature and popular culture If We look at some of the masterpieces of Nipponic art from the past it becomes clear that the Japanese have consistently expressed themselves in a pictographic mode characterized by the sustained intermingling of images and words lines and meanings pictures and poems and that mange and zmime are relatively recent manifestations of that trend A work produced in 1814 that can help us grasp the deep rooteclness of something of a cartoon vision in Japan is the collection of sketches by the aforemen tioned Hokusai depicting vivid images of everyday life plants animals deities histor ical events and landscapes Many of these have quite direct equivalents in Miyazakiis movies What is most astonishing about the Works of both artists is the curious atten tion devoted to the recording of minute details that may often go unheeded in real life and to translate them into technically immaculate and intensely atmospheric graphics This book examines the themes and images presented in Miyazaltfs lms from Nan sicczzi oftye Valley ofrbe Wind to Howl Moving Castle with reference to Japanese and Western approaches to animation and their respective codes and conventions The dis cussion focuses on the ways in which the director has imaginatively redefined the param eters of animation as both an art form and a medium by dealing with issues of global cultural relevance and by harmoniously integrating traditional cel animation and com puter graphics images in an utterly novel cinematic synthesis and correspondingly fresh aesthetic vision The book concurrently oliers theme based analyses of the director s seminal works and techniquebased analyses of the tools and tricks deployed in and at times speci cally designed for particular productions Miyazaki s Works are also assessed in relation to Studio Ghiblifs overall output and to the company s aesthetic agenda its historical and technological development and its relationship with Disney Pictures the Disney Tolurna Deal signed in l996 grants almost Worldwide distribu tion rights for certain Studio Ghibli lms to the Walt Disney Corporation 7 Grave ofrke Fire zes Prior to Grave oftye Fz39rcy Zz39es Takahata had directed Cvie tas Bret frzrinea Cvie a story based on the popular mange by Etsumi Haruki in the forms of both a feature film produced by Knack and released in 1981 and a TV series comprising 64 episodes produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and aired from October 1981 to March 1983 Care dramatizes the exploits of the young daughter of an unemployed yakuzrz who is forced to look after her separated and squabbling parents catering business While they are absorbed in their own predicarnents and considering this rather bleak subjectmatter is surprisingly very humorous and visually endearing Takahata also directed the feature Game ye Ias Cellisr Sara Hirer no Gousm 1982 OH Production a story based on a Work written by one of the director s favorite authors the poet and novelist Kenji Miyazawa Whose fiction is also behind Ybtoro Gauche is a cellist of limited talent who plays for the local town orchestra and is blamed for the group s inability to play in unison only a few days away from a concert The protago nistmwhose dream is to equal Beethoven practices perseveringly Well into the night but to no avail until a team of small animals consisting of a cat a cuckoo a badger and a mouse come to visit him and assiduously inculcate in the aspiring musician the virtues of patience and rigor and most importantly the value of communication Unless Gauche truly Wishes to communicate with others via his music playing will be no more than a mechanical and unrevvarding chore Taltahatzfs last directorial accomplishment before Fire ies was The Story of Yatmz gczwzz Candis Kzmzgewa Hariwdri Monogatzzri 1987 an avvardwwinning liveaction doc urnentary produced by Miyazakfs personal o ce Nibariki which chronicles the efforts of the people of Yanagawa Town to preserve their historical canals and free them from pollution An ecologically committed project the documentary echoes aspects of both Talltahata s and Miyazakfs earlier works and anticipates later Studio Ghibli productions As Takahata himself has observed the fact that Fire ieslw based on a semi autobiographical novel by Nosaka Akiyuki 4 was released as a doublefeature with My Neighbor fllotoro had a profound impact on audience responses those Who saw Tbtoro first didn t want to see Fire ies to the end While those Who saw Fire ies first didn t have the problem Takahata 2004 With its frank exposure of Wartime violence bru f tality and suffering in an affecting tale centered on two children from the city of Kobe 77 78 The Anim Art of IIayao Miyazald rendered homeless and motherless by a bombing raid and its culmination in the death from starvation of its protagonists Fire ies is hardly what one could term an ordinary animation Its themes and imagery are indeed more at home with liveaction cinema for instance as Roger Ebert has pointed out with Italian neorealisrn and speci cally the Works of De Sica and Rossellini The critic has also observed that even though one Would never think of this as an emime subject if Fire ies had been a live actior1 lm it would inevitably have been bogged down in realism and the resulting work would not have been as pure as abstract The idea of a little girl who s starving was Takahata s principal concern and therefore the image of an actual child actor might get in the way of the meaning of the image Ebert 2004 Stylization a key component of all mime at its best is here posited as the director s aesthetic and ethical priority and a means of producing potent affective reactions not by mirnetically reproducing empirical reality but through the dis criminating distillation and simpli cation of actual occurrences This is borne out most efiectively by the silent sequence of snapshot memories of his sister Setsuko that it through Seitais mind after her demise For Ebert Grcwe oftae Eire ies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation Since the earliest days most animated films have been car toons for children and families Recent animated features such as The Lion King Princess Mononoke and The Iron Giemt have touched on more serious themes and the Toy Story movies and classics like Bambi have had moments that moved some audience members to tears But these lms exist Within safe con nes they inspire tears but not grief Ebert 2000 Fire ies conversely does not simply oger signs of grief it is grief There is no coded rhetoric intended to alleviate the anguish of death of its intimation and of its aftermath Thus the lm puts us in touch with undiluted inconsolable and con summate vvoe which no vague promises of otherworldly rewards could ever sublimate and which the bucolic beauty of nature ampli es with harrowing irony This effect is achieved by means of stark visual contrasts and juxtapositions On the one hand the movie earnestly foregrounds the assaults on civilian areas marking some of the most destructive military operations in the whole of world history and the attendant deluge of black rain caused by ash bloated clouds unsentimentally exposing images of charred dis gured and yinfested corpses of crawling maggots of appalling injuries and of the direst both physiological and mental symptoms of severe malnutrition On the other hand it persistently celebrates the glorious resilience of the natural environment in the face of the most abominable manifestations of human folly by throwing into relief the blissful tranquility of elds and ponds the majestic serenity of the ocean the kalei doscopic richness of the sky and the sheer beauty of myriad creaturesSeagulls dragon ies crabs and of course the eponymous re ies themselveswrendered with achingly luscious painterliness Fire ies evokes a ubiquitous sense of powerlessness right from the opening scene in which the horribly emaciated body of the dying Seita is seen slumped against a pil lar in a vast train station regarded by both passersby and maintenance stag with a mix of dismay and revulsion The atmosphere of unrelieved gloom evoked by the film not 7 Grave aftre Fire ies 79 only in its explicit presentations of violence and suffering but also in its deliberately ironical contemplations of an idyllic World grotesquely incongruous with the horrors of war is underscored by the protagonists fate after their untimely departures Indeed their depiction as wandering ghosts imprisoned in a liminal zone that offers no relief but in fact only a callous reiteration of their ordeal ad in nitum suggests that the most intractably tragic side of their vicissitudes is not their having lost their lives but the intimation that there is no posthumous peace for them to enjoy The lm therefore re ases to indulge in recuperative visions guaranteeing the return of the earth to the earth and of ashes to ashes This chilling realization gains pathos at the end of the film if one considers retrospectively that peace is precisely what the protagonists have been longing for all along This is eloquently borne out by the scenes in which Setsuko digs miniature graves for the re ies that she and Seita capture in order to illuminate their shelter as a metaphorical version of the tomb she imagines her mother s body to occupy The ghost motif is accorded pivotal irnportance even though the scenes featur ing Seita and Setsuko as ghosts are neither particularly numerous nor protracted because as they punctuate the action in such a way as to invest an otherwise purely linear narrative with a sense of multidimensional coherence Visually the scenes in question stand out due to their distinctively unearthly refly sprinkled red glow and due to their presentation of the protagonists as fully garbed in the very same undam aged clothes in which they first set out on their fateful voyage Two main ghost sequences frame the movie the early one in which Seita and Setsuko appear rst in a field and then in a deserted train carriage and the nal scene in which the two sit on a low wall regarding the city together and the elder sibling tells his sister that it is time for bed There is something excruciatingly derisive indeed almost sardonic about Seita s closing words since the film as a whole has made it patent that no rest or respite is available for its hapless protagonists either in life or in death Carefully placed between these two key sequences are a few spectral interludes the scene in which Seita and Setsuko reach the end of their eerily melancholy train journey and emerge into a hostilelooking nocturnal setting which could be read as a sym bolic anticipation of the initially distant and ultimately glacial attitude displayed by their aunt towards their predicament the brief but unforgettable scene in which Seita s phantasm recalls Setsulo s inconsolable grief upon her dead rnother s kirnonos being taken away and covers his ears in a vain attempt to muffle the audible reminiscence of her distraught sobbing the scene where the protagonists ghosts observe their living incarnations from a hilltop in the setting that will eventually provide Seita s and Set suko s last vestige of a home the minimalist shot following Setsulto s revelation that she is aware of her mother s death despite Seitafs having endeavored to keep the truth from her in which the camera simply focuses on the box containing the woman s ashes in a corner of the re y specked shelter The ghostly element is also reinforced by the use of nostalgic flashbacks speci cally in the scenes in which Seita revisits a joyful time Spent on the beach with his mother and sister the taking of a family photograph in the Course of a mmzmif and the mesmerizing lights and splendid reworks of a naval parade 80 The Anim Art of Hayao Miyazalti It is also notable that Akiyuki has described Fire ies as a double suicide 5Jinjuu story The full import of the phrase may only be adequately appreciated if one takes into account its culturally speci c connotations Double suicide stories are bound up With the mzrczaleu puppet plays of Chikarnatsu Monzaemon 16534725 which pivot on the principle of loyalty and on the often unsuccessful struggle to reconcile Within that principle societal obligations giri and personal sentimental attachments nirzjeza For Seita and Setsuico giri is epitomized by their aunt s family structure and its traditional customs and beliefs an arrangement within which they can find no proper place or peace Unable at the same time to Work for a living they are further cut off from society and its expectations In terms of 5Jinjuu their inability to belong dictates that the only viable way out is death The blood tie precludes the possibility of an erotic connection between Seita and Sestuko of the kind normally included in classic doublesuicide plays hence a subli mation takes place whereby Seita acts as his little sister s guardian and Setsuko in turn assumes the role of his mother at times for instance after he has been ercely beaten up for stealing vegetables and even the role of his lover though this aspect is handled in a purely platonic vein as demonstrated by the scene in which Seita embraces his sister in sleep and she insists on being left alone Interview with Nosaka Akiyuki and Isao Takahata Structurally however the two children s predicament does partake of the formal setup of the traditional 5ainjuu tale insofar as the days leading up to their death are like the development of a love story the creation of an intimate World that exists just for the two of them as a kind of personal heaven Takahata has corroborated the idea that his source narrative has the typical flavor of a Chilea rnatsu play but has also stressed that What attracted him rnosi to Akiyulcfs work was exactly the notion of that ephemeral heaven and that this was the dimension he sought to capture most poignantly in his cinematic adaptation of Homru n0Hr2 la Interview with Nosaka Akiyuki and Isao Takahata However the lm s adherence to established conventions does not at any point steer it into the domain of cliche As Patrick Drazen has noted this proposition is con rmed by an apparently marginal but actually very telling moment namely the scene in which the 19th century American ballad Home Sweet Home which could in itself be deemed corny and saccharine is played u as the camera surveys for the last time the swampy home of the two dead children Drazen 2003 Whereas as a musical back ground to the image of a character s cushy abode the ballad would indeed have come across as a hackneyed formula its employment in the presentation of one of the movies rnost disconsolate sequences has a profoundly defamiliarizing effect Through its earnest rejection of platitudes Fire zes ultimately etches itself into one s memory by activating concurrently 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53gt 0MgtrBE cm E000 mmE00 c0mE000E HE m 550 xumm 5 03 00 00 mmEm mam 0m L032 E votmm 25 2 macaw swmmi 0003 hm 0E00m EOLW 0550 v m boom otmm vcm bmmmm cotmm 00 mEH0u0m 02 Anoom 0 mm vummuuum EEoo0mmumnngtZ0gtummmmEmmm0EuEbmmngtgtgtasH mm 0020 mgtmQ mm 3 nmntumcmb doom bm u um mm 00mw 003 vm0gt 262 ccmmmm Kcmmo 25 gtgtmMgtmmE uh0m0m mEm 00 m5 0E 00 Bmm 0005 mEmc0 gtgtO W0 mE000m 205 cmuazmn Nucmmmhumzu Emzm m m 22 m 0am Sam B m 0 m oa Ea BE 30 mm vcm m mE 000 m mm 003 mcm m 0 Emouum vmmmwuv E0E m 00 m 33 Eom 2 Em xummammcm Em Bmbmmm muE0 E 0umE02 m0Emn mmo mmormm Em mE0gt umuf 9302 mEE mz mmm 00 0m00 0gtmmEu m mm 0mEEm00 00mummm mcmomzo 05 wctmcou mcosuzmuoa summ E I 038500 gtgt 8umuEgtgt 00 0sm0nm00 0m00 05 gm I 00mmm EE mm mwtm vBumnmE m0mEuE comm 00 Ew mwmmcu 0 Em0 mEou 05 E Ezt 2 2 b9 mm 0300 0gtmm00nm00 mugt0 05 E bgt0m0 mmzm ummu 0 cums mL ms mm 503 003 55 00 00 2 E5 mummsm mr Em 0m bm0oE0u mm cmm m 0gt0gtE 9 b0v mm 500 ampm0GE 0BmEEm mm ugt0gt0 0005 E 00 EE0gtgt EN 000 vmucmoccm mmc0mmgt0amp uwcmuicmqcm 6 mmmwgtE nBmEEm m5u m mam O em 00 uum E bzmtohcoi 2 00 v m cm cm 5 mcm 53 mU00n c0smEEm mmmmmmsm am w m cotmm Hm 0mm0 505 m 20 mmm mo 0E0 05 0lt 22 v 35 mm gt quot e begin with a true story but one so dense with stories within its stories In so layered with conflicting versions of the truth that it seems to have garnered the narrational generative capacities of myth It would take a modern Sheherezade far more than athousandand one nights to unravel tithe complex skein of fact and fiction that surrounds the unnarrative of the Gulf War 1990 But that is not the purpose of this essay here we are concerned with tracing K that vast storycycle of fact is entangled with another story the fictional lm n laddm which is itself enmeshed in a dense mesh of true stories and tall tales a whole scourse of ideas about the Middle East and about Otherness x Ngpnce upon a time not too long ago relations between Islamic states in the Middle East ij rE fraught with political tensions Meanwhile in a land called Buena Vista far to the gWest some artists constructed a lrn set in a Middle East that looked very different w the one people saw on the news The land they painted was filled with magic and ttfantasy while the other was lled with strife and anger This paper concerns what enabled two such contradictory visions of the Middle East to manifest themselves f27 i quot Representations of the Orient no matter how seemingly innocent are charged with ineanings about cultural relations In 1991 the West was bombarded with infrared 7i of the Gulf War and a wrecked Baghdad A year later Walt Disney s Aladdin 0sf released Set in a mythical city called Agrabah a near acronym of Baghdad the film presents a different picture of the Middle East Although these two portraits are very dissimilar they share more than just a common cultural origin Both texts are P informed by the discourse of Orier1talismwh1ch can be broadly de ned as set of readings and writings that Western institutions impose on the what used to be called the Orient specially its most proximate part the Middle East The lm Aladdin is as rooted in the complex discourse of Orientalism as the news coverage of the Gulf War By looking fat this film and some texts surrounding it this paper will discuss some ways in which 0rientalistn as it is represented through the story of Aladdin in several forms operates 1111 Popular culture I will suggest that recent visual interpretations of the story are used 39w quotwm 138 A READER IN ANIMATION STUDIES for three purposes to allay fears about the Oriental Other to display technical innovations and nally to buttress a discourse of Western technological superigmy through the textual appropriation of a story of the Oriental Other Edward Said whose in uential book Orientolisml had a radical impact on post colonia1 criticism de nes his the Orientalism broadly as among other things a certain will of intention to understand in some cases to control manipulate even to incorporate what is a manifestly different or alternative or novel world He writes of the sheer knitted togetherness of Orientalist texts their propensity to crossreference one an other to a such an extreme degree that at times they seem to describe not a real Orient but avirtual wholly textually de ned one Aladdin has been controversial ever since its release Spokespeople for Arab Arnerican groups and devout Muslims have been especially vocal in denouncing the film s use of stereotypes3 In contrast some Viewers the author spoke to informally applauded the film s attempt to reflect Arab culture and physiognorny within the limitations of a caricatured form I do not wish to endorse sirnplistically either position Instead1 believe this debate is symptomatic of the unstable infrastructure of the larger cultural discourse of ethnicity whose parameters are constantly being redrawn by the interven tion of hitherto silenced ethnic and religious groups In other words the fact thatdladdia is contentious at all demonstrates that there are now new groups of interlocutors who will not accept unproblernatically Western representations of themselves I would like to touch brie y on how these perspectives might by contextualised with reference to past representations of the Orient and the Aladdin story in particular in animation live action film and other media 39 In order to understand the cultural work of1 laddin it is vital we understand the matrix from whence it sprang Said suggests that European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground selffl Hence one of the covert projects of Orientalisni is to define the West as the Orient s Other through a series of binary definitions The Occident is light and enlightened while the Orient is dark and benighted The former is rational and just the latter sensual and despotic One is scientific and rigorous the other magical and imaginative and so forth Post colonial critics like Said Reza Harntnarni and Rana Kabbani describe how the circulation of these de nitions was and is one of the projects of a large collection of orientalist texts that encompass a range of topics including philology history travel anthropology and of course fiction Like many fictional Orientalist texts Aladdin is quite literally a projection in the psychoanalytic and cinematic senses of the word of Western fears of and desires for the Orient Many of the dualisms outlined above are replayed in the surface of its narrative The Oriental world it depicts is one of despotism and irrationality an irnag congruent with traditional guring of the Orient The laws like the one that decre s Jasmine must marry are arbitrarily enforced and revoked Evil despots like Jafar seize power through the misappropriation of magical technology These elements are cer tainly present in earlier versions of the story but the lm chooses to underline their current political relevance by dropping allusions like afar s ominous threat There S a new order now which echoes George Bush s farnous phrase Cornplirnentarily the lm recasts Western fantasies of the Orient as a place of sensuality and pleasure Journalists and reviewers at the time of the film s release remarked on the sexiness of its heroine Jasmine practically the only woman in the film who was described by 0113 12 The thief of Biieiia Vista 139 animator as a super babe 5 The guration of Jasmine parallels representations of Middle Eastern Women that is discussed in the work of Malek Alloula6 A The lmmakers have described how the film was visually inspired by a mixture of original Middle Eastern material and Western depictions of the East The studio sponsored book on the making of the film asserts that the production designers developed the style ofilladcliii from the study of the following 1 Persian miniature paintings from approximately AD 1000 to 1500 2 various Victorian paintings of Eastern cultures 3 numerous photo essay and coffee table books on the Middle East 4 Disney animated films from the mid 1940s to the midl950s 5 Alexander Korda s 1940 film The Thief of Baghdad7 Apart from the mention of the Persian Miniatures all the sources iust cited are Western in provenance Better than anything I could have drawn from a viewing of the film this list illustrates the knittedwtogetherness of Orientalist discourse in practice Like many other Orientalist teiitslladdiii is far less concerned with a representation of any real Middle East than it is with representing older Western representations of the Orient and the story This sel referential tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the story s circulation in the West The corpus of tales known as the Arabian Nights or The Thousand and One Nights translated into Western languages at the beginning of the eighteenth century was one of the first Islamic fictional Works to circulate in the West and gain Widespread popularity Consequently not only were the Nights crucial to the formation of popular Western conceptions about the Orient but their subsequent forms were also ltered by those very conceptions they helped to foster Antoine Galland for example one of the Nights earliest transistors was aiso one of the first to incorporate the story of Aladdin into the tales where most scholars now agree it should never have been He was also one of the first Westerners to excise some of the more salacious passages he had heard from Arab storytellers from the story and the cycle as a whole Robert Irwin the eminent scholar of the Arabian Nights even suggests that it is conceivable that Galland himself Wrote the story drawing as much on European sources as oriental ones 8 Thus the intermingling of Oriental fancy dress and European fantasy that marks the story ofiladdin throughout its history might be traceable back to its very conception It is interesting to note that as far back as the first wave of interest in the Nights they were seen not only as light entertainment for adults but as especially suitable reading for the young Gibbon for example wrote that Before I left Kingston school I was Well acquainted with Pope s Homer and the Arabian Nights entertainments two books which will always please by the moving picture of human manners and specious niiracles9 The pleasure of specious miracles that the Nights offer is often central to their reception and one that comes to gloss ideas of the Orient as a land of both miracle and chicanery Furthermore their association with childhood pleasure is gradually elided with the Western notion that Orientals themselves are essentially childish In the Translator s 140 A READER IN ANIMATION STUDIES F oreward to his Plain and Literal Translation of the N ights Sir Richard F Burton berareg his predecessors for what he sees as their misappropriation of the book decrying that one and all degrade a chef d heuere of the highest anthropological and ethnographical interest and importance to a mere fairybook a nice present for little boys Burton g translation restores material excised from Galland s version in an attempt to recaptuE the original s authenticity and thereby drag the book out of the nursery At the same time he gures Arabs in the Foreword as childlike in their credulity noting as they listen to his telling of the stories at a reside encampment that the most fantastic flights of fancy most impossible of irnpossibilities appear to them utterly natural mere matters of everyday occurrenceiu Despite Burton s efforts to give the Nights and the anthropological context the stories continued to be published mainly under the aegis of children s fiction throughout the nineteenth century Thez lladdin story along with Sindbad the Sailor andElli Baba and the Forty Thieves soon emerged as particular favourites and were often published on their own retold by new authors and vividly illustrated by wellknown artists like Aubrey Beardsley Heath Robinson and Tenniel Soon pantomimes were being made of these stories Accounts of these early pantos stress their use of clever theatrical devices in order to help carpets y and genies seem to appear magically Many British theatregoers will attest that little has changed technologically in the Christmas pantos of today These early performances ofmaddin are noteworthy for their use of spectacle One of the earliest cinematic adaptations of the story by Path Freres from 1906 seems to be either closely inspired or even based upon a stage version The theatricality of the staging of the final scene is apparent Timothy Mitchell in his book Colonising Egtptfz reports on how Egyptian students like Ibrahim Pasha in Paris during the nineteenth century wrote of how curious they found the West s obsession with Z6 spectacle a word for which they could find no equivalent in Arabic Pasha was particularly puzzled by the Western spectacles of the East the masques and operas the panoramas of Cairo and the Great Exhibition of 1873 which reproduced the city in miniature with chaotic streets and dirtied paintwork Mitchell observes that Spectacles like the world exhibition and the Orientalist congress set up the world as a picture They ordered it up before an audience as an object on display to be viewed experienced and investigated The continuity between these nineteenthcentury technologies and early cinema has been well discussed elsewhere For the present my point is that this specular activity the machinery of the power of the gaze offered another way to frame and contain the Orient just as scholarly Orientalisrn described it through the power lltnowledge of the written text The Aladdin story was subsumed into this specular world View through the new visual machinery of the cinema The 1906 Path Frere version used a combination stage effects and trick lm effects in order to create genies with rudimentary animation techniqueS Many prints of this film were handtinted None of this technology was original at the time but it is interesting that the story should have invited the use of relatively new techniques In fact the Aladdin story and cognates of it like the two Th239cf0fBagdd l movies of l 924 and 1940 repeatedly serve as showcases for new cinematic special effects techniques It is as if an attempt is made to literalise the story with its allpowerful genie creating an impossible world through cinematic magic of animation In other The thief of Buena Vista iwords in many ways the Aladdin story serves as a trope for the animation process itself The logic of this trope is that Western technology is the genie which Aladdinthe animator commands and the world that they manipulate together is a fictive one that represents the Orient Since fictional representations of the Orient are so scarce this delightful land of fantasy might become the only Way the West can imagine the Orient as a hybrid place using a Western language and in Arab fancy dress somewhere between Tehran and Veronica Lake as a Warner Bros n1ovieAlz Bdba Bunny puts it Films like 100 Arabian Nights 1959 by the United Productions of America UPA studio and Aladdin are deeply marked by this hybridity On the one hand they try to emulate the look of Orient in various ways while maintaining an emphatically Western world view in the narrative frame of reference The UPA version of the film for example emphasises the studio s distinctively flat graphic style in order to enhance the Oriental look of the film suggested by the nonrepresentational quality of Middle Eastern art Yet Aladdin is tellingly displaced as central character by the studio star Mr Magoo A similar displacement is at work in Aladdm The publicity surrounding the film continually stresses the pains the artists took to incorporate the look of the Middle East However this look is literally part of the background of the film an element in the art direction supplementary to the foregroIind s characters who look like Tom Cruise Oriental imagery becomes one of many special effects something that superior Western technology like the weaponry in the Gulf War can create and control For example in Dzmey s Aladdin a book on the making of the film special effects supervisor Don Paul explains how the smoke and re was based on Arabic calligraphy and stylised to make them more arabesque in design Paul cheerfully states that though they made an quot effort to use arabesque images we try not to hold their shapes too long Otherwise we may be saying words we don t know we re saying 13 N For some viewers of the film these good intentions to authenticate the film s look 0 seemed superiicial in practice Khalil Barhouni a professor of iinguistics at Stanford University in California was reported as saying of the film s storefront signs were Scribblings and that his children recognise Arabic writing and were puzzled by the animators failure to draw simple letters I What Barhouni s children have failed to recognise is that Aladdin is not really addressed to them Aladdm is a fictional orientalist text engaged with a dialogue with other fictional orientalist texts The scrawls it depicts are a unique language one without a referent except to the animated world in which they are embedded Furthermore as Said and others have suggested the Orient itself is a discursive construct one which only makes sense in opposition to a complementary Occident It is therefore fitting that one of the most nancially successful cinematic visualisations of this construct should be animated After all animation is a discursive construct in its own way one marginalised like the East that signi es only through its opposition to the dominant that is live action cinema Notes 1 Edward W Said Orzeizralzsne Wesrem Conceptions of the Orient London Penguin 1991 2 Ibid 12 3 See for exan1ple D1sney s Aladdm rubs Arabs up the wrong Way by Christopher Walker the 141 142 men A RE1DER IN ANIMATION STUDIES Times 22 May 1993 and Arabian Slights by Richard Scheinin San ose Mercury News 21 1993 to site but two 39 Ibid 3 Aladdin Sane by Mimi Avins in Premiere December 1993 See Malek Alloula The Colonial Harem Minneapolis and Manchester University of Minnesota Press and Manchester University Press 1986 John Culhane Disney Aladdin The Making afar Animated Film New York Hyperion 1992 89 There s the rub and there too by Robert Irwin Times Literary Supplement 24 December 1993 Edward Gibbon Memoirs efMy Life ed Georges A Bonnard London Thomas Nelson 1966 36 Quoted from Peter L Caracciolo Introduction Such a store house of ingenious fiction and of splendid imagery in The Arabian Nights in Engiish Literature ed Caracciolo London Macmillan Press 1988 2 Richard F Burton A Piain and Literal translation of the Arabian Nights Benares Kamashastra Society 1885 Ibid viii Timothy Mitchell Colorzising Eygpt Cambridge Cambridge University Press 1988 Culhane 113 Quoted in Scheinin Arabian Slights Sanjose Mercury News 2 January 1993
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