Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Animation Timeline - Ladislaw Starewicz (1882 - 1965)

Ladislaw Starewicz uses insects and animals for the characters of his animations but they are not targeted for children like Disney's animations as Starewicz embraced a dark themes to make his stories twist unusually. Starewicz first animation was The Cameraman's Revenge which stars a cast of stag beetles and grasshoppers, capturing the disturbing forms and nightmarish shapes of the insects in a story of love and infidelity. Frogland focused on the strangeness of amphibians and the story of political allegory. "These short films range from the touching to the bizarre (I never associated frogs with Christmas), and the masterpiece of the collection is "The Mascot". I believe it was released the same year as King Kong." (DVD near, 2011) Starewicz mixes bizarre elements together to make his sequences surreal but there is also enough information to tell the audience when a character is lovable and heroic. In The Mascot, the young pup toy is clearly the hero and has the lovable cuteness that makes the character adorable to the viewer.

Figure 1, (2010), Mascot still1

Figure 2, (2011), Mascot still 2

In the case of The Mascot, a child's toy dog roams the streets looking for an orange for his master so focuses on the fear of walking around in the world and becoming exposed to dark and evil. "In particular, Starewicz's 1933 short 'The Mascot' plays like a blueprint for the style of Tim Burton productions like The Nightmare Before Christmas, with its large cast of bizarre dolls and puppets brought to life by painstaking stop-motionwork. It's impressive even by today's standards." (Faust, 2010) The quote identifies Starewicz's style as an early influence for more contemporary animators such as Tim Burton, who explores the dark and disturbing to make the audience see an everyday situation as a world of nightmares. The materials used for Starewicz's animation were plain and simple but worked together to construct the theme of his story. "Starewicz's The Mascot (1934) aka The Devil's Ball which was an amazing flight of fancy featuring supernatural creatures made of paper, twigs, wire, bones, glass, cloth and other found materials, all coming together in a madcap witching hour party presided over by a puppet Devil and his talking skull head walking stick." (Morlock, 2009) The materials he used were manipulated and twisted into the disturbing forms of the evil looking characters, which was really successful to distinguish the bird and fish skeleton come to life and the devil.

Figure 3, (2011) The Tale of the Fox


Figure 1, (2010), Mascot still1, @, Accessed on: 21st October 2010

Figure 2, (2011), Mascot still 2, @, Accessed on: 31st October 1997

Figure 3, (2011) The Tale of the Fox, @, Accessed on: 2011


DVD near, (2011), Longing for more Starewicz, @, Accessed on: 2007

Faust M, (2010), The Films of Ladislaw Starewicz, @, Accessed on: 18th February 2010

Morlock Jeff, (2009), The Id runs wild - The Films of Animator Ladislaw Starewicz, @, Accessed on: 11th April 2009

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