Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Not Just for Kids or for Laughs: The Serious Side of Cartoons"

Above: a striking image from Ari Folman's "Waltz with Bashir" feature.

From today's WSJ comes an article about Bill Plympton's animation programming for the Woodstock Film Festival titled "Not Just for Kids or for Laughs: The Serious Side of Cartoons" by David D'Arcy.

On Plympton:

"He usually works without dialogue, which saves on hiring actors and synching voices to drawn characters. He supports himself and his studio on his short films, which he sells to European and Asian television stations. There is also a market for Mr. Plympton's original drawings ("

On adult animation:

"The waters of adult animation were tested last year by "Persepolis," the screen adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's best-selling graphic novel about a girl's coming-of-age in Iran. A critical success, the subtitled film did respectably in U.S. theaters (and much better in Europe), but it wasn't "Shrek" by a long shot."

I am not an animation expert, but the waters get tested regularly. Every decade or so there's an animated movie that is not for kids, like ANIMAL FARM, WATERSHIP DOWN, Bakshi's movies (FRITZ THE CAT, WIZARDS, FIRE & ICE and his LORD OF THE RINGS). These are just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are others.

1 comment:

Brian Fies said...

Of course you're right, with good examples, and you suggest an interesting puzzler: what's the oldest (or dare I say the first) animated feature aimed primarily at adults? The first that leaps to my mind is "Fantasia," which, though it had some cute centaurs and hippos, was an ambitious and sincere (and flawed) stab at animation as mature art for grown-ups. It seems like animators in the '20s and '30s (in Europe or Japan if not the U.S.?) might've been doing some adult-oriented experimenting with cartoons, but I can't immediately put my finger on any. Because I am ignorant.