Wednesday, August 22, 2007

video #21: The Presets - Girl and the Sea

Nearly every account I've found online of the 1980 short film Tale of Tales makes sure to mention that it was once voted as the greatest animated film ever made. I'm having a difficult time understanding what this really means. I can't tell exactly when this poll was taken, who was invited to vote, whether any similiar polls have been taken since, and if not, why no one's tried to conduct one. The scant background information that's actually included with the list seems to indicate a terribly small sample size -- only 35 out of 100 invitees actually participated in the poll -- made up of an unknown "international committee of journalists, scholars, festival directors and scholars." I guess that's better than asking industry people to vote. But still, I've watched this movie and I admire it greatly, but it's a dark, cryptic, and ultimately impenetrable work. It's certainly not fair to compare it to anything from Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli, but it's hard not to in 2007, especially if it's still being proclaimed as the best animated movie ever made.

That said, I am looking forward to the next film from its creator, director Yuriy Norshteyn. His next film, The Overcoat, is supposedly going to be released, or at least previewed, at some time before the end of the year. Then again, he's been working on it since 1981, so who knows. His craft involves a ridiculously time-consuming style of time-lapse photography involving cut-out drawings, glass plates, and lots of other things I don't understand. I can't seem to find it now, but I read a quote from him where he stated that computer animation makes him physically ill to watch.

I doubt he'd approve of the well-intended homage by The Presets in their video for "Girl and the Sea." It borrows heavily from Tale of Tales and attempts to recreate the same dark, multilayered look of the film, though surely it was arrived at through cheaper, quicker methods than his own. "Girl and the Sea" keeps several symbolic visuals from its source -- the golden apple, the abandoned infant in the woods -- but apparently had to take its own title extremely literally, so we have a mermaid in half of the video for some reason. I sort of doubt that it was supposed to "mean" anything at all.

The Cut Copy remix of this song is infinitely better and should be pursued by anyone who likes the original version in the slightest.

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