Apr 16, 2011

The Draw of the Dark and Mysterious

Polish artist Walerian Borowczyk is not too well-known today. Or perhaps he is, though not necessarily for his animated short films. Trained in painting at the Academy of Fine Art in Krakow, Borowczyk first earned public attention as an artist through his poster designs for cinema features, which earned him a national award in 1953.

Soon thereafter he found his way to animation, and produced some of his first films, including Był sobie raz (Time Upon a Once) (1957) and Dom (House) (1958, with Jan Lenica).

Just before Les Jeux des Anges (1964), Borowcyzk made this short film titled Renaissance (1963), another stop-motion animation.

It cleverly utilizes stop-motion animation played in reverse to create the illusion of objects assembling themselves. After a long build-up, the picture-perfect scene is complete, with all objects reconstructed after initial chaos. This scene does not last very long, though, as a ticking bomb brings everything full circle by exploding and putting the whole scene in disarray once more.

Borowczyk, it seems, is intrigued by the dark and mysterious aspects of life. The violent and hidden forces operating in his animations often take on a strong psychological dimension.

Perhaps, then, his drift from animation to erotic live-action films is not all too surprising.

It is for this reason that he has somewhat fallen from grace towards the end of his career. Though still visually compelling, Borowczyk's later films put those topics prevalent in his animations into explicit form.

Too bad he couldn't resist the temptation. His animations are truly compelling and stimulating and in a strange way...Oh, the power of subtlety!


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