Thursday, December 6, 2007

Florian et Malena

During my travels in Europe a few years back I came a cross a DVD of recent European animated films at a small art gallery in Paris. I was intrigued so I purchased it knowing nothing of the films or filmmakers. All I knew was that I had not seen enough European animated films.

Within it I found many beautiful animated pieces and one in particular was by Anita Killi entitled Florain et Malena. I know very little French and none of the films have English subtitles, but I was able to understand the story with no issues for it is a story we have all heard time and time again and yet it never looses it's original power.

The film is about a boy, Florain, who has a friend who lives a cross a small river named Malena. They go to the river every day to play, but one day they are divided by war and a wall is put on the very river that they play at. Florain's father goes to fight in the war. Florain's mother tries to explain why he can't go to play with Malena, but he is unable to comprehend.

The piece uses cut-outs and is heavily character based with perfect timing and brilliant replacements. It is extremely moving especially the scenes of battle with demons riding horses and the dissolve to a devastated land and Florain looking for a place to play in the unfamiliar landscape.

Watching this film one can't help but think of World War II and Yori Norstein's representation of the effect on people's lives in his films. I find it interesting how those messages and memories are still alive today in Europe (and they can be found in a lot of Japanese art and animation). It makes me wonder about the effect of war into continuing generations when the war occurred upon the homeland. Europe (and Japan) were fairly devastated by the war physically, but the United States was not. It makes me curious about the current situation of war and the difference between the United States and most of Europe.

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