Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lecture with John Canemaker

The screenings of John Canemaker's animated pieces really opened my eyes to a fresh new world of animation that I would not have seen in my daily consumption of standard media. Canemaker uses a dreamy, interpersonal and even childlike approach within his animation that ultimately makes the characters of his stories very relatable. In class we screened Canemaker’s Confessions of a Stardreamer and later, The Moon and the Son.
            Confessions of a Stardreamer was a short (about 10 minute) piece about a sort of sassy actress. The actress tells her story about her life and her hopes and dreams for her future. While the audience hears her story, we see animations of her morphing into different forms and shapes. The animation kind of illustrates the mental changes her minds go through as an actor. The animations in this piece also reflected her inner fears as an actress. For example in one bit, when she is talking about the auditioning process, the audience watching her perform is animated to look like shadowy monsters.
            The Moon and the Son similarly use animation to reflect inner feelings of a character. The story is about a fictional conversation between John Canemaker and his deceased father John Cannizano Sr. Throughout the piece Canemaker highlights issues of his father’s anger throughout his life as well as Canemaker’s own personal guilt for not protecting his mother. Through out the piece Mr. Cannizano Sr. can be seen morphing from a man into a red monster looking man with sharp zigzags for a face, the way that Canemaker probably often imagine his father.  Yet Canemaker’s mother is often depicted as this beautiful bird who gracefully flies away.
            The Moon and the Sun is not only interesting for this reason, but also because of the mixture of family footage and archival footage incorporated in the piece. It was very great to watch because as an audience member, I felt like I was drifting in and out of reality, which is how I assume Canemaker felt while making a film about an imaginary conversation with his very real father. Overall, I really enjoyed screening some on John Canemaker’s works. I haven’t been exposed to much animation in my life, so it was eye opening to see the types of stories can be told with different techniques of animation. 

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