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Thursday, May 18, 2006

The difference between America's animation scene and, say, that of certain parts of Europe is this: We see what the Japanese are doing and try to replicate it in live-action. It seems like in Europe, they see what the Japanese can do with animation and follow their lead in using animation as another way of making movies.

I mentioned Tachiguishi Retsuden earlier on in the month. That looks like it's going to be quite interesting. Today Cartoon Brew has featured a Danish partially-animated feature called Princess. No, it's not what you think it is. This movie is the farthest thing from a Disney Princess movie you can get to.

A young minister finds out his sister, a porn star, has died of a drug overdose. He has to begin caring for his sister's 5-year-old daughter, and also he becomes obsessed with somehow associating his sister's life with something other than pornography. The movie uses animation and live action to tell the story in hallucinatory detail. A Flash trailer is here.

The French have answered with Renaissance, a movie that is quite literally a "film noir" set in the future. Remember how the backgrounds of the TV show Batman: The Animated Series were painted on black cardstock so that the whole look would reflect a city completely seen by night? Renaissance does the same thing, but completely in black and white. Since I don't speak French I have no idea what's going on here, but whatever it is, it's beautiful.

I guess you can argue that A Scanner Darkly is the American horse in this race, but I have a hard time seeing rotoscoping, even rotoscoping in the painterly, hallucinogenic way that you saw in the movie Waking Life, as being truly animation. Sorry Fleischer Bros., sorry Bakshi, but it never looks as good as something truly drawn.

I don't know if we'll see any of these movies other than A Scanner Darkly in American theatres. I hope we do, but I don't know if anyone at any of the Majors is going to take a chance on it. Too bad, this all looks really good.