N+2: The Black Dog - Alison de Vere (1987)

19 abril 2012

The Black Dog - Alison de Vere (1987)

El Perro Negro
Sin Diálogos / No Dialogue

Una mujer sueña. En su sueño se presenta un perro negro, el guia que la llevará a través de un viaje místico, quizás iniciático, donde la conciencia de la mujer atravesará diversos caminos: desde el mundanismo, el delirio, la muerte, el conocimiento, la meternidad hasta llegar al puente que finalmente la lleve al estado de conciencia más puro: la niñez. Todo junto al Perro Negro, quien en más de una ocasión la protegerá de los espectros engañosos, esos que aparecen en las partes oscuras del camino.

"(...) Este corto produce en mi y espero que en algunos de ustedes, algo especial en el final. Una animación cargada de simbolismos que algunos podemos identificar con mucha fuerza, sin diálogos pero con una excelente música. Muestra un viaje de purificación, cual ceremonia iniciática nos lleva por caminos internos conocidos y por conocer. No digo más véanla y disfrútenla. (...)"

"Alison de Vere (1927-2001) nació en Pakistán y es una de las autoras más representativas de la animación moderna. Se inició en la animación en el lejano año ´51, siendo uno de sus momentos más memorables, el haber plasmado su trabajo en la película Yellow Submarine (con música de los Beatles).

Entre sus trabajos destacan Café Bar (1974), Silas Mamer y The Angel and the Soldier Boy (1984), The Black Dog (1987) considerada por ella como su obra más importante, Eros & Psyche (1994) y Mouse and Mole (1996).

The Black Dog es una animación cargada de metamensajes, que no posee diálogos y cuenta con una música muy destacable. Interesante para ver y disfrutar."

"(...) The Black Dog (19 minutes), which must be considered her masterpiece, was the next commission from Channel 4 and was executed largely in Cornwall. She worked on this film, completed in 1987, while caring for her progressively senile mother. To understand the size of her achievement in creating a film of this length with only a few occasional assistants, working at a distance from the camera laboratories and recording studios required, one must bear in mind that a normal production studio would need at least a dozen skilled artists to create an equal result. It has been said that The Black Dog represents the same sort of advance in animation that The Marriage of Figaro was in opera.

It is a fully entertaining cartoon film, beautifully designed and animated, but covering in its events and characters themes of self-discovery and experience of the deepest kind. There is, towards the end of the film, an image of the relationship between parent and child that is unbelievably moving. The film collected armfuls of awards internationally.(...)"

"When Alison De Vere died in 2001 we lost a huge talent in the world of animation. Today’s post is about her masterpiece, The Black Dog, made in 1987. Alongside her Café Bar and Mr Pascal, featured on the The Animation Blog, her work has an intensity and depth about it that marks it out from others. I would place her firmly beside yesterday’s Caroline Leaf as a giant of the medium. Triggered by real experience of depression, represented here by the dog of the title, the movie begins with the awakening of a young woman from her sleep by a fearsome black dog, her guide and mentor for the duration of the film. The girl is taken from her crumbled home to a bleak landscape of rocks and mountains. Attracted by the sound of raucous music, the young woman climbs towards Fata, a boutique, restaurant and club. She meets the first of creatures from the ancient world who allows her to try on pairs of shoes, until the discards litter the carpet. A full beauty make-over follows. Any pretence that this is for the good of the girl's soul is dispensed with when the creature enters the backroom where caged birds coo at each other. A pair of white doves are disturbed, their love duet rudely interrupted with the killing of one for its feathers, a fate that befalls all the caged white mink who are killed for their fur, joining the fish in the tank killed for dinner. The girl, wined and dined, dressed up to the nines, exists at the expense of the dead. Meanwhile the dog howls and eventually calls her away. Misunderstanding the message she throws the animal a bone on which he promptly urinates. For the girl it is party time and she gives herself up to the high tempo music and such excesses as are available in this hedonistic world. From hereon in the action becomes ever more firmly rooted in mythology, surrealism and symbolism. She is rescued from drowning, mummified, entombed, only to emerge from a drain in a modern city where Death is a pavement vendor and her guide still the dog though now handsomely clad in a suit. She confronts the good things of life: musicians, Shakespeare, sculptors, a painter in the sky whose drawings come alive as a white bird and a library full of riches. She carries in her arms a rolled up document from the library that looks suspiciously like a baby. Leaving the library we see the three are perched high on a pyramid above the clouds. The package is revealed to be what one suspected and the girl has to walk a precarious balancing act in the clouds. The three become a family as the mood lightens and we hear a child's laughter and light guitar music. The events turn full circle. Mixing ancient myth with the modern world (Anubis and the River Styx separating our world from Hades) Alison's complex work is not always easy to follow in all its machinations though the broad thrust is there: the choices in life, the distractions, dangers, rewards. Like her other works featured here Alison produces parables for today's society, woman in particular. Life is a difficult journey she informs us, but there is a better way of life. In this sense the beautifully designed and drawn short could have been produced today. It is ageless."
Ian Lumsden (Animation Blog)




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