Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 08: Animation at the Cutting Edge

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Though for a long time marginal to the historical and theoretical concerns of mainstream film culture, animation has recently received increasing attention from critics and scholars owing to its prominent status in contemporary screen media culture and the dramatic expansion it has undergone in the digital age. The articles that compose this issue are remarkably consistent in querying animation as a mode that “destabilises the image”, that asks questions about the image and, in particular, about its relationship to reality. Edited by Yuanyuan Chen and Laura Rascaroli, University College Cork.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 11
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    Rendering (the) Visible II: Figure, Georgia State University, 6–8 February 2014
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Ahnert, Laurel; Horton, Justin; O'Riordan, Nicholas
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    The 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary, 4–12 July 2014
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Drubek, Natascha; O'Riordan, Nicholas
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    To infinity and back again: hand-drawn aesthetic and affection for the past in Pixar's pioneering animation
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Haswell, Helen
    In 2011, Pixar Animation Studios released a short film that challenged the contemporary characteristics of digital animation. La Luna (Enrico Casarosa) marks a pivotal shift in Pixar’s short film canon by displaying hand-drawn artwork and man-made textures. Widely considered the innovators of computer-generated animation, Pixar is now experimenting with 2D animation techniques and with textures that oppose the clean and polished look of mainstream American animation. This article aims to outline the significant technological developments that have facilitated an organic aesthetic by suggesting that nostalgia dictates a preference for a more traditional look. It will also argue that this process pioneered by Pixar has in turn influenced the most recent short films of Walt Disney Animation Studios
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    Rolling amnesia and the omnivorous now: Jeff Scher's You Won't Remember This trilogy (2007–2011)
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Husbands, Lilly
    Throughout his career, New York-based experimental filmmaker and animator Jeff Scher has created animated works that are in dialogue with the diary film tradition in avant-garde cinema. Scher uses his distinctive single-frame rotoscope and collage animation technique to investigate the selective nature of memory and to celebrate the moments that constitute everyday life. Scher’s animated trilogy, You Won’t Remember This (2007), You Won’t Remember This Either (2009), and You Might Remember This (2011), depicts a series of everyday moments in the early childhoods of his two sons Buster and Oscar. The trilogy is centred on the mnemonic phenomenon that is referred to in developmental and cognitive psychology as childhood amnesia, which has presented problems for the philosophy of memory since John Locke first investigated the roles of memory and consciousness in the constitution of the identity of the self. Scher’s three portraits invite spectators to reflect on the mnemonic imbalance that is specific to this particular temporal situation—where the parent is able to remember what the child will ultimately forget—in both a distilled and heightened way. This paper investigates the ways in which the rotoscope collage technique employed by Scher in the You Won’t Remember This trilogy not only endows the works with a special capacity to emphasise the universal nature of childhood amnesia but also, conversely, resembles the phenomenological experience of remembering itself.
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    When imaginary cartoon worlds get the "documentary look": understanding mockumentary through its animated variant
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2014) Formenti, Cristina
    Due to their clearly imaginary narratives and to the presence of animation itself, animated mockumentaries make the viewer aware of their fictionality from the start. Therefore, these animated works constitute the clearest example of mockumentary being not a genre, but rather a narrative style capable of transcending the boundaries of genres, media, and individual poetics. Through the analysis of Ash Brannon and Chris Buck’s feature film, Surf’s Up (2007), and of The Simpsons’ episodes “Behind the Laughter” (Mark Kirkland, 2000) and “Springfield Up” (Chuck Sheetz, 2007), in this article I argue that the mockumentary style does not consist solely in the adoption of documentary aesthetics and structures, but also in the deployment of elements (such as booms left “accidentally” in view, glances in the direction of the camera and so on) that I will call fictionality clues. I will demonstrate that, whereas in hoaxes or credible live-action mockumentaries the presence of these hints might be dismissed as due to the need of alerting the viewer to the film’s effective ontological status, in the case of animated mockumentaries they would be redundant, if used just for this purpose. Thus their occurrence in these works suggests that they are central to the mockumentary as a form.