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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

The Nose, a film by Alexandre Alexeieff & Claire Parker

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The last time I wrote about the animated films of Alexandre Alexeieff & Claire Parker the only copies available were low-grade things on YouTube which have long-since vanished (one of many reasons I don’t embed YT players in these posts). Happily a new copy of The Nose (1963) has appeared that’s not only better quality but isn’t split into two as was the case earlier.

The Nose is based on the Gogol story of the same name, a tale of a St Petersburg official who wakes to find his nose has left his face and is masquerading as a civil servant. I’ve not read Gogol’s story but I do have Nabokov’s book about Gogol which dwells not only on the prominent nose of the author, but also his traumatic death which was hastened in part by a quack physician who treated Gogol by applying leeches to his nose. Neither story or film contain anything as horrific. The film version is a wordless animation made using the pinscreen technique which Alexeieff & Parker developed in order to create greyscale animated films without recourse to smudgy materials like pencil, pastel, charcoal, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, the most notable application of this technique is the prologue the pair created for Orson Welles’ film of The Trial (1962). What’s striking about the Alexeieff & Parker use of the pinscreen is how skilfully they use it to manipulate light and shade. Where other animators like Jacques Drouin used the technique more impressionistically, Alexeieff & Parker’s films at times give the impression of watching an animated engraving. The Nose is one of their finest pieces. (Thanks to Gabe for the tip!)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker

 


 

Posted in {animation}, {books}, {film}.

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4 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Gabriel McCann

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    Glad to be of service :-)

  2. #2 posted by Gabriel McCann

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    PS should have made some silly pun about tip of the nose :-)

  3. #3 posted by Modzilla

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    I have an excellent American DVD called The Animation of Alexieff that’s available from Amazon. It contains all of their work bar the Trial prologue and three documentaries including one by Norman McLaren on the pinscreen technique.
    Here’s a link:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Animation-Alexeieff-Region-Import-NTSC/dp/B00278FT5Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1409222109&sr=8-2&keywords=animation+of+alexeieff+dvd

  4. #4 posted by John

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    Thanks, I did spot that a few years ago then forgot it was out.

 


 

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