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This is a truly amazing film, very early full color work. It is not Fischinger's first in color, Kreise (1933) a.k.a Circles and Muratti Greift Ein (1934) a.k.a Muratti Marches On (a cigarette commercial) were both in color, but the color may not have been as full as in this film. The music is from the overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor by Otto Nicolai. His wife, Elfreide did a short segment in the middle. The film is mostly colored boxes moving in tight synchronization to the music, at the climax there is some striking painted work that foreshadows some of his great work to come, like Allegretto. This film was a sensation in Germany and the attention brought him a contract with Paramount which allowed him to escape Nazi Germany.
Technically speaking, KOMPOSITION IN BLAU is an amazing
film--especially for 1935. While color film is something we all expect,
back in 1935, this was still a relatively new process and many cartoons
were still made in black & white. Heck, the first 3-color Technicolor
feature (BECKY SHARP) debuted the same year as KOMPOSITION, so as I
said, it was all pretty new. Yet despite this newness, the colors were
so vibrant and beautiful--even more than 70 year later.
As for the film itself, it's a very, very simple idea though the execution was have taken ages to complete. Various geometric shapes (mostly rectangles and circles) appear and move throughout the film and seem to dance to the classical music that is being played. It is rather hypnotic and considering that it had to be filmed frame by frame, it is quite an accomplishment. The trouble, though, with such a film is that while adults will appreciate the effort and enjoy it, kids will probably be bored and wonder where all the cute anthropomorphic animals are!! Because of this, don't be surprised if you show it to kids and they are less than thrilled--they'll just have to wait to see it when they are a bit older.
Have you seen Fell in Love with a Girl, a video by The White Stripes, with all the Legos & stuff? It is called Brickfilm Animation & is considered a new type of Animation Technique, which is true, but the concept surprisingly similar to it can be found in COMPOSITION IN BLUE a Fischinger cartoon, which is made like 70 years ago. I mean this guy has multicolored bricks too (not Lego though) & he too animates them. Impressive, isn't it? But nevertheless the main advantage of COMPOSITION IN BLUE is in its use of colors & their composition. Blue is dominating (see the title) & red & yellow are extensively used with some other strange colors, the effect is very bright, lucent & bricky, what makes it look like some old arcade game. I wonder if Fischinger had a time machine & used his time-traveling experience in making this cartoon.
This film just makes you HAPPY! Completely 3D animated using solidly coloured geometric shapes and flat cut-outs (real ones, not CGI), and precisely synched with a bubbly, orchestrated sound track, COMPOSITION IN BLUE not only stands as a definite high- point in the career of Oscar Fischinger, but still stands out amongst anything in the history of animation itself. Brilliant, fun, technically perfect (and I mean PERFECT!), and wildly imaginative, it not only serves up a completely unique vision, but succeeds in creating a "world" where that vision lives in the eye and mind of the viewer long after it has ended. Stunning! 10/10!
"Composition in Blue" truly struck me. This was Fischinger's first film in colour, and you can tell. By the way he uses the colour, you would think that they were all going to disappear tomorrow, and the world would be left in black and white, with this film the only remaining evidence of its coloured past. One moment that I particularly remember is from the beginning. A group of red and blue blocks pile on top of each other. I've always liked the bizarre, wavy effect that happens when you combine blue and red. The way Fischinger does that here, with the blocks moving closer to the screen, had a hypnotic effect on me. It was truly beautiful.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to say I enjoyed watching these 4 minutes. the music is nice and it's fairly entertaining to watch how the animation goes in hand with the sound. I like the color blue, so the background was fine too, probably better than most of the other elements. But it's really nothing I would want to watch again. This short film is by German Oskar Fischinger (in his early 30s here) and it is over 80 years old. Actually, it was made when the Nazis were already in power in Germany. But I see he was less prolific between 1933 and 1945 than the years before, so maybe he wasn't too d'accord with their reign. Anyway, back to Fischinger's work, it sometimes reminds me a bit of Stan Brakhage. Check out Fischinger's maybe most known work here and if you like it more than I do, check out some more from his body of work. It's almost exclusively short films.
I watched the short film Blinkity Blink recently and the idea is
similar as here animated figures and shapes moving roughly in time to
music but unlike the jazz of that film, here we have a classic piece
and it is done some decades before that film. The strength of this film
is on several levels but the first to me is that it really accurately
replicates the way you would move your hand if you were listening to
this piece yourself; you lift your hand on the up notes, glide it
sideways when moving across the musical range and down when down, the
speed and abruptness of the hand movement all the time matching the
music. As you would so does the film and the movement of the animated
shapes really matches the piece very well indeed.
It helps of course that the animation is very pleasing to watch. Nearly 80 years after it was made, the colors still make an impact and it is important to force yourself to remember that this was made at the very dawn of color film and it does indeed feel like the film is bursting forth with everything pent up during the black and white era. The animation is effect aside from maybe one or two rough edits in there, but otherwise it is smooth, totally matches the music and is incredibly pleasing to sit back and watch.
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