|Index||9 reviews in total|
This French-Canadian film is simply gorgeous--like a moving tapestry.
For the time it was made, this was a standout film that begged to be
noticed for both its artistic styling as well as the fascinating
history lesson contained within.
The film begins with a chair being built long, long ago. As the years passed and life changed around the chair, it's all shown in a magically lyrical manner--with lovely folk music, dancing and visuals.
To me, this is a film that tries to encapsulate the entire pioneering spirit and link it to today. It achieves it spectacularly and is well worth seeking out--since, unfortunately, the film is practically forgotten today even though it did receive the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1982.
CRAC goes the tree as it falls to earth, its lumber soon to
fashioned into a sturdy rocking chair destined to become
prominent part of the home of a Quebecois frontier family.
This little French Canadian film is pure animated joy. Telling its story from the viewpoint of a piece of furniture, it is served exceedingly well by its exuberant, expressionistic drawing brimming with pastel colors. Interweaving convivial, lighthearted dance music with snatches of lullaby & legend, it tells its multi-layered, beautifully detailed story without the need of obtrusive dialogue. A true modern classic, this is a film which should delight viewers for generations to come.
Winner of the 1981 Oscar for Best Animated Short.
Very interesting short film by Frédéric Back, the same that gave us
qui plantait des arbres» in 1988. In this short film (15 minutes), we see
the cycles and the seasons of life through the eyes of a rocking chair. A
look back at the traditions and folklore of French-Canada.
Again in this one, the animation is fantastic. Traditional french-canadian music was carefully selected for the film.
Out of 100, I gave it 82.
This short, one of the most deserving winners of the Academy Award in its category that I've had the pleasure of seeing, is simply magnificent, Excellent idea, wonderful animation and music, marvelous pacing and transitions, just glorious on all counts! The ending is perfect! Frederic Back made at least three other shorts besides this one and I truly wish I could find any or all of them in-print on VHS. So far as I know, they've never been available in the United States. *SIGH* Well, Crac is in print, at least. Most completely and joyously recommended.
In the days of high-tech screen wizardry, this delightful French-Canadian film is a joy of gentle, simple animation. It depicts a slice of the history of Quebec, or Acadia or just about anywhere in frontier North America, in a touching and somewhat sentimental fashion, through the tale of the life and times of a lowly, hand-crafted rocking chair. Only small details, such as the rich background of traditional Quebecois folk music and the attire of certain figures, shows this story to be that of French Canada; the story is otherwise seemingly universal, expressed with no dialog. The animation is a rich palette of pastels and illustration seemingly from the children's literature genre, which works marvelously for the story at hand. It's not a perfect film--a brief flit with contemporary political commentary disrupts the story flow momentarily--but I have seen people moved to tears by the film's darker moments and then tears of joy at the conclusion.
In only fifteen minutes of animation with minimal dialog Frederic Back represents the transformation of the world of Quebecois lumberjacks into the modern industrialized city. The story is centered around a rocking chair, one of the symbols of older generations (many cartoons feature a rocking chair coupled with grandpa/grandma) and the stories that particular chair has seen until it finally ended up as a museum piece. The story has an air of innocence that is further emphasized by the use of pastel colors, the type children use to draw. The outlines of the characters and decor are also pretty much stylized in the manner of a child. However, even if this isn't the technology of Pixar it is still better than many, more complex animations, because the technique used is relevant for the ideas Back wanted to present. It is precisely because the drawing is "sloppy" that the cartoon is so effective in catching the viewers eye.
Moving images evoke emotions in a manner still frames don't, at least
for me. Paintings have always eluded my sense of appreciation because I
don't receive signals that would take me into their world. In moving
images do I get solace because they visibly attempt at delivering their
message. It is the lustrous moving images in Crac that made me cry and
fall in love with the beautiful and enchanting world it depicts.
The story is about a craftsman who makes a rocking chair for his love, and after they get married keeps the rocking chair at home while the couple becomes a family with the arrival of children (and plenty of them). The chair is a mute witness to their lives, as it changes from growing green to ripening red and finally fading yellow.
If you look at the Storyline section in IMDb, it says Crac is about the industrialization of Montreal as seen from the view of a rocking chair. This description seems too literal and banal and would discourage youngsters from watching the short. To me, Crac is the celebration of human life in the wonderful, advancing world symbolized in the form of a swaying rocking chair. More than the event, it is the human experience that counts; if we disregard the human aspect that concomitantly progresses in order to adapt to changing circumstances, than we remain narrow-minded. Frederick Back, like the literary stalwart Leo Tolstoy, has enmeshed history and humanity with more poignancy but using hand drawn Impressionistic strokes instead of words, than most modern Pixar films can do with spectacular life-like animation.
Frederic Back's mind works like Walt Disney's as both visualize the world in a profoundly imaginative way. Watch a Walt Disney short and you may find a living train panting and tugging the rail tracks to reach the destination. Similarly, in Crac, the crib inside which a child is play acting turns into the car he imagines. Also, minimalistic paintings come alive and dance surreally in the art gallery. Only a childlike mind could show the images so beautifully without making the action seem corny or saccharine. There are delightful and ingenious moments in Crac, for example, the dance sequence during the marriage where at first, only the craftsman and his wife begin after which a third character magically appears from behind and then the entire space is filled with happy couples. Also wonderful is the dreamy sequence of sheep in the sky when the mother is putting her kids to sleep. And the spectacular moment at the art gallery after the curator leaves. Or even the tiny bit in the beginning where the craftsman proposes to the lady and she blushes, and her upper body looks like a heart. But the most striking part is Back's observation of children. In the art gallery, while the adults in their expensive clothes try to make sense out of abstract works, the children are lured by this simple rocking chair, and a ride on it puts a big smile on their faces. Also commendable is the use of music and sounds, which mainly consist of folk music, the echoing sound of a child's laughter, the switch, the bursting bubble gum etc.
I'm borrowing Robert Christgau's words to describe Crac in a nutshell: 'Frederic Back's Crac evinces a remarkable resemblance to care- that is to care, that is to caring in the best, broadest, most emotional sense.' Tell whoever you know to watch it.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
To all thinking adults: Never has an animated feature, heck, any movie,
so affected me as Crac. There is something about the way it depicts the
passage of time, especially at first in a family's long-ago happy
moments, that is just so moving it defies language. I've seen it only
twice, and that may be enough. One shouldn't trifle with the depths of
emotion and memories a simple rocking chair can represent.
Additional comments: The story begins with a birth, and ends in an "after life," of sorts. If you read and understood The Giving Tree, it's a close cousin. The animation is colorfully Impressionistic.
Its message will be lost on kids. It's message will remain forever with any adults that's ever felt love. And it's only a cartoon.
Le Rêve Du Diable, the folk group, was expertly chosen to reawaken the feeling of those times of early French Canadian settlers....pioneers who lived WITH, not in spite of, the New Land. The music interlocks and enhances the film like a puzzle piece, joining the art with the activism...and especially with the proud traditions of the Québécois! The swirling of memories was appropriately used as a powerful metaphor to conjure the long-gone past...still very much alive in the Hearts of those who understand the need to keep the flame burning. I recall the first time I saw this film in a smallish theater where a compilation of award-winning short films and animations was presented. It brought a tear to my eye...it was so full of sentiment and love for the natural primeval beauty of the land. I have experienced the "before and after" of overpopulation and excessive, unnecessary pressure on habitats. In my case it was practically like the Joni Mitchell song "...they paved Paradise, put up a parking lot"!
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