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4 April 2001 (France)  »

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Adagio  »

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Hard to Be a God
24 August 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

"Adagio" (2000) -is a ten minutes long animated miracle created by Russian master-animator Garry Bardin. He used paper folding also known as origami technique in the film because he felt that the idea of "Adagio" and its visual solution required paper as a perfect material. It took nine months to produce "Adagio". Bardin and his team of animators tried to manually move the paper figures, strange half-men, half-birds creatures, using the trial-and-error method.

"Adagio" which is a philosophical parable exploring the conflict between a hero and the crowd is loosely based on a romantic short story written by the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky about a young man named Danko and his burning heart. In the story, Danko belonged to a tribe of strong men that were forced by their enemies to retreat into the depths of an old dark forest filled with swamps. Danko, young and brave, believed that there was a way out of dark and hostile forest, and he bravely led the people deeper inside. But soon they started to grumble. Fueled by fear and darkness, frustration and anger grew among them. Danko looked at the people and saw only hatred in their faces, and the flame of desire to save them flared up in his heart.

"This flame of love for his people became stronger and stronger, and suddenly, overpowering the sound of thunder, Danko exclaimed: 'What shall I do for my people?' And he tore apart his chest and tore out his heart and raised it high over his head. It blazed like the sun, even brighter than the sun, and the forest, stunned by this overwhelming love for the people, became quiet. Danko ran forward, holding high his burning heart, lighting the road for the people, and they rushed after him. Suddenly, the forest ended, and they emerged into an ocean of sunshine and fresh air, cleansed by the rain. Danko looked at the free land, laughed proudly and fell dead. And the happy people, filled with great hopes and expectations, did not even notice Danko's death and did not see that next to his body his brave heart still burned brightly. Only one person noticed it and fearing something, stomped on the proud heart and extinguished its flame... "

In his short amazing animation, Bardin was able to meditate on many burning issues - intolerance to different opinions and religions, ignorance and lack of desire to learn the history lessons, suspicion that easily turns to hatred for someone who stands out. It is easier to worship the dead hero than to follow him while he is alive. It is unbearable to see that someone is pure and shining – it feels great to smear them, to make them as grey as everyone else around. "Adagio in G minor" widely known as simply Albinoni's Adagio, one of the most frequently recorded pieces of Baroque music, brings tragic and sublime mourning to the film. Well, I can go on for long time about deep meaning of Bardin's images and his pessimistic outlook at the modern society but first and foremost, "Adagio" is a fabulous work of art by an Artist who is known for almost supernatural sense of material. Bardin uses the objects that surround us in everyday life - matches, ropes, wires, and paper as the characters in his animated films.


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