(poem) (as Goethe)


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Animation | Short




Release Date:

January 2003 (USA)  »

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Absolutely gorgeous sand-on-glass animation.
23 January 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's eerie poem "Der Erlkönig" is brought to life in this beautiful short, "The ErlKing", directed and animated by Ben Zelowicz. While the dying boy's face is perhaps given too much screen time, the imagery of the woods, the ride and the ErlKing evokes the quiet horror of German woodcuts from the 16th-18th Century. The brief use of colour is extremely effective.

A possible negative would be the soundtrack, which I found somewhat overbearing. Peter Mikamoto's piano and especially Paul Berkold's baritone (singing the original poem in German) is simply too grand for the small frame. Franz Shubert's music is too jarring and distracting from the visual feast, which could have worked quite nicely as a silent piece or, at most, with minimalist piano. Their work is superb on its own, but it is too much on the small screen. Perhaps it is more suited to live accompaniment at a screening?

All in all definitely worth the five minutes.

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