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The animated film The Lost Town of Switez is based on the 19th-century epic poem by Poland's greatest writer, Adam Mickiewicz, about a ghostly town deluged after a bloody massacre in medieval times, which now lies at the bottom of a remote lake. It is an apocalyptic tale of destruction, religious miracles and spectral visitations. The film imports paintings into digital 3D combined with both CG animation and visual special effects to create a mesmerizing aesthetic experience, set to a specially-commissioned full choral and orchestral score. It dramatically merges literature, painting, music and animation. Written by
Animation used to magnify grand effects in recreating, wordlessly, an epic poem
Kamil Polak's (21min) "Lost Town of Switez" was shown as part of the 2012 Best of Annency program put on by the San Francisco Film Society. It began the set. Its images are real and vast, but they have the quality of hand drawing. The innocent 19th-century male protagonist is drawn into a maelstrom. The summary tells us that this is about "An accidental traveller" who is "drawn by mysterious forces, discovers the secret of a ghostly town which lies at the bottom of a forgotten lake." This is based on an epic poem by Poland's most famous poet, Adam Mickiewicz,and concerns, the summary here tells us, "a ghostly town deluged after a bloody massacre in medieval times." The story might make a lot more sense to you if you knew the poem and were Polish, but we can get that this is an "apocalyptic tale of destruction, religious miracles and spectral visitations." The version I saw didn't show how the film "imports paintings into digital 3D combined with both CG animation and visual special effects to create a mesmerizing aesthetic experience, set to a specially-commissioned full choral and orchestral score" and "dramatically merges literature, painting, music and animation." The effect was grand, but too condensed, and being wordless, was mysterious to an outsider. Some of the closeups of faces were surprisingly folkloric and simple, given the grandeur of the sweeping landscape sequences; perhaps the poem has both qualities. In any case the grand moments were awesome, and used a suitable wide aspect ratio that made the epic scale visually real. "Lost Town of Switez" won the 2011 "Jean-Luc Xiberras" Award for a first film at the famous annual animation festival at Annency, France. Certainly a work full of promise.
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