An Extraordinary Panorama on Experimental Animation: Works by Suzan Pitt
In our understanding of cinema history and culture, avant-garde films and experimental footages have always been absent. Major film festivals in Mainland China rarely touch upon such programs as well. However, video art not only belongs to art galleries, it can also create extraordinary experiences in cinemas.
In order to meet the diverse preferences of viewers, the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) has elaborately prepared a number of videos incorporated with experimental properties for panorama. Among them, one of the highlights must be the special screening of the works by Suzan PITT, the acclaimed animation master from the US. This is also the first time for SIFF to show the productions of a single film animator in its animation program. We believe she will definitely bring an extraordinary audiovisual experience to you.
Signature work of Suzan PITT, ASPARAGUS
Suzan PITT is an experimental animation artist renowned throughout the world. In the special panorama, SIFF will showcase her five animation works – ASPARAGUS, JOY STREET, EL DOCTOR, VISITATION and PINBALL, as well as a documentary SUZAN PITT: PERSISTENCE OF VISION. Among them, the director's signature production ASPARAGUS enjoys symbolic meanings in her artistic career; PINBALL, as Pitt’s very first digital work, displays the new content and style brought by the new shooting technique... All six films last for nearly two hours in total, which will be so-screened in one session.
Graduating from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the United States, Suzan PITT was originally a painter. In 1968, she began making distinctive animated films which were inspired by her paintings using super 8 mm film. Bold and changeable, her image is embodied with absurd and surreal features, reflecting the instigation, restlessness, depression, and liberation in human minds. In her creation, each fictitious role is like an individual in reality, who has its own past and future in a specific time and space.
She uses extraordinary perception to capture life and nature, and extraordinary imagination to create fairy tales and dreams. It is fair to say that Suzan PITT's works have enriched animated films, allowing the category to flourish in the fields of art, television and drama. Now her works are travelling the world to participate in various film festivals and exhibitions, including those at noted art venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Whitney American Museum of Art.
Release year: 1979
This film shows a strong sense of femininity through a colorful and lively dream. The astonishing cel animation pushes the blank-faced protagonist into the fantasy field of asparagus. In muddiness, the artist opens her Pandora's Box to release rare wonders....
ASPARAGUS not only made itself the winner at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany, but also catapulted maker Suzan PITT to the front ranks of indie animation.
Release year: 1995
In a house on Joy Street, the lonely heroine spends her life with spirits and cigarettes, but could never resolve the grief deep inside. In a long night, the person who she could never reach on the other end of the phone makes her cut her wrist. At this moment, the monkey ornament on the table is given life in the woman's dream; it turns on the radio, and sad tears flood the fallen woman. The monkey carries the woman out of the house. Eventually, the woman is awakened under a big tree and feels the joy of life in the chaotic reality.
JOY STREET was honored best short film awards at the Sundance Film Festival and New York Film Festival.
Release year: 2006
The film tells the story of a Mexican drunkard doctor, who misses his youth and longs for death. However, in his hallucination after drunkenness, he witnesses miracles in his patients and is thus enlightened by God to reconcile himself with the past.
The film is based on a series of cartoons by Suzan PITT, and written by her son Blue KRANING. The production of the fantastic and splendid landscapes in the film is more complex than those in the previous two short films. It is also the first time for professional dubbers to appear in her work.
Release time: 2011
VISITATION originated from Suzan PITT's illusion influenced by the American fantasy novelist Lovecraft. This film marks the beginning of her new creation stage. Compared with her previous animations, the storyline in the movie is reduced, with working method closer to the DIY form in her early career.
Release year: 2013
PINBALL is the first digital work of Suzan PITT. Through the fast montage and “Ballet Mecanique” music, she tried to convey the intense pain of the characters. Compared with her film works, the visual experience presented by this digital short film is quite different.
SUZAN PITT: PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Release year: 2006
Directed by Suzan's children Blue KRANING and Laura KRANING, the documentary records the behind-the-scenes stories of Susan PITT’s winning film ASPARAGUS, as well as JOY STREET and EL DOCTOR, exploring the creative expression from which her films have evolved throughout her career.