Fallen Art

Fallen Art


Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Tomek Baginski delivered Fallen Art in 2004, two years after his Oscar-nominated animated short The Cathedral. While that may have got an Academy nod, each garnered him a SIGGRAPH award and this one went on to win him a Bafta in 2006.

Fallen Art eschews the mythical strokes of the The Cathedral for exaggeratedly cartoonish characters and a more ghastly style and sardonicism. It delivers a wonderful gut punch with its twisted, literal realisation of the Danse Macabre.

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In the middle of a camouflaged military camp, a monolithic drill sergeant orders another dutiful trooper off a rickety diving board. After he’s slammed into the ground far below and gasped his last, a steely photographer efficiently snaps the prostrate corpse. In a darkened warehouse nearby, a general eagerly mounts the new picture into an eccentric projector and as he fires up his film-in-development energetic gypsy dancing music swells around him. We see that the dead soldier’s image is just the latest frame of many soldiers’ blood spewing bodies, dancing along with the music like a grisly marionette in a gruesome stop-motion animation.

The visual metaphor for war’s madness, blind obedience and futile vanity is hardly subtle. Baginski sharpens it by ensuring that each character is comically defined in as short a time as possible and by leaving the only real emoting for the psychotic general. The animation is well textured and the story’s pace satisfyingly builds up to the ghoulish pay off. The upbeat vim of Fanfare Ciocarilla’s music, ‘Asfalt Tango’, provides a horribly excellent counterpoint to the lunacy. There is also room for Baginski, surely, as writer and director to show with delicious irony what efforts it can take to produce another wonderful animation.

Reviewed on: 29 Sep 2012
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Danse macabre look at the madness of war.

Director: Tomasz Baginski

Writer: Tomasz Baginski

Starring: Arkadiusz Jakubik, Marcin Kudelka, Dariusz Toczek

Year: 2004

Runtime: 6 minutes

Country: Poland


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