Cambridge Animation Festival 1983

After this feast of bad taste, the Festival will then demonstrate the more serious development of the peace film in animation. Perhaps the first major animator to use animation to express his strong revulsion against war was Nonnan McLaren. The Festival will screen both HELL UNLIMITED, made in 1936 after his experiences as a cameraman during the Spanish Civil War and NEIGHBOURS, made at the beginning of the Korean War in 1955. These films were influential in style and content and NEIGHBOURS received renewed interest during the Vietnam War when its vehement message of non violence was again pertinent. Today, there are many films made by animators all over the world which speak out against militarism. Those screened in the Festival will include PICA DON, by Renzo Kinoshita which depicts the horror of the Hiroshima bomb to a small family living in the city at the time. Another film which puts over its message in simple but forcible terms is TOP PRIORITY by Ishu Patel. Patel works at the National Film Board of Canada but comes from India and the film is set in his sub continent. Made in plasticine and back lit, it evokes brilliantly the burning heat of an arid desert where a family wait for pumps for water to save their crops and animals. They wait and wait for a lorry and eventually one comes – but it brings arms not the life-saving water pump.

Other programmes in the Animation and Persuasion category are Politics and Persuasion with films that cover all shades of political thought. There are the socialist anti-Nazi films made in Austria in the Thirties and at the same date a British pro-Conservative film. There is the famous HELL BENT FOR ELECTION, the film which marked the beginning of UPA and where many leading American animators including its director Chuck Jones worked for nothing to make a film to support FRD (Roosevelt). There is also an Iranian film against America, a Soviet film against war, a Canadian film against racial segregation and a Dutch film against fascism. And many others,

There is also a programme called FOLK TALE, ALLEGORY AND FABLE where the message is hidden within the tale. The films in this programme come from Eastern Europe and include such award-winning films as SISYPHUS by Marcell Jankovics of Hungary and the amusing fable from Zagreb Films BOOMERANG. Finally, Cambridge will show a programme of Feminist films although there will be two other shows entitled WOMEN DRAW WOMEN in the American Independent programme.

TOP PRIORITY. Ishu Patel. Animation for Peace. National Film Board of Canada production.

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