May 6, 2012

ograblenie po...

I would like to introduce you to, what´s in my opinion, the very best animation film that exists: "Styled Robbery".

It is an animated mini-series in four episodes: "American style robbery", "French style robbery", "Italian style robbery" and "Russian style robbery". It was made in 1978 and it´s obviously a series of parodies of heist movies from that time. It´s directed by Yefim Gamburg and it´s filmd in the Soyuzmultfilm studios.

For me it represents the ideal of fiction for children. More so now that it´s the living example of everything that is forbidden in children´s animation.

These series have obsessed me since my childhood. I had the chance to have it in a VHS tape that I watched over and over. I never get tired of it, I have watched it a hundred times and I would watch it again some more. The reason is that when I was a kid the thing I wanted to watch were grown-up films and the gangster genre felt terribly attractive to me. "Styled Robbery" satisfied this thirst for mature content: it seemed for adults but it still was made for children. There are shootouts, death, blood, betrayal, sex, tobacco, alcohol... everything you could expect from a mature film and what, in the context of children´s animation, would scandalize many parents today. The main characters are thieves, the sense of humor is acid and cynic and the references are clearly for a grown-up audience. And still, the fantasy, the rhythm and the absurdity manages to conciliate the mature with the childish.

It is the kind of animation film that is not made anymore. Not only because of the themes, the aesthetics are really different, the animation is of a precision and sensibility very rarely seen nowadays, and the quality of the music surpasses what most animation feature films can deliver today.

But what fascinates me the most is how these series have grown up with me. With every year I like this more and more, I now understand the references and the humor, specially in the "Italian style robbery", which as a kid was the only one I didn´t like, and which I now see as really brilliant. I have also discovered "Russian style robbery" which was censored and was not in my video tape. But "French style robbery" has always been and still is my favorite.

The level of detail deserves a mention: the characters are caricatures of famous actors like Alain Delon, Brigitte Bardot or Marcello Mastroianni and the voices were recorded in the original languages and then translated to Russian by a single actor who speaks directly over the original recording, exactly the way films have always been dubbed in Russia, just like it was an actual foreign film.

The mix of fantasy and realism, the adult and the childish, the hypnotic rhythm, the black humor, the mix of visual styles, the subtle references, the double meanings and the overall coherence is all I aspire to in my works, so it´s the reason why "Styled Robbery" represents for me an ideal and has influenced me numerous times and will keep inspiring me in the future.  

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