By François Penz, Brian Ashbee, Terence Wright, FranCois Penz, Maureen Thomas
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Additional resources for Converging Traditions in the Digital Moving Image: Architectures of Illusion, Images of Truth
Duplicate real action... but to give a caricature of life and action... To picture on the screen dream fantasies... to caricature life as it is today. But we cannot do the fantastic things... unless we first know the real. Comedy, to be appreciated, must have contact with the audience... (it must be) something based on an imaginative experience or on a direct life connection. Thus the true interpretation of caricature is the exaggeration of an illusion of the actual, possible or probable. (Maltin, 1980, 35) In other words, fantasy must be founded on knowledge of the real world.
In The Hedgehog in the Fog (USSR, 1975), Norstein tells the story of a hedgehog who is on the way to visit his friend the Bear when he gets lost in the fog. Fog dissolves all spatial certainties, bringing the hedgehog into close confrontation with other creatures both real (owl, bat, horse and dog) and perhaps imagined (an elephant... ). The hedgehog is forced to rely not on the sense of sight but on the sense of touch, feeling his way by the aid of a stick. His relationship to the world is transformed : objects like a leaf or a tree become images of great beauty and power.
The Fleischers’ Snow White probably distils more anarchy and surrealistic invention into six minutes than any other of their films; it also emphasizes how disciplined Disney’s employment of fantasy was in his own Snow White, where it is never released from a precise narrative function. In the work of Disney, as in the Fleischers’, the inanimate world can suddenly come alive, as it does when the trees of the forest 28 Animation, Art and Digitality transform into monsters, and pluck at Snow White’s clothes as she flees from the huntsman/executioner; but this is not as a gratuitous invention – the animation mirrors the terror Snow White is feeling.