Italian live-action/Animated Movie (1976). Essential/Specialty. Pr Bruno Bozzetto. Dir Bozzetto. Spfx Luciano Marzetti. Anim dir Bozzetto. Screenplay Bozzetto, Guido Manuli, Maurizio Nichetti. Starring Nestor Garay (Conductor), Maria Luisa Giovannini (Stagehand), Maurizio Micheli (MC), Nichetti (Animator). 74 mins, restored to 85 mins. Colour and tinted b/w.
In the Prelude à l'Après-midi d'un Faun sequence (music by Debussy), set in an Arcadian paradise, an ageing Satyr attempts unsuccessfully to relive his youth among the nymphs. The sequence accompanying Dvořák's Slavonic Dance #7 portrays the metronomic rise of militarism through the human need to imitate. Ravel's Bolero accompanies a truly astonishing piece of animation, which both parodies Fantasia's Rite of Spring sequence and wildly surpasses it, depicting the marching, rhythmic evolution of life from its lowly origins as a splash spilt from a Coke bottle. The sequence corresponding to Sibelius's Valse Triste is tragic: a half-starved stray cat, haunting a derelict house, sees there the Ghosts of its onetime occupants before fading to become a ghost itself. Vivaldi's Concerto in C Minor is matched to a simple but very funny tale of an epicurean bee trying to pollinate in a field terrorized (in bee terms) by a pair of roiling lovers. And the sequence set to an extract from Stravinsky's Firebird retells the Adam and Eve legend, with the Serpent the one to eat Eden's apple: his indigestion from so doing brings him apocalyptic Visions of a technological future. The overt subtext of this final sequence is that, although the Serpent is originally evil, his is mischievous Evil, and thus innocent: the eating of the apple destroys that innocence. This revisionist view of the nature of primordial evil is among the most interesting in extant fantasy Cinema. [JG]