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Book : The silhouette film

a book by Pierre JOUVANCEAU (France - 2004) English translation by Clare KITSON This book, resulting from 10 years of research, first displays a historical tour of the silhouette films production worldwide, then tries to establish , through an aesthetic analysis, the fundamental characteristics of this so peculiar cinema genre. 14 x 21 cm A ...

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a book by Pierre JOUVANCEAU (France - 2004)
English translation by Clare KITSON

This book, resulting from 10 years of research, first displays a historical tour of the silhouette films production worldwide, then tries to establish , through an aesthetic analysis, the fundamental characteristics of this so peculiar cinema genre.

14 x 21 cm

A bilingual book :

French text : 263 pages black & white
English text: 249 pages black & white

+ 16 pages of illustrations

IMPORT ITALY

The Adventures of Prince Achmed
(Lotte REINIGER - 1926)

At the origin of silhouette films, there are two forms of popular art.

On the one hand, the European shadow play, first a popular travelling entertainment, then established with the theatre of Seraphin and the Chat Noir cabaret, has accustomed the public to a show form exclusively made of shadows and light: the ombres chinoises.


Lotte REINIGER animating The Star of Bethlehem

On the other hand, the cut-out silhouettes, originally a very popular craftsmanship , ended up imposing their images of sharp contrast in all the society levels thanks to Etienne de SILHOUETTE, who gave his name to this form considered as minor at the time, and thanks to Johan-Kaspar LAVATER, the physiognomy inventor, a pseudo behavior-science which finally found in silhouette the ideal support of analysis.
These two forms, one still, the other animated, have been united thanks to the frame by frame process.


A Lotte REINIGER’s silhouette

From Charles ARMSTRONG (The Clown and his Donkey, 1910) to Michel OCELOT (Princes et Princesses, 1998), and also through the prolific Lotte REINIGER and her mythical feature film the Adventures of Prince Achmed, the whole cinema history is punctuated with silhouettes films: short-length or feature films, black & white or colored, isolated essays or multiple works of known or unknown authors.


Princes et Princesses
(Michel OCELOT)

Wie man Berge versetzt
(Bruno BÖTTGE)
THEY SAID ...
« For about ten years Pierre Jouvanceau’s Ph.D. dissertation has held the record
for the best unpublished work in my library of books and essays on animation »
Giannalberto BENDAZZI, foreword of the book

« An essential historical and aesthetic synthesis »
Gilles CIMENT, Neuvième Art, janvier 2006

« A capital bilingual book by the french expert Pierre JOUVANCEAU »
Hrvoje TURKOVIC, Hrvatski filmski Ljetopis (The Croatian Cinema Chronicle),
Zagreb, 2004
SUMMARY :
<TD >CHAPTER 1 - THE HISTORICAL APPROACH <TD >CHAPTER 2 - ANIMATED SILHOUETTES <TD >CHAPTER 3 - SPATIO-TEMPORALORGANISATION<TD >CHAPTER 4 - EVOLUTIONARY FACTORS

INTRODUCTION

SILHOUETTES, SHADOWS AND THE CINEMA

  • "Silhouette" cut-outs
  • Etienne de SILHOUETTE meets the "Dianying"
  • Legitimacy and limits of the silhouette film

CHRONOLOGICAL DATA

  • The birth of the silhouette film
  • American series
  • Prince Achmed
  • Post-Achmed up to the advent of sound
  • Silhouette films in colour
  • The new guard
  • New dimensions

BASIC CHARACTERISTICS

  • The silhouette as image
  • An essentially figurative form
  • The representation of faces
  • Reconstructing bodies
  • Outline and surface
  • The back-lighting

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

  • Establishing the outline
  • The interdict of the black zone
  • The joints
  • Making puppets : the traditional method
  • Other techniques in puppet-making

THE ANIMATION

  • The basic equipment
  • Colourful stories and anecdotes
  • Refinements to the animation stand
  • Tony SARG’s "shadow box"
  • The "jumpy grasshoppers"
  • Stylised movement
  • Maintaining control
  • Turns and metamorphoses

THE SET, OR LAYERED SPACE

  • Light, the basic set
  • The classic set
  • Peri BANU’s bathe
  • The layering of the set
  • Where are the silhouettes ?

A VARIABLE GEOMETRY

  • The out-of-shot question
  • The ground, the sun and the camera
  • Reframing
  • The pursuit of fuzziness

SHOTS AND EDITING

  • Ariadne’s thread
  • The long shot
  • Mobility

WORDS AND MUSIC

  • The impossibility of syncing ?
  • The narrator’s voice
  • Adam Raises Cain, or the incessant chattering of a silent film
  • Princes et Princesses, or the voice reclamed

COLOUR FILMS

  • Economic constraints
  • The classic form of the colour film
  • The stained-glass window effect
  • A return to the source ?
  • Full colour

CHAPTER 5 - MASTER SCHNIPP’S SCISSORS

14 x 21 cm

A bilingual book :

French text : 263 pages black & white
English text: 249 pages black & white

+ 16 pages of illustrations

IMPORT ITALY


PIERRE JOUVANCEAU

Born in 1959 in Louhans (Burgundy, France).
His discovery of animation dates back to his studies in Fine Arts at the Université de Paris-I, and his predilection for the silhouette film to a meeting with Lotte REINIGER in the late 1970s. His dissertation on the history, technique and aesthetics of the silhouette film earned him a Ph.D. in Art Theory at the Sorbonne in 1993.
From 1994 to 1997 he was Secretary General of the Association française du Cinéma d’Animation (AFCA - Society of French Animators), whose magazine he had previously edited for many years. He also organised various retrospectives at the Animathèque in Paris and co-organised two editions of the national animation festival in Marly-le-Roi.
Pierre JOUVANCEAU currently lives in the countryside near Auxerre.

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