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Archive for June 30th, 2012

By Bob Clark

Sometimes the cutting edge comes at the end of a blunt instrument. In a career that has included live action, animation and special-effects supervising, Fumihiko Sori has assembled a diverse creative output in the past fifteen or so years. That mix in his work from live action films, like 2002’s Ping Pong and 2008’s chambra Ichi and his three CGI animated efforts put him in a somewhat different register than other directors who freely jump from one discipline to the other. Plenty of anime creators have put live action time under their belt as well– some, like Mamoru Oshii, have almost as many traditional features to their credit as they do animation, and others like Hideaki Anno have pushed their craft in new experimental ways that even their animated fare has trouble keeping up with at times. But for the most part, these cross-disciplinary filmmakers have based their talents in hand-drawn animation, constituting a much sharper contrast between the qualities of their work in that medium to how they handle live sets, actors and cameras in the other. For directors working in CGI, however, the line is a bit more blurred, as even in animation they’re forced to work with physical sets, characters and action, albeit of a synthesized nature. This makes Sori’s work an interesting case study in the creative evolution of computer animation as a maturing art form in and of itself, and of the trajectories in general for digital tools in 21st century filmmaking.

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