Bright Lights Film Journal

Eastern European Animation Dept. – Renaissance (Walerian Borowczyk, 1963)

I think this is one of the greatest short films ever made.  Containing not a word of spoken dialogue. Not only is the stop motion animation exquisite and amusing, in less than 9 minutes this little film manages to embody a profound truth – that every creation contains within it the seeds of its own destruction.

Walerian Borowczyk (1923-2006) was a Polish filmmaker who – like the Americans, Frank Tashlin, Tim Burton, and Henry Selick – graduated from short animated films to live-action features such as Immoral Tales (1974, below). Borowczyk’s features combine soft-core pornography with the same taste for surrealism and complex textures that one finds in his shorter works. However, unlike the films of Tashlin, Burton and Selick, Borowczyk’s features, though interesting and intermittently effective, never as a whole live up to the promise of his best shorts.