“How A Sausage Dog Works” (1971) by Julian Antonisz

How a Sausage Dog Works

I recently stumbled upon the work of Polish director Julian Antonisz (1941-1987), a previously unknown (to me) master of the camera-less animation technique. Like most people, when I think of camera-less animation, the type of films that immediately pop to mind are by filmmakers like Len Lye and Norman McLaren. It’s a revelation to discover Antonisz who has such a refreshingly unique take on the technique. A well known figure of the Polish animation scene, Antonisz made dozens of films between 1967 and 1986, including the anarchic Dada-infused How a Sausage Dog Works which can be viewed below. YouTube also offers us his first film, Phobia (1967).

Antonisz is a largely unknown figure in the West, but if the nearly 100,000 views on YouTube and dozens of comments in Polish are any indication, his work seems to be better recognized in his native Poland. I discovered a rough English translation of the film courtesy of YouTube user Wodzu and have posted it below the film, though chances are it’ll simply add to your confusion.

Translation
[min:sec]
[00:04] this is how a simple electrical mechanical “hitter-knocker” works
[00:18] this is how a cherry-”kapacitron”(???) works
[00:23] this is how a dyfusional pimbdziaula works
[00:30] this is how a electro-”cabbager” works
[00:38] this is how a steel-koziówka(???) works
[00:45] this is how a safety pin works
[00:49] and other very very-complex inventions
[00:59] and how does a dachshund work?
[01:06] this is how a dachshund works
[02:26] dachshunds have a head
[02:34] a middle
[02:39] and rear part of body
[02:44] inside he have intestine
[02:47] eventually, everything that lives, have some intestines inside
[02:57] dachshund have 3 emotional states
[03:05] he can be angry
[03:11] furious
[03:20] and he can be sad, sorrowful
[03:27] he can be joyful, happy
[03:32] he can be happy
[03:41] [song] …because i’m afraid of emotions, here and there
[03:45] he can be cheerful
[04:00] EWARYST (it’s very strange and funny first name)
[05:02] don’t destroy a dachshund! because it is very complicated mechanism. even a computer is a piece of cake, compared to dachshund
[05:29] don’t destroy the kitty!
[05:38] don’t destroy the pike!
[05:50] don’t destroy the “zurawka”!
[06:12] because these are animals which we need to live
[06:21] rather try to model ourselfs on a nature
[06:30] let’s build quiet muscle-power engine!
[06:41] small estimate
[06:53] one butterfly’ eye is built from thousands of biological photo-diodes
[07:05] the cost of one german photo-diode type FG-70 is 75zl
[07:15] times 20.000 = 1.500.000
[07:28] times 2 eyes…
[07:33] 3.000.000
[07:34] when we destroy one butterfly, we destroy very high class device with biological value
[07:45] 30 million zlotych! (yes, she should have said 3 milion zl, but director of this film asked caretaker of block of flats where he lived for giving her voice to film, that’s why announcer sometimes has problems with the reading ;) )
[07:54] don’t destroy the dachshund!!!


  • slowtiger

    Uhm, I wonder how this film qualifies as being made camera-less? There are some parts which may have been drawn directly on film, but the larger part is object animation (or “go-motion) on a light table with some rear projection. I had a look at “Polska Kronika Non-Kamerowa nr 6″ as well, and although the images were created on film, they were assembled and re-animated on an optical printer. This doesn’t really count as “without camera” in the pure sense of the word.

    But the films are of course beautiful!

    • kansta

      It’s totally cameraless. All frames directly scratched on film. Antonisz invented some machines that were creating frames between kayframes long before computers took this part of job. He also invented the camera for blind people allowing the, to feel the picture under the fingers. He was genius

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robert

    4 thoughts:

    -how is this camera-less?

    -”Worker and Parasite”

    -one animation like this is interesting, but I’ve sat thru whole shows of these at festivals and after a couple hours you’re begging for Mickey Mouse to come out and do a nice double bounce walk or something.

    -It gets even weirder when you realize that most iron curtain films like this weren’t secret underground things but government supported studio work.

  • http://sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    The dachshund is indeed an important creature.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tim Drage

    Great find, but not sure why you’re calling this cameraless? :-?

  • krzysiek

    the translation is pretty good, the words with question marks like kapacitron or koziówka, mean absolutely nothing in Polish.
    “How A Sausage Dog Works” is one of the best Polish animtions of all times. It’s good it was mentioned here.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tim Drage

    I love the bits where he’s apparently melted paintings on film/cell like a jammed film melting. Really horrifying effect!

    Worker and Parasite was a funny and clever parody but it always makes me cringe when people bring it up like this. I mean, if a simpsons reference is the first thing to spring to mind when seeing some soviet animation, what are you doing even doing reading an animation blog? :-/

  • Hannah B

    Actually, the music is done by Julian Antonisz.
    In the titles, it says the ‘pictures’ are by Jan Tkaczyk.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    >Tim Drage says:
    > I love the bits where he’s apparently melted paintings on film/cell like a jammed film melting. Really horrifying effect!

    It’s rather unique to see how one can create art on film in this manner.

    > Worker and Parasite was a funny and clever parody but it always makes me cringe when people bring it up like this. I mean, if a simpsons reference is the first thing to spring to mind when seeing some soviet animation, what are you doing even doing reading an animation blog? :-/

    I can understand you concern for that (design-wise, the characters in that spoof resembled more the look of Dusan Vukotic’s “Ersatz”). The irony is that most Americans (at least those I know of), aren’t very aware of the kind of animation that did came out of those countries, especially in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s that are otherwise not very known across the Atlantic. The whole “Worker & Parasite” bit is not something I think of when I hear about Eastern European animation personally, as it more or less conjures up memories of having watched the more children/fairy tale films I grew up on up on out of places we would’ve been told to hate or despise due to their political boundaries (like the mole cartoons produced in the former Czechoslovakia). Obviously most people might not be familiar with the subject at hand when it comes to places like this where we tend to have been aware of this from a long time.

    I think the best stuff I’ve ever seen had been those works that did came out of the Soviet Bloc countries where studios were funded greatly by the state and often the animators and animation directors often put out very impressive works, often targeting a more mature audience than doing the typical family/kiddie fare, and often winning awards the world over for them. Today that sort of system has since practically vanished, often replaced with competition from those commercial studios or the importation of works from other countries, making many animators rather shortchanged in coming up with the proper funding for their craft.

    Recently I purchased a 2-disc DVD set entitled “Anthology of Polish Animated Film”, highlighting the works of many artists like Borowczyk, Lenica, Giersz, Czekala, Rybczynski, Kucia and many others over a near 50 year period. I just need to find the time to watch it all!

  • JG

    Very refreshing and emotional. Pure creativity.

    Great comments by Chris Sobieniak and Tim Drage. Fully agree.

    It is true – these animations were geared towards more mature audiences, but children (i’ve grown up in an eastern europe soviet bloc country, watching these) used to enjoy them too for their very unique athmosphere – their emotional effect is even more prononounced to young audience… Some of them were very beautiful. Others are beautiful in other ways. “Entertainment to meditate to”, not quite simple entertainment. They leave the audience (even, and most importantly – children) thinking, which is a good thing. And keeping people thinking with all the stupidity and absurdity of fanatic totalitarism going about was very important back then.

    Note: it’s rather hard to value them out of context. Life back then and there was different from what it is today. This animation did make world seem more “Free” than it was.

    (Have to admit. I can’t see as much artistic value in well drawn clean animation with superficial physical humour as main theme (like “tom & jerry”) ever since.)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Very refreshing and emotional. Pure creativity.
    >
    > Great comments by Chris Sobieniak and Tim Drage. Fully agree.

    Thanks!

    > It is true – these animations were geared towards more mature audiences, but children (i’ve grown up in an eastern europe soviet bloc country, watching these) used to enjoy them too for their very unique athmosphere – their emotional effect is even more prononounced to young audience… Some of them were very beautiful. Others are beautiful in other ways. “Entertainment to meditate toâ€?, not quite simple entertainment. They leave the audience (even, and most importantly – children) thinking, which is a good thing. And keeping people thinking with all the stupidity and absurdity of fanatic totalitarism going about was very important back then.

    ‘Thinking’ is probably one of the biggest points in these works, and it is something we don’t really see too often domestically.

    > Note: it’s rather hard to value them out of context. Life back then and there was different from what it is today. This animation did make world seem more “Free� than it was.

    That’s very true. You just sorta have to put yourself into that mindset when these had came out to appreciate the efforts made to get anything made at all.

    > (Have to admit. I can’t see as much artistic value in well drawn clean animation with superficial physical humor as main theme (like “tom & jerry�) ever since.)

    True. Thinking back to “Worker & Parasite” again, most people would want to relate that to the Tom & Jerry cartoons Gene Deitch had produced over in Prague during the early 60′s, despite the obvious that the animation in those cartoons were not as bad as they would think, and the Czech animators didn’t try to inject a bit of social commentary in some episodes! :-)

  • blalala

    The translation is not very good in the sense that it doesn’t convey the funniness (or quirkiness) of the things the woman says as well how she says them (her accent is not the “standard” polish). So if you think the film is good, you should know that you’d like it far more if you were a native speaker of polish ;).

    The film is pretty popular among polish youth and for example some quotes from it are frequently used by my friends.

    It’s a bit ironic that someone above pointed out some kind of ignorance in another person’s comment (“I mean, if a simpsons reference is the first thing to spring to mind when seeing some soviet animation, what are you doing even doing reading an animation blog?”) while he himself speaks of “soviet animation” in the context of “How a sausage dog works”. Poland was not a part of the Soviet Union, for your information :]

  • Teksty

    This is absolutely great. Already available with English subtitles here: http://www.tastingpoland.com/blog/how_a_sausage_dog_works.html