Black Tape Black Tape

In this series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today—the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.

This week’s subject is the wife-and-husband team of Michelle and Uri Kranot, whose films explore political and social themes with inventiveness, humor, and a wide range of techniques.

In a sentence: Frequently skirting between live-action and animation, the real and unreal, and between the political and personal, the Israeli-born, Denmark-based duo of Michelle and Uri Kranot have built up an impressive body of work that tackles uncomfortable aspects of human history: violence, corruption, xenophobia, loss, exile.

Where to start: Black Tape (2014) stands out for its clever and seductive use of tango to play off that old line, “It takes two to tango”. It also takes two to occupy: the occupier and the occupied; the victim and victimizer; the armed and the unarmed.

What to watch next:  The Heart of Amos Klein (2008) uses the life of a one-armed man straddling life and death to examine the violence, corruption, and turmoil in recent Israeli history. Told using a mix of paint, drawings, and live action, the Kranots have created not so much a film of forgiving, but one that attempts to understand what makes people who they are and what they do.

Other key works: Nothing Happens (2016), Hollow Land (2013), The Hangman at Home (2021)

Influences: William Kentridge, Laurie Andersen, Ursula K. LeGuin, Robert Wyatt

Says: “Most of the films we work completely together, as with Hollow Land – we wrote the script together, we directed the film together, we did the storyboard together. But when we finished the storyboard Uri did the actual layouts; we designed the characters together but I painted them – we really shared the work between us, and we also share our lives. I think today we don’t know who animated what, which is true about our previous films as well. We did it all together; it’s very symbiotic.”

Currently working on: “We are currently working on an experimental xr multi-user installation and writing a script for an animated feature film. Uri is recording an album. I’m doing visuals for electro-acoustic music. Next year will be our 10th year of running ANIDOX:LAB at The Animation Workshop – this year’s call will focus on climate action and emerging media.”

Pictured at top: Black Tape

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson is a writer and Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Robinson has authored thirteen books including Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2006), Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008), and Japanese Animation: Time Out of Mind (2010). He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning animation short, Lipsett Diaries.

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