Jeu Jeu

In this ongoing 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 Swiss animation legend Georges Schwizgebel.

In a paragraph: Georges Schwizgebel is a consummate animator whose work bursts with inviting colors, sounds,
and imagery. Each frame is a work of art, intricately timed, painted, edited, and scored.

Where to start: Jeu (2006). A manic, glorious free-fall through the beautiful chaos of memory, sensation, and experience. An exhilarating work that screams love for life.

What to watch next: L’ homme sans ombre (2004) is a great example of Schwizgebel’s narrative-driven work. Based on a sort of Faustian-type story and told without words, the protagonist makes a deal with a magician to turn his shadow into riches. The film beautifully reflects that age-old human desire for more, more, and more.

Other key works:  Retouches (2008), Romance (2011), The Battle of San Romano (2017)

Influences: “My first influence was discovering animated films at the Annecy Festival in the sixties, Walerian Borowczyk, Yoji Kuri, and especially Norman McLaren.”

Says: “I enjoy animation because it is a craftsman’s manner of creating cinema. I do everything myself – from basic research through to final editing. My profession does not require major infrastructure. Apart from a camera and an old computer, my basic material remains that of an artist.” (1995)

Currently working on: “Right now, I’ve just started a project based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.”


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.

Latest News from Cartoon Brew