Jules Engel – "Accident"

By: Juan Camilo González

I first saw this film during my first year at USC in Christine Panushka’s animation history class. I usually get excited to see animation by independent artists but experiencing this one projected from a film print was very moving and inspiring. I was fascinated by so many aspects of what seems to be a very simple film. A running dog drawn from the Edward Muybridge’s photography experiments, runs gracefully in the middle of the screen. No backgrounds, no color or details, just the silhouette of the dog gets progressively erased from the screen until we just see the trail or mark in the screen. The drawing gets erased to allow the memory to fill what’s missing.

I find this so powerful and appreciate the generosity of this artist for abstracting everything to it’s simplest possible form. I find this as one of the best examples of truly abstract art because he is able to reduce everything to it’s most iconic state. In a more technical aspect, the film is made with a very limited number of drawings that are cycled and transformed under the camera. After seeing that I wanted to try it out and did an exercise using 12 drawings and found out the amazing possibilities of working with something that later on is more visible in Adam Beckett’s films called infinite cycles. I will post this exercise in the “Films” section since it has become one of my main interests in what I want to explore technically and conceptually in my thesis.

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