拿大动画史上有一位重要的功勋是弗烈德瑞克·贝克（Frederic Back），他1924年4月8日出生于德国萨尔省首府——萨尔布鲁根的一个亚尔萨斯家庭。年少时曾在法国斯特拉斯堡，巴黎，勒恩等地成长及求学，直到1948年入籍加拿大。1952年时加拿大广播公司（Canada Broadcasting Corporation，简称CBC）公司开始发展TV电视节目，贝克因其绘画技巧而受邀加入 CBC，担任绘图师及艺术指导的工作。在此期间，贝克主要负责绘图方面的工作，闲暇时则发展他自己特有的玻璃彩绘技巧。直到1968年，CBC公司内部成立动画工作室，主持工作室的休伯特·提逊（Hubert Tison）邀请贝克加入，由此开始了他辉煌的动画生涯！
第一部《魔咒》（Abracadabra，1970）(与 Graeme Ross共同执导)，是关于一位小女孩如何从邪恶的魔法师手中拯救太阳的故事；
第二部《圣火》（Iron, or the Conquest of Fire，1971），叙述一个人类和动物如何从电雷之神手中夺取火种的亚尔冈京族(北美印弟安人)传说；
第三部《小鸟的创造》（The Creation of the Birds，1972）也是改写自一个土著传说，内容记叙如奇迹般变化的四季奇景；
《一无所有》（Nothing Everything nothing ，1978）则主要审视自宇宙创生以来，人类对大自然充满着的矛盾情结。这部影片算是贝克动画生涯中第一阶段的最后一部作品。不论是作为艺术家、画家或是动画导演，贝克的表现总是让人惊叹，而作品中充满的人道关怀更使他成为这些领域的领导者。
而贝克的下一部动画作品《种树的人》（The man who planted tree，1987）是一部改编自尚·纪沃诺(Jean Giono)短文的30分钟影片。影片中的旁白采用的是完全未经修剪的原文。片中叙述一位独居于普罗旺斯(阿尔卑斯山滨海地区)的牧羊人布非耶( Elzear Bouffier)，他把本来一片荒芜的山地种上各种树木，并努力维护、保养林木，使这块原本连煤炭工人都视为荒野的土地成为一片绿洲。在这部作品中，贝克竭尽心思以他最大的真诚绘制了每个画面。Normand Roger的音乐、Noiret的旁白和贝克的优美的绘画笔触引领众人经历一段美妙的心灵之旅——最初荒凉的山地，一位心怀谦卑、感激的牧羊人到最后心中充满著喜悦和希望。使这30分钟的动画成为一部感人至深的抒情影片。
1993年贝克在CBC制作的最后一部短片《大河》 ( The Mighty River，1993)是一部关为圣罗仑斯河浪漫的动画纪录片，片中叙述百年来河流周围的动物和人们如何与其相处。这同样也是部优美的叙事诗。贝克关怀生态、怜悯万物的心境透过他笔下的人物故事而一览
THE MENORIES OF EARTH《土地的记忆》 2002年
该纪录片被枪杀的夏洛特皇后群岛起飞的不列颠哥伦比亚省海岸，还包括由Frédéric回到创造了一些动画序列（最后努力，迄今用他的电影相同的过程。）导演让勒米尔决定将他的探索海达境内的公司，世界著名雕刻家詹姆斯哈特鹰氏族酋长。 他们通过海达探讨艺术和神话，地球的记忆为逾万年抓获自然的本质。 大乌鸦一样的偷走了月亮，两位艺术家试图解放过去的精神，它可以教我们保护祖先的土地和周围水域。 这部影片的目的在于成为创造颂和地球母亲，土地，人民呼吁海达瓜敬意。
The Mighty Animator, Frédéric Back
by William Moritz
72-year-old Frédéric Back, two time Academy Award winner for Crac! and The Man Who Planted Trees, was recently in Los Angeles for the opening of an exhibition of his animation drawings at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The exhibition, with art work from nine of his films, will run until August 25, although the panels of The Man Who Planted Trees and The Mighty River will be sent to the Hiroshima Film Festival after August 11. I got a chance to ask Mr. Back a few questions just before the opening night reception.
Moritz: Do all your animation films, from Abracadabra in 1970 until The Mighty River in 1993 belong to the Société Radio Canada [the French language division of the CBC]?
Back: Yes, that's right. I was an employee of Radio Canada--sometimes a freelance, because depending on how interesting I found the work, sometimes I'd quit, and then return at a later date.
Moritz: Now they've closed down the animation section of Radio Canada ...
Back: Yes. And it's too bad. Hubert Tison at Radio Canada really gave me the opportunity to work in good conditions. Before that, I wasn't so interested in animation. The National Film Board was doing lots of fine animation, but no other place had good equipment and professional cameramen that could do that kind of work. Then Tison built up a professional animation studio at Radio Canada.
I had made many short pieces of animation for music broadcasts and documentaries, so when I began with Radio Canada, I made mainly short films. But the improved conditions Tison offered meant a more complex, higher standard of animation, and I gradually learned to make better, more complex films.
One of the good ideas Tison proposed to Radio Canada was an international exchange of animation films. Before that, and still now, there are regular exchanges of usual live-action television programs, but nothing with animation until Tison initiated it. It was very important, because it meant you could produce high-quality animations relatively cheaply, since for each film Radio Canada made, they got an additional 20 or more--one from each of the other participating countries. This exchange functioned for about 15 years, and it only stopped because gradually too many people too often would buy poor, cheap animation films just to have something to exchange, and the countries that worked hard for higher quality were disappointed. It was really too bad it stopped, since it gave work to animators in many countries, as well as Canada, and encouraged the production of short films.
The Mighty River
Moritz: Is Hubert Tison still with Radio Canada?
Back: No, he retired. After the animation department was gone, I quit, and there was nothing really to interest Hubert. Closing down animation was such a waste. The wonderful computer-assisted camera, which allowed me to make so many camera movements, rotations and dissolves for The Mighty River (so that it seemed spacious, multiplane and flowing like the river), I was the only person who ever got to use it. Where is it now?
Moritz: At the same time, the National Film Board was also being cut back.
Back: Unfortunately, yes. The problem today is that there are no more artists and thinkers at the head of organizations, only bureaucrats who make notes and count numbers. They have no ideas to offer. They don't take risks--and artistic creation is always taking a risk; you can't guarantee how it will come out, there's no safety in art. And the bureaucrats actually don't even seem to be able to count numbers very well, because after Radio Canada dropped the animation department, I learned that more than half of the money that comes back to Radio Canada from sales of product comes from animation films, which are actually few in number: I made 9, Paul Driessen made 3, Graeme Ross made 2--that means 15 or so animation films gave as much income to Radio Canada as hundreds of hours of regular live-action programs. And the animation films also won hundreds of prizes at film festivals.
Moritz: One terrifying thought to me is that since the same Radio Canada which closed down the Animation Department owns your films, they could presumably withdraw them from circulation, not show them, they could be lost, decay in the vaults.
Back: Well, at least now they show them quite a bit, especially at fesitvals, where they are in demand. And Man Who Planted Trees and Mighty River are available on videocassette, so they are used by teachers and environmentalists continually.
Moritz: But even now, your earlier films, like the two based on Algonquin and Micmac myths, are hardly seen--though the artworks from them in this exhibit are very beautiful. In any case, does the demise of Radio Canada and the crippled National Film Board mean that you can't make any more animation?
Back: No, actually I could. I have had several proposals, even one from National Film Board, but I promised my wife Ghylaine not to take on another large animation project, because she became a sort of animation widow during the long making of Man Who Planted Trees and Mighty River. Now I have actually started animation work on a te10 minute film sponsored by Trees for Life, in Wichita, Kansas, which will promote planting fruit trees in third world countries. Also, I never really stop working. Right after Mighty River I made a number of book illustrations, one about Inuits, one about beluga whales, and of course The Mighty River book itself. And I worked a lot with Greenpeace, and other organizations that protect animals, seals. There's always a lot of work to do.
The Man Who Planted Trees
Moritz: After spending so much time making your filmed images move and change, do you mind seeing them as still book illustrations?
Back: No, I think they work very well as books, and I always make some special artworks just for the books. Mighty River is particularly important as a book, because in 24 minutes you can't give too many facts, since the visual information is so rich, you would get dizzy if there were statistics, too. But in the book there are many details and facts that you can study at leisure, and learn, perhaps intellectually, as you learn emotionally from the film. The Mighty River book has been translated into Japanese, as well, so I hope the Japanese fishing fleet read it and disappear.
Moritz: Surprisingly, even Crac! worked very well as a book, I thought. One of the things that I liked most in Crac! the film was the way great Canadian paintings--Cornelius Krieghoff's Merrymaking or Lucius O'Brien's Sunrise on the Saguenay, for example--just seem to "happen" in the course of the action. When the ASIFA-Canada Bulletin devoted an issue to you in 1988, they printed a picture of your early art teacher, Mathurin Méheut, with his class (including you)--and a few of his sketches. He seems like such a romantic figure, you should make a film about him in which his paintings could also "just happen" in the course, since he is almost unknown here.
Back: Not a bad idea. He's getting better known in France: there's a museum devoted to him, and traveling exhibitions. When he died, his wife gave some 4,000 drawings to start the museum. His work is a rich documentation of something that no longer exists. During the war, when I was studying with him, Brittany was almost untouched, following its typical way of life for centuries. I had the opportunity to go with him and make drawings beside him. "Draw everything," he told us, "it will all disappear." He was right. Now in Brittany, there is hardly a port. No Bretons in traditional costume, no fishermen, no fish. No colorful nets of string and rope, no iron and wood tools and boats: everything is plastic. It's lost all its character and beauty. The Breton fishermen used to dress all in red or blue, and they would repair their clothes with patches from other material so they were like mosaics of colors, walking paintings. What Méheut drew is a fantastic testimony, a documentation of this lost world.
In France there is now a book about him, and I was interviewed by the director of a television documentary about him, but the program was not really very good, as they did not have enough money to give the full impression of the scope and color of Méheut's achievement. That's where I, too, would have trouble with such a project: I'm not a good enough diplomat, a negotiator to make a deal to support a project on Méheut, as it would be another big film.
Moritz: That's where we miss Hubert Tison.
Back: Yes indeed. I would have the idea, and he would make it possible. My wife was also enormously supportive and helpful--too few animators have such a good, understanding helper.
Moritz: Are any of your children animators?
Back: No, but in a way, they are all involved with art. My daughter is a painter, and she also works with batiks. My younger son is an illustrator, who specializes in historical costumes and settings. And my older son is a biologist who worked for the World Health Organization, for 10 years he was in Africa, and he teaches using his knowledge of graphics, including computer graphics: he's very clever with computers.
I'm very honored and happy that the Academy is making this exhibition. Radio Canada framed all these artworks, and then they have been sitting around in a cellar.
I hope this exhibition is a success, not just for me, but because there are so many animators around the world who do fine artwork that should be exhibited, too. What you see on the screen is not a reflection of each individual drawing or sculpture, so it's wonderful to have a chance to see the artworks, and it can be very instructive to other artists.
When you're in your little room by yourself drawing, it can be depressing: it's so repetitive, and you never know, drawing after drawing, what will happen when they get on film; you just have to have faith in your project, and keep on. An exhibition like this should be a stimulation to work hard, and keep steadfast in your belief in the project, and give each artwork maximum quality.
William Mortiz teaches film and animation history at the California Institute of the Arts.
2009/09/18 16:49:48 补充