The beautiful animations of Myrrha Jamil evoke dreamscapes of ever-shifting fairytale realities in which people and animals come from the earth, briefly drift, and return to nature like wisps. The drawings are done with chalk, watercolor and oil paints. She sometimes photographs her films with a vertical frame, making her little magical world seem barely glimpsed through a keyhole. There’s a mystical quality to these films. They are like messages from the fairy world.
This is work in the creative realm of filmmakers like Yuri Norstein, where the vague impressions and delicate renderings of nature and the subconscious are paramount. Myrrha Jamil is a profoundly talented and obviously brilliant filmmaker.
Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi makes these beautiful staged shots based on Japanese tales, the Brothers Grimm, and stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The photos are part of her ‘Fairytale’ series. She has girls play the various roles and seems to shoot many of the scenes inside a room with big windows that she transforms into mysterious and suggestive environments. Her photography has the bold dramatic effect of old Hollywood black and white films.
This is a 1928 version of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Match Girl,’ directed by French film great Jean Renoir and Jean Tédesco. The story is a simple one about the visions of a poor match girl as she freezes to death in the snow. It’s a loose adaptation that actually seems rather rigid and too involved with its sets and props to really give any feeling of the fantastic. It is also pro-forma in its pathos or portrayal of the match girl’s despair. Also, the leading actress, Catherine Hessling, is completely unappealing. Apparently, one of the toy soldiers was played by Lucia Joyce, the daughter of author James Joyce.
C Merry has created an epic rambling fairy tale that weaves her own modern perspective through the classic stories that children have been familiar with for centuries. The result is both humorous and unsettling. C Merry combines these tales with mythology and Christmas to explain things that have been long forgotten. It’s a beautiful way to start the holidays. You’ll find out that the Pied Piper had money troubles and was working out of his van. Santa Clawz is a wormhole-travelling wildman who began the holiday tradition of sneaking into houses to counteract the effects of war. Instead of dropping bombs, he dropped gifts. He was also descended from grizzly bears.
The story unfolds over a series of partially animated illustrations that are gorgeously detailed, showing squiggly pen lines inside every detail. These pictures are backed by a dense and mysterious soundscape.
What C Merry seems to be doing is connected the world’s most charming tales for children to the much deeper and darker subterranean world of mythology. It works. She has created a mystical world of danger and beauty.
You can also read the entire illustrated tale at the author’s blog.
This 1954 RKO Radio Pictures film was based on Engelbert Humperdink’s opera and directed by Michael Myerberg. Be warned: the actress who plays Gretel gives what is possibly the single worst vocal performance in the history of animated films!