All these days in the year, we talked about various formats of animation. But today, the penultimate week of the year, we decided to focus on animated documentaries leaving all aside.
We have got for you best five documentaries that we have seen and want to tell you about.
The five movies listed below push well beyond the short-form, sustaining animated non-fiction for an hour or more. These are the films that show how a drawn documentary can work and why this approach is more than just a gimmick.
Victory Through Air Power (1943)
Walt Disney, the master animator was always a master propagandist, selling a vision of placid middle-class living that even now people confuse with how this country actually was in the mid-20th century.
He was so impressed by Russian-born aviator Alex De Seversky’s 1942 treatise on how the U.S. should counter Germany and Japan’s aerial prowess that he spent his own money to turn it into a movie, and then went outside his skeptical usual distribution partner RKO to get into theaters, to reach the largest possible audience of persuadable Americans.
Of Stars and Men (1964)
Animators John and Faith Hubley made one of their most personal films with this adaptation of astronomer Harlow Shapley’s book about the size of the universe.
Taking that bit of science as their starting point, the Hubleys free-associate and philosophize, celebrating the wonders of existence while contemplating our place within it.
The movie opens with mankind taking the crown from the lion as the king of the Earth. The rest of the picture ponders what that really means.
Drawn from Memory(1995)
Czech animator Paul Fierlinger led a fascinating life, which involved hopping around the globe as the son of a diplomat, becoming a pioneer in his homeland’s thriving film industry in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and then defecting after the Soviets rolled into Prague. His animated memoir covers just that first stretch of his biography, with contributions from his famous friends Milos Forman and Vaclav Havel, who provide the voices for their own characters. By the end of the film, Fierlinger proves that this may be one the best ways to see how one man’s experiences shaped his art: by fusing the two.
In the Realms of the Real (2004)
When Chicago janitor Henry Darger died in 1973, he left behind piles of artwork and journals, a 5,000-page autobiography, and a 15,000-page fantasy novel about a revolution led by two sexually ambiguous preteens. Darger took images from comic strips and catalogs and rearranged them into surreal, disturbing images of war and torture, informed by his own rough childhood. Because he didn’t have many relationships, Jessica Yu’s documentary In the Realms of the Unreal largely eschews talking heads, instead relying on voice-over comments from neighbors, and animated versions of Darger’s original illustrations. Her approach unlocks the connection between the depressing life of a lonely blue-collar worker and the insanely elaborate revenge fantasy he worked on at home for decades.
Chicago 10 (2007)
Brett Morgen’s energetic take on the trial of the high-profile radicals arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention uses animation to bring life to old audio recordings and dramatic readings of courtroom transcripts—but also as a way of capturing the inherent cartoonishness of the legal proceedings, which quickly went from being a case about inciting a riot to a vehicle for society as a whole to judge the entire restless hippie generation. The look of Chicago 10 gives overused late 1960s imagery a necessary freshness, helping to connect the passions of the past to what angry activist youth are still up to today.