The cat and mouse game has been a favourite theme for animators and audiences alike since the early days of the animated cartoon. Whether the predator is a wolf or a cat, and whatever animal the innocent victim may be, these films always follow the same pattern; the big bad wolf/cat looses his chances to eat bunny/bird/mouse steak due to arrogance, stupidity and slow response in the defining moment. The audience loves to see the innocent little animal making a fool of the big bad animal trying to eat him. It is a deeply rooted theme, also present in fairytales from every corner of the world. It seems we all like to see the big and strong being overpowered by the small and helpless. In the case of Nu Pogodi, we have a cigarette smoking wolf constantly assaulting an androgynous little bunny rabbit – luckily to no avail.
Canned sardines, caught in the fjords of Western Norway, were once a staple food in both Europe and the USA. To appeal to buyers in foreign markets, the Norwegian canning factories came up with an abundance of colorful designs, more or less related to the contents of the tin. In the first half of the 20th century, when the canning industry reached it’s peak, there were dozens of canning factories in the southwestern city of Stavanger. In fact the canning industry was one of the main reasons for the city’s growth in this period. Today, Stavanger’s canning museum is the only memory left of the once booming sardine industry, and crude oil has long since replaced it as the main source of income. Most of the images are borrowed from www.norwegiancollector.com.
This thriller of a movie has a special cast in a special set; all characters come from the brands that invade our lives, and the drama unfolds in a corporate city of logos and trademarks. It won Oscars for best animated short film in 2010, but somehow hasn’t become as widely watched as it ought to be.
Since Norway is a a small country with only four million people, you would not expect the regional differences to be too big. The geography though is such, that for almost a thousand years, from the end of the viking era and until modern times, the different regions did not interact much among each others – so that each part of the country developed distinct cultural and linguistic traits. Oddvar Torsheim is an artist whose burlesque style is distincly Western Norwegian. His art is a homage to the fjord landscape and the people who live there, but also a satirical look at Norway; the religious fanaticism of the west, the oil industry and the greed which has corrupted our innocence over the past decades. And then there is women, beer drinking men and I guess a bit of autobiographical references too, in Torsheim’s humorous, freudian universe.
Canadian animator Ryan Larkin has sadly become just as well known for his unfortunate life story, as his powerful animations. After being nominated for Oscars with “Walking” in 1969, he followed up the success with this amazing little film in 1972. Unfortunately, Street Musique became the last complete movie he made. Somehow Larkin ended up on a path of alcoholism, drug abuse and homelessness. A few years before his death in 2007, he did however have a little comeback; as the director of the music video “spare change”, but only as a vague shadow the creative genius he once used to be.