It's always nice to discover a body of work that consistently rocks, but one that does so with a unique style and incomparable intelligence is a rare thing. I think I stumbled upon Ivan Maximov by accident when youtubing around for Alexander Petrov clips. I'll be sure to cover Petrov in this blog when I get closer to a working paint-on-glass rig, but right now Maximov's interesting combination of simple geometry and texture is a great place to stop and visit.
Niti ("Strings") is a fantastic little piece. Simple shapes and colors make it easy to discern key players and goings-on almost immediately. The layout/blocking is particularly interesting- it feels as though the abstract landscape is a real place. The story moves through the populated world pretty seamlessly. And of course the tale itself is poignant, resonant... uplifting and bleak at the same time. The love story ends happily, all is well. That final shot, though, of those strings bereft all ownership- all these connections and relationships dead with time. Spent and useless. Littering the world. It's an abstract sort of symbology that neither slaps you in the face nor becomes so elusive you can't grasp the meaning. Such imposed ambivalence is the stuff of true contemporary storytellers, IMHO. You'll find that the films of Petrov often fall victim to a kind of sappy sentimentality that often accompanies flights from reality to the fantastic; this is a tendency Maximov has never visibly been prey to.
You can tell from this Bolero short that Maximov has a distinct grasp of consciousness as the Gödelian self-referential strange-loop. (In short the model exists within the model ∴ the model defines itself; an inescapable gap of logic that Kurt Gödel proved mathematically. This destroyed the Principia Mathematica text and changed the face of logic and philosophy forever. It, like a fugue, is a perfect analogy for consciousness.) Something about this film, too, has that odd Kafkaesque sense of horrific inescapable monotony- simultaneously fear-inducing and comedic. The psychology behind both of these stories (as different as they are) isn't your average Freud-quoting superficial skim over the top of the psyche. These films dive deeply into what it means to live as a conscious being and they do it without words, imposed context, or forced didacticism. I think he even sneaked a toilet joke into that Bolero piece. Nice. By the by, I suspect this Bolero piece is Replacement Animation (using shaped cutouts) but I'm not sure.
And who doesn't need an occasional bizarre multicolored trip through a surreal wasteland led by a dog that turns the moon into many-threaded strands of taffy creatures? Nobody in their right mind, that's who.
I LUV the sound and music in that final piece.