By Nina J P Evans

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Short stories: Dahlia is the result of a controlled chaotic filmmaking approach created by artist Michael Langan. It’s a stop motion film compositionally exploring a series of themes, ranging in scale and subject matter from street level paving ground to the sea. Fixing key elements into a centralised mid position enables and maintains a kind of visual focus and continuity.

This film is more than just a camera technique. Clever layering and editing, pushes the boundaries of storytelling and engagement. Using such methods create a deeper poetic resonance in the way that it repeats and glimpses back on things and people seen, viewing juxtapositions of objects from different angles, constantly, objectively; not looping the motion, but rather a continued exploration. Animating in sync with a soundtrack. The films depth, warmth and quality colour saturation makes this piece visually very beautiful.

His filming showed whimsical notions of human behaviour by the randomness of the background actions on the beach are both fun and intriguing. We are drawn into the pleasure of watching others; some are tagged, enabling a more coherent visual drama to evolve. Among many of the different themes I loved how the iron railings curved spiral forms animated through many shots of different railing studies. Looking at such a mundane details of an iron spiral on a railing is incredible, as we wouldn’t appreciate the very subtle differences in shape and form.

The dahlia features quite late, but makes your head spin with the stop motion photography as it explores all sides of the thing. The filming camera technique is more revealed through the simplicity of the flower, and thus makes the whole seem to flower literally. I would describe this piece as being both simple and complex simultaneously. I love idea of the camera focusing on the themes centrally and the haphazardness of life playing out in a beat. Ironically it looks like this takes just minutes to record on the fly and edit together with sound, but as chaotic as this film seems to be, the filming of this I’m pretty sure wasn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole consisted first through storyboards. This film short is just absolutely breathtaking.

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