in animate objects

i just wanted to make a brief entry today to introduce those of you unfamiliar with him to the work of barry purves.

he is a master animator from the UK whose work with elaborate puppets is of the highest order. his body of film work consists of six shorts, each more beautifully crafted and complex than the last. when not bringing his finely detailed creations to life, he works in the theatre as a director and designer and this influence shows up in almost all of his puppet work, as the short films touch on shakespeare, japanese stage traditions, grand opera and gilbert and sullivan. his animated version of rigoletto (1993) for the british television series operavox is incredible and his achilles (1995) is a rigorous and striking examination of the relationship between achilles and patroclus, laid out in such intimate detail that it forever demolishes oscar wilde's claim that puppets "have no private lives". just a few frames to give you an idea of his consummate skill...

and here is his brilliant next: the infinite variety show (1989) in its entirety. watch as a stop motion bard puts on the audition of a lifetime, squeezing an image or two from his entire catalog into a scant few minutes.

unfortunately for us on this side of the atlantic, most of his work is not available as a region 1 dvd. if you're savvy to the ways of the internet i am sure you can find more if you are so inclined. you can also visit his website to see more of his work, both with and without puppets. i highly recommend it all.

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