Genius Party Opening – Atsuko FukushimaJuly 22, 2008
Genius Party is an opening five-minute animation directed by Atsuko Fukushima (animator for Akira, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Robot Carnival) to the animation anthology with the same name. The animation features unique characters and wide color palette that are complemented well by a very impressive soundtrack.
If you have not seen the movie yet, please do so first before reading, for the visuals can be interpreted in many different ways and it would be best to form your own vision. The following is my interpretation.
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While surreal visuals can be open to interpretation, the main themes of the movie are creative process, generation of art, and its influence on people.
The film begins with a white bird gracefully flying on a pastel background.
Then we see a human who is trying to become a bird and fly. Human runs all day trying to flap artificial wings, but fails to take off the ground – something is missing. Perhaps, it is just like some people that try to do something, but don’t understand the true essence.
Here we see a neuron and a heart representing cognition and passion respectively. Every good artist has some issues s/he feels strongly about and, after some contemplation, they manifest into art. It seems that the bird-human does not have the ardor the rock possesses.
Bird-human consumes the heart and gains true wings, then proceeds to consume the neuron and ascends to the skies in a form of pure energy.
A drop from the sky ignites the neuron of the rock whose heart has been stolen. It tries to regenerate that idea, that passion it used to feel, but fails. Others try too, but only develop unoriginal clones, just like many movies we see today.
Then the rocks see a ray of energy flying in the skies, an wonderful artwork that inspires them all. However, once it is gone, they forget the feeling, just like you would after seeing a film.
Only one rock remembers, only it recovers the lost feelings. Deeply touched by them, the rock resolutely follows his passion and becomes one with it. By understanding the true essence of the issue, the rock creates a wonderful artwork representing it.
The bird rises to the skies and kindles the hearts of other rocks, initiating a chain reaction of thought in the population, just like good films do.
The animation ends with a scene of a movie theater and a sound of a projector, a medium to inspire people, give them new ideas, and help them understand the world. The camera zooms in on one rock and flies into it’s eye, inviting us into the heads of the directors who participated in the Genius Party project. Indeed, it is a wonderful opening to an animation anthology :)