Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beatrice Coron's 'Daily Battles' (Part 1)

How many battles do we fight every day?
It seems there is always a dragon to slay, a kingdom
to be won, and a Holy Grail to find.
~ Artist Beatrice Coron

Still of Scene from Beatrice Coron's Daily Battles
Animated 3D Short Film Directed by James Stewart
Image Courtesy of Geneva Film Co.

In November 2011, I profiled master papercutter Beatrice Coron, writing that to see her artwork is to be astonished. (See "Wednesday Wonder: Beatrice Coron's Papercuts".) Now, Coron, who speaks through "the language of silhouettes", has taken her art to a new level, collaborating with Canadian film director James Stewart, founder of Geneva Film Co., to produce Beatrice Coron's Daily Battles. Produced in stereoscopic 3D, the unique short film brings to life Coron's extraordinary 61-panel papercut of medieval life. Coron crafted Daily Battles from a single sheet of Tyvek, fashioning individual windows through which we see scenes from daily life in and outside a castle. The hardships and joys in Coron's invented world of the mythic and the real are universal, paralleling the predicaments we ourselves face in contemporary life. As Coron has remarked, "In life and in papercutting, everything is connected. One story leads to another."

Comprising a series of vignettes that tell a nonlinear "tale of struggle, battle, and trickery representing the challenges of life" experienced by nobles and peasants alike, the wordless short uses animation, sound, light, and shadows to render a re-imagined, multi-layered world where good and evil co-exist at all levels of society. Animated, Coron's intricate, hand-cut depictions of the epic and the prosaic — of a vulture stealing a baby from its crib, prisoners in dungeons, servants drawing a bath or cooking, jousting knights, soldiers in battle, fire-breathing dragons, merchants hawking their wares, princesses, and unicorns — acquire surprising depth and emotion. 

The 6:30-minute film that has resulted from Coron's and Stewart's inspired collaboration had its premiere on February 26 at the 2013 TED Conference "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.",  in Long Beach, California. Here's the trailer for Daily Battles:

Currently, the film is making festival rounds. This coming Saturday, March 9, it will be screened at the DC Independent Film Festival at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center in Washington, D.C. (Use Archives Metro stop.) On that same day, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Coron and Stewart will be presenting a Masterclass, "From Papercutting to 3D Filmmaking — A Collaboration Between Two Artists". Go here for the festival's lineup of animated and experimental film shorts, taking place between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and here for the schedule of seminars, panels, and masterclasses. Separate fees are charged for film screenings and the masterclass or other presentations.

Having had the privilege to all six-and-a-half minutes of Daily Battles, I encourage you to search out a screening to experience it for yourself.

In Part 2, which follows this post, I interview Coron and Stewart, who graciously agreed to respond to my questions about heir collaboration via e-mail.

No comments: