"In a military base, soldiers are participating in a particular art project."
Fallen Art is a short film written and directed by Polish artist Tomasz Baginski that deals with blind obedience to orders in the military and people being used as expendable resources for an outrageous art project.
The General’s dance was also quite tough – we were closing to the end of production and the dance had to be created very quickly.
The film features four distinct characters (frog included), soldiers, army-related themes and iconography, an animation within an animation, an unusual choreography and an accent on dark humor.
Staged in a military base, the short progressively reveals the development of an art project. Staging and iconography play a central role, as they help create a strong contrast between location and the narrative that takes place there. Film-related self-reflexive elements abound, from the animated film title to the projector and screening. No strong conflicts are present, but the surprising narrative and outrageous elements successfully hook the viewer and drive the fast-paced narrative forward, keeping the audience engaged.
Aesthetic work is exceptional, thanks to the talent of the director himself and that of other Polish artists such as Rafal Wojtunik, among others. A painterly aesthetic is employed, which Baginski consciously chose to drive the film’s look away from the trademark CG aesthetic of the time (Fallen Art was completed in 2004). Character and environment design is worth noting, as well as the particularly remarkable work on lighting, which is a pleasure to watch. All these elements have helped Fallen Art age really well as a 3D-animated film that isn’t chained to the technological limitations of the time it was made in.
Visual rhythm is high, camera moves abound, dollies, cranes (not surprisingly, as gravity plays a part), zooms, etc. Editing pace varies throughout the short, the sequence of the projector activating as well as the one of the absurd dance are worth highlighting due to the camera moves and visual rhythm.
Fallen Art consolidated a change in Baginski’s career, which started with his previous short The Cathedral, in which he started shifting from CG artist to film director. In this case he switched from solo artist to team director. Some of his later films use CG, but he has also leaned more towards live action.
Also worth noting is Platige Image’s support for filmmakers. The production company founded in Warsaw by Jarosław Sawko and Piotr Sikora helped a number of talented Polish artists make their first films in the early 2000s.
What makes Fallen Art work so well? Strong, decaffeinated dark humor, plenty of surprises, a contrast between staging and narrative, excellent aesthetic work and fun music, all contribute to a short that presents a bold subject with a comedic approach. This is the kind of film that won’t leave the audience indifferent.