When people ask me who is your favourite animator, I say Yuri Norstein. I know he’s relatively well-known in the independent animation community, but when I first saw his films, it was a true discovery. My art degree was in conceptual art, and the other students and teachers were concerned with installation, performance, sound and video art. When I started making animated films, everyone was very supportive, but couldn’t offer me much instruction. I spent hours in the bowels of the small art library, scouring through old VHS compilations of animated shorts, like Caroline Leaf, Norman McLaren and yes, Yuri Norstein. When I saw his Tale of Tales, I can truthfully say, at the risk of sounding overblown, that it changed my life. Never had I seen an animated short that was lyrical, poetic, beautiful, and yet kept my rapt attention for a full 30 minutes. It was not traditionally linear, and yet it spoke to me so that somehow I knew what it was talking about – loss, nostalgia, history. In addition to this, it was made with painted plastic cut-outs, a medium similar to my paper cut-outs at the time. I felt a true kinship with the artist. Like many people who’ve discovered Yuri Norstein, I’ve shared his films with as many people as possible, trying to spread the magic, and have been patiently waiting for him to finish his next film.
It was with tremendous joy, then, that I recently found out Yuri Norstein is visiting Evergreen State College on Feb 10th. It will include a screening of Tale of Tales, The Hedgehog in the Fog, and The Heron and the Crane. Below is the poster, and more information can be found on the Evergreen event page, here. Buy your ticket now!