Sunday, May 24, 2015

#1,742. The Cathedral (2002)

Directed By: Tomasz Baginski

Starring: Jola Rzebuska, Maria Kucharska, Marcin Jaskowski

Trivia: The film won the the award for Best Animated Short at Siggraph 2002 in San Antonio

A while back, I sang the praises of Ryan, a 2004 short film by Chris Landreth, which blew me away with its imagery and style. The Cathedral, an award-winning 2002 animated short written and directed by Tomasz Baginski, falls into this same category. A wondrous blend of science fiction and fantasy, The Cathedral is a visual tour de force.

Story-wise, there isn’t much to it: In the dark of night, a lone explorer enters an abandoned Gothic Cathedral, which seemingly springs to life as he makes his way around it. But it’s the manner in which it presents this simple tale that gives The Cathedral its singular flavor, employing images that are both picturesque and haunting. As if they were in hiding, the statues scattered throughout the Cathedral show signs of life only after the lead passes them by, some opening their eyes, others smiling slyly, like they know something the explorer does not. Sure enough, when daylight arrives, the building finally reveals its true nature in what proves to be a surprising finale.

Whereas the extraordinary visuals in Ryan gave shape (for want of a better term) to its characters, thus enhancing their personalities, writer / director Tomasz Baginski pours his energy into creating an entire world, one so vibrant and rich that we wish we had more time to discover its various nuances. Bold and beautiful, The Cathedral is a unique work of art.

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