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1941 - Francis Lee


Rental Format(s): Digital File

The December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor motivated painter-filmmaker Francis Lee to produce these abstract images evocative of the horrors of war. Splattered wet paint and broken light bulbs allude to the senseless destruction. The potent visuals are reinforced by the driving rhythms of Stravinsky's aggressive atonal music. -Bruce Posner

Lee's emotionally powerful rendering of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is presented as an abstract, animated action painting, its saturated color made possible through the new 16mm Kodachrome. Finally, primary colors give way to grays, blacks, and browns, as the world is metaphorically turned into an ashen battlefield. -Jan-Christopher Horak

Francis Lee (1913-1998) began experimenting with abstract animation in 1939, completing 1941 before going to war. After World War II, he made several more pioneering films, including Le Bijou (1946), before returning to painting. In the 1960s/70s he worked again as a cameraman and animator on The Black Fox (1962) and experimental videos. -Jan-Christopher Horak

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