Sunday, September 27, 2020

North of Blue-Joanna Priestley's Abstract Animated Feature

Joanna Priestley's North of Blue is a film which is mostly but not entirely abstract. Some may call it an 'abstracted film' rather than a purely nonobjective work. The colors are mostly blue and red with various neutrals at different points. There are curved shapes, rectilinear shapes, and some which resemble cells, hearts, and profiles of lips. There is an ever evolving aesthetic where sometimes there's one main background and some times there's several things going on like in Tusalava. Sometimes shapes fold and refold over themselves with 2D overlap.

There's a motif of 3 blue circles morphing into various other shapes. There's plantlike shapes, shapes representing Native American or in Canada, First Nations masks. The sound effects remind one of the cold and give the film a very interesting aural atmosphere. I won't reveal much else because I might spoil too much of the movie. The film is so visually inventive that it took me several viewings to watch it because I was emotionally drained. I won't hold that against it because I enjoyed it every time I came back. The film is, for some reason, available to watch on Film Freeway's website. Anyone who is interested in abstract art and can stomach such an unusual exercise I encourage to watch the film.

I give North of Blue an 8 out of 10. It's not the film that abstract animation purists would ask for but it always has something interesting going on and unlike EEBISA it has a soundtrack and doesn't run out of good visual ideas before the end. This film is for me, a dream come true and I hope that at least one of you feels the same way.

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