Katedra (The Cathedral) (2002) dir. Tomasz Bagiński
Both these films were completed within a couple years of each other by Polish animator Tomasz Bagiński in the early aughts. This would have been in the days where Shrek and the Playstation 2, making the complexity and texture on display here even more impressive. Bagiński would later design the cinematics for The Witcher video game and serve as an executive producer for the series. Looking at “Katedra” film, that’s not a big surprise. More surprising is the, ahem, leap he’d take in between with dark humor and exaggerated character design.
Katedra (The Cathedral) (2004) dir. Tomasz Bagiński
WARNING: Graphic and disturbing humor.
Completed just two years after “Katedra,” “Fallen Art” only matches his first film in the complexity of its visuals and surpasses it in expressiveness. For that matter, it matches Pixar’s big budget offering that year, The Incredibles (DreamWorks debuted Shrek 2 – as I never tire of remembering – in competition at Cannes). “Fallen Art” is a horrifying bit of pitch black humor and, for my money, pretty perfect – from its rickety wooden tower through its nightmare dance duet to its frog motif.
The “artist” is named, according to the character list, “General Al” and is assisted by “Sergeant Al,” giving a bit of the anonymous treatment to the officers that’s made visual in the subordinates. The names also have the odd maybe-coincidental effect of looking like the cracked up art is being done by “General A.I.” adding a new squeamish point to press on the human experience.