© 2011 National Film Board of Canada / NHK / Polygon Pictures

15th Animation Division Excellence Award

Muybridge’s Strings

Animated short film [Japan]



This is an animation which depicts scenes of a modern mother and daughter, along with scenes from the life of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge who, in 1878, succeeded in photographing the continuous motion of a galloping horse and had a tremendous impact on the birth of film; through the contrast of the two worlds, which transcends space and time, this animation makes one think about “time.” While traveling backward and forward between California and Tokyo, and the 19th and 21st centuries, there is a magical quality in the way in which this animation depicts the tumultuous life of Muybridge; in addition, the scenes showing the affectionate relationship between a mother and daughter are very striking. This is an international coproduction with the National Film Board of Canada, with the motif of “Can time be stopped?”.

Reason for Award

A cinematic poem based on the life of the photographer Muybridge
In the course of the animation’s history, many animators have surely been indebted to the sequential photographs of animals and people recorded by early 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. This film is something of a puzzle, an expression of Muybridge’s important works and tragic life that shifts between the 1870s and a present-day mother and daughter, revolves around the motif of a pocket watch that records time as symbols, and ties threads together against Bach’s strangely constructed Crab Canon. Furthermore, it is interesting that an animator would choose to animate the life of Muybridge, known for his sequential photographs, through the projection of intermittently shot stills.The work conveys a philosophical sense that even the time people spend shouldering their various burdens of fate will pass like the frames of a fragmented memory. One also senses the depth of YAMAMURA Koji’s work as an animator in tackling a topic of such breadth in a short-form work of only 12 minutes 39 seconds.