[FILM] "ANIMAL FARM" - (1954 / ENGLAND / 74 Minutes)

This section is usually allocated to serious films but this time I thought of going to see an animation one. The film I selected is "Animal Farm." I'm sure that many understand that its original author is the Englishman George Orwell. He was born in India in 1903 and led a vagrant life around the slums of Paris and London. In 1936 participated in the civil war of Spain and wrote his experiences in the "Homage to Catalonia." In 1949 depicted the super control of society by the State in his literary work, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" where he warned of the beginnings of Absolutism.
"Animal Farm" (1945) is not just a children's fantasy. The story is about a rebellion and counterrevolution of frustrated farm animals, exploited by humans. In fact, it looks like an allegory depicting the Soviet Union at the time. In other words its meaning goes like this: The landowner oppressing the animal farms is the Russian Emperor, the old pig inciting the animals to get in arms is Lenin, the young pig leading the revolution of the animals is Trotsky, the shrewd pig that expels Trotsky and establishes dictatorship is Stalin.
The world well-known English Halas and Bachelor Cartoon Films produced the animation film between 1940~70 and there is a funny story related to its production. Around that time, in 1947, the newly established American CIA got sight of the "Animal Farm" story and planned to make a film production as propaganda against Russia. Of course, the name of CIA remained hidden in anonymity but, due to the insistence in changing the script several times, the production of the film took 3 years starting 1951.
Apart from the CIA intentions, the film, even as an animation one, is really superb. The story is certainly stiff but, the images and music are splendid and transmit in understandable ways Orwell's original attraction. It relates a simple story of revolution, nevertheless, manifests vividly the strength and weaknesses of the farm animals, their nobleness and wiliness, joy and sadness, their hope and frustration. Within it, the dictator's twist of the revolution slogans is impressive. For instance: "No Animal shall sleep in a bed <with sheets>" "No Animal shall kill another Animal <without cause>" "All animals are equal <but some are more equal than others>"
These expressions selected by Orwell show his sharp satire. In the "Nineteen Eighty Four" film bringing together in a same sentence two contradictory expressions "doublespeak" as he names it, Orwell characterizes the systematic control of society. For instance, "War is Peace" "Freedom is Slavery" "Ignorance is Strength," etc. The recent "teigaku kyufukin" (fixed monetary benefit) of the Japanese goverment to be sent to all citizens, adding that wealthy people should not accept it, seems to fit such "doublespeak."
Finally, let me add a word of explanation regarding the timing of this film now. Mr. Miyazaki Hayao, a leading personality on Japanese animation, chairman of the Ghibli Museum that collects outstanding animation works from all over the world makes the following introduction. The Ghibli Museum is a distributor of the "Animal Farm" film. At the time this Bulletin is issued, the Film, most probably, is not any more shown in the theaters but the Ghibli Museum will be selling film DVD editions anybody can get.
"Celebrity is an expression for pig. These days, pigs are not fat anymore. They use to become slim by busily attending the gyms." (Miyazaki Hayao)

URL: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/animal/

[Shibata Yukinori, Jesuit Social Center, Tokyo]
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