This evening I had the great pleasure of watching celebrated filmmaker Bruno Bruzzetto present one of his feature films, Allegro, for ASIFA-EAST’s first event of the fall. The film, inspired by Disney’s Fantasia, takes place in an Italian Opera house, where a crazed conductor, a Liberace-like narrator, an abused animator, a young cleaning woman and an orchestra made up of geriatric women converge to create beautiful music and animation. Much like Fantasia, the movie cuts from comedic scenes in the real world to animated sequences set to such classics as Ravel’s Bolero and Ivan Stravinsky’s Firebird.

It was quite different than what I expected. Fantasia contains better stories, and some of the comedic parts of Allegro did not provide enough oomph. However, while not as whimisical as the Disney version upon which it is based, the animation of Allegro was quite good, particularly the character’s expressions. My favorite scene, set to Bolero, chronicled the evolution of various prehistoric creatures who emerged from a primordial sea of (get this) Coca Cola and marching in time to the music. Very original indeed.

The best part though was meeting Mr. Bruzzetto in person. I met him yesterday at a rooftop party in the city, and found him to be most agreeable and kind. He remembered me today, and we discussed some of the technical aspects, such as how clean and clear everything appears on DVD as opposed to film, (keep in mind dear readers, that this film is over 30 years old).

I wish you well Bruno, on your journey to the Ottawa Festival. Hopefully one day we shall meet again!

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