Prisney did this?
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 08/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allegro Non Troppo. The title is Italian for a musical instruction in classical music. Literally translated, it means "cheerful, not too much"The b&w live action segments, which take place in the beginning and inbetween animation, feature a young presenter, who tells us proudly, "This show is destined for immortality. Music interpreted in cartoons." He then says the movie is called Fantasia, only to get a phone call, at which he's clearly embarrassed. "They've say some guy already made this picture, a certain Crisney, Prisney, an American." Which he doesn't believe. The rough and brutal conductor has more the manner of the local butcher, and the orchestra, consisting of old women in their 60's through 80's, are fearful of him, as is the animator, a mild-mannered man with a balding but flowing haircut that makes him look more like an 18th century composer. His creations make the old ladies applaud, laugh, and cry. There's a funny segment involving a gorilla (don't ask) and him doing the Russian kalinka dance.The first is Claude Debussy's Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un faune, which traces the repeated attempts of an aging, pudgy satyr to have one of the beautiful, nude and nubile women for himself. Debussy did write this dreamy work harkening back to the idyllic paganism of Greece. I was surprised my parents let me see this when I was nine(!)Antonin Dvorak's Slavic Dance No. 7 tells the story of a man who moves from his cave-dwelling neighbours to live alone, only to have his actions imitated by the neighbours. Frustrated, he constructs a different house, only to be imitated by the mindless crowd. Their imitative actions give him an idea.The next two segments are stand head and shoulders above the others. Life evolved from a Coke bottle, one of the glass ones, not the plastic ones we have today. That is set to Ravel's Bolero. To which the presenter asks, "Who composed it?" From some bubbling liquid Coke, to an amoeboid creature to a reptile, and beyond, the animation also presents the march of life over the ages. The tempo of animation accelerates in tune with the music, where each instrument takes its turn playing the repeated 8-measure tune based on a Spanish dance. Dinosaurs, prehistoric birds, sea creatures, and even the ape, all walk across the volcanic landscape, and things really heat up when the strings kick in for the first time.The animation to Jean Sibelius's Valse Triste put a real tear in my eye, as it portrays a cat who climbs from a crawlspace under a large house, only to discover it is a bombed ruin. The cat's eyes glow when it remembers happier times, such as an old lady knitting in a sofa, a caged canary, when the house was full of life in general. The colourful scenes when the house is reconstructed in its glory days is a highlight. However, the cat is clearly distressed upon seeing the stark wreckage.A perky and funny bee's nice lunch in the meadow is constantly disrupted by an amorous human couple. The music is set to one of Antonio Vivaldi's concerti, which resembles the Spring segment of the Four Seasons.Set to Igor Stravinsky's "Fire Bird" is a revisionist retelling of the Creation, Adam and Eve, and the Serpent. Both Adam and Eve refuse the Apple, to which the Serpent himself eats it, and gets a nightmare flurry of images, a post-industrial hell, complete with horned demons and live footage of the night life. The image of the heart filled with money is a telling one.The attempt of an Igor-like behemoth to find a fitting finale from the files is actually pretty funny and warped.Bruno Bozetto's animation is in varied styles, be it the lovely hues of idyllic Greece or the collage of twisted images in the finale. The overall theme here is how the post-industrial society comes into conflict with the old ways, be it pre-war days, romance, and nature. I first saw part of this back in 1977, and 26 years later, have finally seen this parody of Fantasia in its entirety, and am glad because of it. A real one-of-a-kind."
Allegro Non Troppo - Shines!!!
E. Smith | Glen Burnie, md United States | 06/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many many years ago, I saw this film and I was absolutely transfixed. This film cannot helped be compared to Fantasia because they mention this themselves. But what sets this film apart is it's absolutely brilliant interpetations, in animated form, of these wonderful classical pieces that don't get as much attention as the ones Fantasia made popular amongst the general public. And there is one classical piece, above all, that was so brilliantly interpeted that it STILL stands out as one of the most moving pieces ever to be put on screen and that is the "Valse Triste" segment set to the music of Sibelius. Don't get me wrong, Disney's "clean" animation of Fantasia is a wonderful film, but none of it's segment moved me as much as Valse Triste. And I think it's free form, scruby, it's understated color use and none heavy handed animation fits BRILLIANTLY here. You don't feel you are watching an animation, you feel as you are watching a painter, with each stroke, visualize the musical note of this wonderful classical piece. You get to see the abandon cat go from fantasy, reality, fantasy, that you wish you could adopt the poor cartoon kitty. If you are a teacher of music, especially classical, get this film and show it to your students, if they are not moved, then nothing will moved them. This is the type of stuff that stays with you for YEARS and I guarantee you will be the better for it."
Brilliant animation, pretty good satire
E. Smith | 10/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's okay to like Fantasia and Allegro non troppo too. But they're not the same, which makes the satire of Disney so funny, especially after 20 years of massive Disney expansionism.Animating music, which is inherently abstract, is always a risk. However, if you aren't too worried about everything being pretty (like in Fantasia), this film will work for you. How can you tell? If you're still dry-eyed after watching the Sibelius Walse triste sequence, there's something wrong with you."
The Italian "Fantasia"
Michael Weber | 05/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie excels in combining art and classical music. It shows the "suffering artist" in chains and how he, his "domestic slave" girlfriend and the elderly female orchestra members are manipulated by powerful rich men. As the wife of an artist, I could really relate to this depiction. The artist overcomes the slave drivers by painting over his and his slave girl's black-and-white realistic images with colorful, cartoon caricatures and then flies away with her. In other words, he escapes the boundaries set for him by the "business world" and creates his own reality. This is a wonderful movie for anyone who feels strongly about classical music, art, and freedom. I first saw it at the Valley Art Theatre in Tempe, Arizona in the 1970s. I never forgot it and finally bought the video. See it. Its scenes and themes will haunt you for a lifetime. One previous reviewer made negative comments about the black-and-white connecting scenes with the inane human actors. They are there for a purpose. Like light and dark, this movie has opposites, too. Life is sometimes very ugly and painful, but seeing Creative Fantasy and Painful Reality arranged side-by-side sometimes helps us appreciate beauty and creativity all the more."