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Dance and film


Being open to inspiration
Jules Engel Film-maker
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It's a question of it just happened... you're… you're aware. And it eventually becomes... It's just part of you, it's just part of you and you… you have it, you have it. And if you want to use it, sure, you can use it. It's no problem, nobody will sue you or whatever. So you can, you can. But it's what's the total… what the total experience that you have, is what you take with you, you know, to your studio and to your thinking. Because you say, 'Yeah', to yourself, 'Yes, sure, I remember that in Petrushka, there was such and such a scene happened', you know? Okay, I can use that and put it right into this moment that I'm working on right now, you know? And there's nothing wrong with that. But I knew every dance scene, well anything that moved, that danced, I knew. And I went and I saw that. Not once, not twice, but as often as I could have afforded, you know? But at the same time it helped me with my thinking, my work, yeah. But it's very important. Course when you live in New York, that's something else. Because everything is there, everything is in front of you, it's all… the city gives you all that. Well, today in Los Angeles, it's a hell of a lot better because all those people now come to Los Angeles. This is now a place for them to come because the population and all that. But you have to see what the hell is out there and who's doing what and that takes more than just one trip. You have to do several trips to find out. Also, either you enjoy it or you don't enjoy it, you know? If you don't have a feel for it, then just leave it, drop it, don't push it. Don't do it. But it's not going to look good, it's not going to look right, because you're fighting it, you know? And you shouldn't fight it, it should just fly out of you. And eventually it will do that. Also, it's easier than talking to people, because you're just looking at somebody else who deals with movement, you know? And movement is important, it's part of us.

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Bill Moritz Tamara Tracz

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: Los Angeles

Duration: 2 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 29 September 2010