Wizards 1977 PG
8.00PM Fri 16 Mar 2018
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
Wizards will screen from an imported 35mm film print.
Although not explicitly concerned with issues surrounding nuclear weapons, Wizards is a film heavily tinged with radiation. It is set in a world destroyed by atomic warfare, in which new societies have grown that are both figuratively and literally disfigured by the havoc of nuclear war.
The film is directed by legendary cult animator Ralph Bakshi, who mixes the sleaze and satire of his breakthrough Fritz the Cat 1972 with the rich understanding of the language of fantasy that he would put to use for the 1978 Lord of the Rings animated film. Indeed, its straight-laced fantasy title and PG classification belie a deeply sardonic and libidinous edge.
The overarching plot concerns the two titular, fraternal wizards - Blackwolf (mutated and malevolent) and Avatar (gentle yet gregarious) - who exist on opposite moral planes. When Blackwolf discovers new technology that brings unparalleled strength and resolve to his forces, his brother Avatar must intervene to save the fate of the planet.
While perhaps not a revolutionary plot framework, Wizards is daringly innovative in its form. It shrewdly combines traditional hand-drawn animation with rotoscoping, live action filming, and newsreel footage. Blackwolf's cruel army is fueled by Nazi propaganda material that is splayed across the sky by their infernal machinery, and they adopt the iconography of fascism as they storm across the land. The forces of good, in contrast, attune themselves not with technology but with with the power of nature and the planet that was so badly bombarded in the nuclear assault that begot the initial catastrophe.
Wizards is a peculiar and bewitching trip into the mind of a major figure of cinematic animation. The combination of a strangely insalubrious atmosphere, mixed with high fantasy, and forceful political commentary makes for a beguiling cult film experience.
35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 80 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: RALPH BAKSHI / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TED C. BEMILLER / EDITOR: DONALD W. ERNST / PRODUCTION CO: BAKSHI PRODUCTIONS, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX / PRINT SOURCE: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX / RIGHTS: PARK CIRCUS / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM