Review of “Ride Into the Abyss” (1992)

Moving picture, 5 minutes

Georges Schwizgebel (writer-director).

In addition to earlier versions, I saw a 2015 restoration to 4K at GIFF 2017.

The title comes from a part of Hector Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust on the soundtrack. I asked Schwizgebel about this film in a Q&A session at GIFF 2017. He clarified that it’s 144 acrylic paintings in a 12-second loop, hence all on twos. Each painting is a grid of 6 × 6 smaller paintings; the inward spiral panning of the camera presents these so as to give the impression of Schwizgebel’s usual technique of acrylic on linear celluloid while actually being much more complicated. The animator offered no personal interpretation of this trick. I absolutely love it. It’s just so damned clever, and a technical triumph.

moving picture animation fiction