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“The musical exhilaration and reverie of (Herman) Hesse’s early years were antipodal to what he was undergoing at school, which, until his fourteenth year, had for Hesse “the close atmosphere of a penal institution.” At twelve he was already clear in his own mind that he wanted “to become either a poet or nothing at all.” But this astonishingly early clarity of purpose was soon followed by the painful realization that, although there is a road, a school, a course of study by which one can become a teacher, a pastor, a physician, an artisan, a merchant, a postal official, and even a musician, a painter or an architect, there is no road, school, or course of study by which one becomes a poet. Out of the child’s question— whether his goal could be realized—grew criticism of the school’s authority. Leading to serious conflict, this precipitated the first real crisis in Hesse’s young life. The child had perceived lucidly the equivocal nature of a pedagogy—indeed, of the adult world in general—that because of its own mediocrity and lack of existential courage, allows greatness only as a distant idea in remote historical perspective.  It was the very same with the poet as with the hero and with all strong or beautiful, sanguine, and out-of-the-ordinary people and movements: If they lived in the past they were glorious and every schoolbook was full of their praises; but if they lived in the real world of the present day they were hated. Presumably the teachers were specifically trained and hired for the purpose of preventing as far as possible the growth of magnificent free men and the committing of great, splendid deeds. Thus the young Hesse soon saw nothing but abysses between him and his goal. Everything seemed devalued and uncertain. But he adhered stubbornly to his plan to become a poet. At thirteen the conflict began. Hesse’s conduct at school and at home left so much to be desired that he was sent “into exile” to the Latin school in Goppingen. His stay there lasted only a year.”—Franz Baumer, HERMAN HESSE.

As noted above the world prefers its heroes dead and buried safely in the past. In 1980 I read THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH for the first time.  Alfred Hitchcock said our first film should be a silent film. Intrigued by that thought I decided to tell the story of GILGAMESH as a silent animated film with no more on the screen at any one moment than what is necessary to tell the story. I want the text of the poem across the bottom of the screen like subtitles in a foreign film.

Not only that, I decided the film should be drawn the way a child when s/he first starts to draw draws.

For an example of what I am talking about look at Shamus Culhane’s MY DADDY, THE ASTRONAUT:–p5QtguFQA&feature=emb_logo .

Animation as a medium is one with a vast, barely tapped potential.

That potential has been hamstrung by the view of animated films solely as entertainment for children.

I’d like to see the medium grow up. In 1980 I brought legendary animation artist Grim Natwick to Toronto for the first time. Grim was the creator of Betty Boop and principal artist on the character of SNOW WHITE for Walt Disney:   .

We spoke of GILGAMESH. Grim grew excited. “You can do that in limited animation,” he said.

I would prefer to have GILGAMESH animated from start to finish by one animation artist.

Forget everything you think of when you think of animated films. If you can find a copy of Putting on the Ritz (1974, 4 mins) Directed by Antoinette Starkiewicz. She was 17 when she did that.

Take a look at Alexander Gellner’s ONE MINUTE PUBERTY:  , , .

The completed film will be presented with a live orchestra at top Broadway prices.

It will be sexually explicit. GILGAMESH made love to many, many women. The great love of his life was the forest giant Enkidu.

This ain’t a story for kids.

It’s time for animation to grow up. In fact, it’s way past that time.

After his first Toronto visit Grim and I became great friends. GILGAMESH will be dedicated to his memory.

For a copy of the complete poem contact me. It comes free with a donation towards this project.–Reg Hartt

Grim Natwick’s Century of Learning

This issue of FILM COMMENT changed completely my thinking on Hollywood Cartoons. Reading it I realized the vast potential of animation as an art form.

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