Watch This: конфликт (Conflict) + Just War

on Wednesday, May. 23rd

WATCH THIS is a weekly column which highlights films and filmmakers from around the W

If you ever need proof that the Internet can be a great place for collaboration, the story of Torrey Meeks and Garry Bardin might be a good place to point. This week’s video is a 2009 remix by Meeks of Bardin’s 1983 animated film, “Konflikt (конфликт)” titled “Just War.” It mashes up the anti-war film with the song of the same title from the collaborative album, “Dark Night of the Soul” by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, featuring Gruff Rhys.

Though the work is three years old, Meeks uploaded a higher quality version last week, which first come to my attention over at The Daily Dot. How did he get a higher quality version of the film? After completing his first cut with a low resolution version of the film he found on YouTube, Meeks contacted Bardin seeking approval for the mashup. The filmmaker was “delighted” that his work was finding a new home and the he and Meeks stayed in touch.

Oh, and then Bardin sent his films to Meeks so he could remaster them and share them on the web. From Meeks’ blog:

After getting in touch with Garry Bardin, who created the Conflict animation I recently reinvented as a music video for the Just War – feat Gruff Rhys track, I realized there was no central location where his films could be viewed online.

I discussed the situation with him over email and offered to resize, color correct, and upload all his films for hi-def viewing on YouTube — provided he was able to get me high quality copies of his animations.

21 of Bardin’s films are now available on YouTube, including the original “Konflikt,” thanks to Meeks, and all because he had the gumption to seek out Bardin’s blessing on his mashup project.

As to “Just War” itself, it’s a beautiful pairing of two works of art that explore the same idea: that in war, there are no winners. Often mashups grow out of arbitrary elements, films that might look good no matter what is played with them. Or songs so universal that anything put to them sounds as if it “fits.” (I’m looking at you, Coldplay.) In this case it feels less trite, as if the song does, in fact, belong alongside these visuals.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the film’s backstory, and what it represents, is what attracts me to it most. Torrey Meeks liked Garry Bardin’s film, and it gave him a creative spark. By acting on it, and by being open with the filmmaker about his intentions, a great collaboration and really restoration took place. And all of us, as viewers, can benefit from it.

Jonathan Poritsky is a film critic and journalist based out of New York City. He is the founder of the candler blog, a film theory and criticism (and other stuff) site, as well as the Arts Editor of Heeb Magazine. Don’t ask him what his favorite film is; it’ll take too long to answer and he’ll say “um” a lot.

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