Giannalberto Bendazzi

giannalberto_bendazzi
Giannalberto Bendazzi, currently an indipendent scholar, is a former Visiting Professor of History of Animation at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a former professor at the Università degli Studi di Milano. Bendazzi started his career as a journalist and always was an independent, self-funded scholar. He turned to full-time academic teaching by the end of the 1990s and has lectured extensively in all continents. An Italian by birth, Bendazzi’s best efforts are devoted to international projects. An acclaimed author in his sphere, his best known book is Cartoons: 100 Years of Cinema Animation (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994), a world history of the medium published in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Persian. Bendazzi also wrote Alexeieff – Itinéraire d’un maître / Itinerary of a Master (Paris: Dreamland, 2001 in English and French), devoted to the famous auteur of avant-garde short films. Bendazzi‘s prolific written works include live-action cinema, especially comedy, as shown by his books The Films of Woody Allen (Fabbri, 1984) and Mel Brooks (Il Formichiere, 1977). His principal passion and dedication remain animation. In order to promote this medium Bendazzi writes books, retrospectives, articles, essays, contributes to and participates in festivals, delivers lectures, classes and so on. Giannalberto Bendazzi does not love animation as a collector loves his stamps or a fan loves his football team. He deeply admires this art that has always been underestimated, or even neglected, and therefore deserves a special praise.

UNIVERSITY APPOINTMENTS

Selected Publications

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Notice: citations from the website texts should be accompanied by hour, day, month, year of the visit, not by the date of the original publication. Actually, texts in the website may any time have underwent retouches and remakes, and do not refer philologically to the printed edition.

This section covers most of the books and booklets published by Giannalberto Bendazzi. Some are still available, some are out of print. The texts of the latter ones will be, little by little, uploaded here.

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Alexeieff

Animation: Alexandre Alexeieff

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Il_paradiso_puo'_attendere

Live Action: Situation Comedy

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brunobozzetto

Animation: Bruno Bozzetto

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linea-cavandoli

Animation: Osvaldo Cavandoli

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EPSON scanner image

Animation: Gianini & Luzzati

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Leontina

Animation: Leontina Indelli

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IT 2006
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Manuli

Animation: Guido Manuli

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Essays

Animation: Essays

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Woody-Allen-5

Live Action: Woody Allen

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Mel-Brooks-BW_no-credit

Live Action: Mel Brooks

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marilyn_monroe_bus_stop_1956

Live Action: American Film

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Totò

Live Action: Comedy

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FAQs

How did you get interested in animation?

I fell in love with film and its language when I was very young. I was curious and asked many questions to myself. What visual language could be more free than one that would provide images, without borrowing them from the real world? Also, if literature, music, painting counted story-less short forms (like respectively the sonnet, or the nocturne, or the miniature), why cinema shouldn’t? The result of my quest was the animated short film.

When does animation history begin?

Let’s focus on cinema animation without taking into consideration other forms and other media (for instance the fireworks):
I maintain that there is a difference between chronology and history: history is the combination of relevant facts, chronology of irrelevant facts.
Since the invention of the movie camera many movies used the special effect called frame by frame animation (objects that moved by themselves, expecially) but none of them created relevant things like an industry, an art, careers and so on. The film that did so was Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie (1908).
In my opinion the history of film animation starts with this title.

Did you ever make animated films?

I made some experiments in my twenties, and they were far from encouraging. Then I realised that writing animation history and criticism was creative and rewarding enough for me… I don’t mean economically rewarding.

What is your education?

I have an MA in law, but never was a lawyer. As an animation specialist, I had masters, not professors. People whom I admired, and whose example and opinions were meaningful to me. Alexandre Alexeieff, the artist who made A Night on Bald Mountain; Max Massimino-Garniér, the Italian screenwriter; Robert Edmonds, the Chicagoan film professor. And then books, books, books.

Is it true that you don’t like the research in the libraries?

No, it’s not true. As a scholar I did little research in the libraries only because few contracts, letters, newspapers witness the facts of such a neglected production. Primary sources were basically available only via field work. Therefore I chose the approach of the cultural anthropologists: I lived among animators, was on friendly terms with them, asked questions in confidence.

Your way of writing history was called “vasarian”. Do you feel that your relationship with animators has something in common with Giorgio Vasari’s familiarity with the Renaissance painters?

Giorgio Vasari was better than me – and Michelangelo, Raphael and the others were greater than my animators… Having said that, it is true that I mingled with animators from all over the world, interviewed them, visited them at home or in their studios, collected documents and information from their very hands. It’s research in life recording, it’s saving information before destruction. Some of those people became lifelong friends, like Bruno Bozzetto. Some were brothers/masters, like Alexandre Alexeieff. Most of them were warm acquaintances, people whom I admired for their integrity, intelligence, kindheartedness, generosity. When I go to an animation festival, I’m happy because I’ll be meeting some old friends, and I’ll be meeting some new friends as well!

 

Is it true that you don’t like Walt Disney?

Just the opposite: I adore Walt Disney. Without him we wouldn’t have animation at all. Without his experiments we would have a very poor visual and musical language of animation. But I am a film critic, and I must discuss Walt Disney the way I discuss (say) Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Warner, or Greta Garbo. About him, instead, there is kind of a religion: either you are a believer, or you are a renegade.

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