CRAC!

Fact sheet

Animated film without words

Production year: 1981

Running time: 15 minutes

Production time: 22 months (March 1979 to February 1981)

Assistant: Lise-Hélène Larin (11 weeks)

Number of drawings: 7,

Technique: Prismacolor® pencil and pastel on frosted cels

Always pressed for time in the fast-paced television environment, Frédéric Back focused his energies on the film's moving elements. The backgrounds were only roughly sketched in to give a sense of the place or ambiance in which the action unfolds. "In animated film, it's the action that draws the viewer's attention. The rest is secondary," explains the filmmaker. The use of coloured pencil on frosted cels turned out to be a practical solution, since the drawing and colouring could be done simultaneously. The fact that some of the elements did not need to be drawn in detail considerably lightened Back's workload as well. The transparency of the cels allowed him to superimpose multiple layers of 'action' over an unchanging background-a technique that affords a wide range of creative possibilities, like mixing pencil drawings with pastel or even painting on the smooth side of the cel.

Crac! has relatively few drawings for a film of its length. This is due in part to the repetitive actions in several sequences (for instance, the dance and rocking scenes), which allowed the same drawings to be re-used with only slight modifications.

The theme song from the famous Quebec soap opera Les belles histoires des pays d'en haut (adapted from Glazunov's The Seasons) was completely redone on a synthesizer by Denis Chartrand, who successively mimicked the different tones.

Unfortunately, just before he was about to head off to Los Angeles, where his film All Nothing was in the running for an Oscar®, Frédéric Back had an accident: while he was applying a coat of fixative to a Crac! drawing, the fumes got into his right eye. He went to Hollywood all the same, but his eye would never recover.

Credits

Script and animation: Frédéric Back

Original music and sound design: Normand Roger

In cooperation with: Le rêve du diable and Denis Chartrand

Camera: Claude Lapierre, Jean Robillard

Editing: Jacques Leroux

Sound: André J. Riopel

Sound effects: Gilles Paré

Final mix: Michel Descombes

Producer: Hubert Tison

Director: Frédéric Back

Produced by Radio-Canada, 1981