photo manipulation by nacrowe
legendary FRENCH illustrator JEAN GIRAUD, a.k.a MOEBIUS, is universally renowned for his singular mind-bending, often metaphysical visual work that has resulted in iconic work in BLUEBERRY, HEAVY METAL, ARZACH and THE INCAL as well as set/production design for HOLLYWOOD films such as ALIEN (BRANDYWINE, 1979), TRON (DISNEY, 1982) and THE FIFTH ELEMENT (GAUMONT, 1997). MOEBIUS REDUX: A LIFE IN PICTURES (ARTE, 2007) was filmed a few years before his passing and includes interviews with notable past collaborators such as ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY, DAN O'BANNON, STAN LEE, H.R. GIGER and PHILIPPE DRUILLET as well as acolytes such as MIKE MIGNOLA and JIM LEE.
i feel a bit under-equipped using only words in an absolutely vain attempt to describe the sublime work of MOEBIUS, which often depicts figures dominated by their landscape, whether impossibly dense or oppressively empty. his visuals have a metaphysical element that seamlessly invites the viewer to imagine themselves as being an active participant in the narrative. the scale and scope as well as the attention-to-detail is unlike anything ive witnessed reading GRAPHIC NOVELS in the past. its a singular experience.
i think what made this documentary interesting was how it presented this industry giant as a soft-spoken recluse, even amidst the recollections of his celebrated, and arguably more famous, past collaborators. this is said to be rooted in his youth, where he drew feverishly alone as his mother was often away working as a single parent. this solitary work he pursued was a behavior that MOEBIUS fully admits resulted in the hurt feelings among friends and family over a lifetime. it makes you think of the time spent away by past WRITERS, ARTISTS and POETS alike.
obviously this documentary is well worth investigating if you have any interest in GRAPHIC NOVELS or TRANSGRESSIVE ART in general. i think it is also worth your time if you are interested in the nature of genius and the art of collaboration. it is an interesting dynamic that MOEBIUS' most celebrated work are those projects for which he collaborated so effectively at, given his solitary nature.
should also mention that the evocative score for this film was composed by KARL BARTOS of KRAFTWERK.
art by nacrowe
to start off with, his films are odd.
and not odd in a manufactured "LADY GAGA wearing a meat dress" kind of way. odd in the sense that his films seem to be a coded expression of deeper moral truths through allegories and narratives that are unfamiliar to me, much like someone studying the indus river valley civilization is at a loss to correlate any meaning out of being left archeological clues with no wider context to deduct meaning.
his films utilize symbols, historical figures and rituals familiar to western judeo-christian belief systems but the context is buried.
and maybe that is the point.
when i think about the surrealist early work of LUIS BUNUEL or the expressionistic work of KENNETH ANGER, i can see coded use of images as a way to 1) sneak-diss the conservative, catholic bourgeoisie society of 1930s spain (BUNUEL) and 2) express one's sexuality in a manner that can slip past censors of 1950s america (ANGER). what i am saying is that the other obvious examples directors involved in the game JODOROWSKY is playing can be viewed in context to their era and surroundings. not the case here.
in HOLY MOUNTAIN there is much screen time given to the idea of alchemy. that out of disparate parts, a new distinctive element can be forged. maybe the idea of meaning is forged from imperfect understandings, and our rituals and symbols are inherently meaningless without the artist's ability to provide context.
or maybe i am still confused by JODOROWSKY, which is probably why i have re-watched his films since college more than a decade ago.