'Alpha Omega' by Bruno Bozzetto (Classic Animation Frames)

'Alpha Omega' animation still by Bruno Bozzetto

Italian animation artist and cartoonist Bruno Bozzetto needs no introduction (but check his vibrant website). His Signor Rossi character (first instituted in 1960 with the short 'Un Oscar per il signor Rossi') has proven a trademark of Italian animation; his other works, like the rightly celebrated western feature parody 'West and Soda' (1965) cemented his reputation for years to come.

His 'Alpha Omega' (1961) short describes the life of a single person, from birth to death, after the starting and ending letters of the Greek alphabet. Cel animation and only the necessary figure lines are supplemented by the character inertia. The main character, oval-shaped, won't move away from the center of the frame. Things happen to him: education, religion, wedding and divorce, money, illness and death.

Bozzetto makes his character not always likeable -and therefore, whatever happens to him is more palatable to the audience as comedy. His character is stingy, looking for fortune, afraid of commitments - yet still hanging on to the center of the frame. 

Gags and tricks happen to him (mostly inside his head). In each turn and section, he needs to physically rewind himself -and go again to the next game level.

Jazz music (by Enjo Yannacci and Paolo Tomelieri)  is comically bombastic and provides the energy that sustains the 8-minute, almost meditative short. It is one of those films that you know the ending, but you engage yourself in the process -and try to outsmart its creator.

'Alpha Omega' won the International Critics' Award at the second, 1962 Annecy Festival.  You can watch an unauthorized version here.

Vassilis Kroustallis 

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