Starewicz Survey of Critical Response
Ladislas Starewicz is often referred to as the father of animation by his fans. Eric Schneider wrote an article entitled "Entomology and Animation: A Portrait of An Early Master Ladislaw Starewicz" in which he praises the late animator and his work. While speaking about his work The Dragonfly and the Ant, Schneider raves about how the work was so beloved by the Tsar, among other people. "The saddest tales are always the most poignant, because it is in sadness that we learn our hardest lessons. Starewicz makes this point clearly and elegantly, illustrating his sharp observation of behavior. His insects' nimble gestures lead one through an array of human emotions, and to a heightened sense of sympathy and forgiveness. This may be why his insects and animals are so easy to relate to, and why they are so notably Eastern European" (Schneider, p.2. ). This is perhaps why Starewicz won awards for his work. His animated characters gained so much sympathy and praise for being human. Starewicz puts human emotion to work through his characters.
Schneider also praises how Starewicz leaves his films open for interpretation. There are undertones of politics but for the most part his films stay light, airy, and have a subjective sort of symbolism that everyone can take something different away from. Even if the subject matter was dark, Starewicz would find some way to enlighten it and bring some kind of learning situation to it. "Starewicz brought to his work a balance of life's complexities. He understood that good and bad walk hand in hand, and not without subtlety. If one film portrayed darkness, another must deliver light. No matter the subject, he could provide equilibrium between the reality of harsh situations, and the delight of carefree moments" (Schneider, p. 3). That being said, there is not much depth to Starewicz's films, choosing to replace a deeper meaning for a context that children could understand. His films have influenced modern day animation tremendously, from the more recent James and the Giant Peach, to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and, according to Schneider, Toy Story (Schneider, p. 5).
Schneider, Eric. (2000, May). Entomology and animation: a portrait of an early master Ladislaw Starewicz. Retrieved from http://www.awn.com/mag/issue5.02/5.02pages/schneiderstarewicz.php3
--Kristina Mahar, 2010.