Ion Popescu-Gopo (May 1, 1923 – November 28, 1989) was a Romanian graphic artist and animator, but also writer, movie director and actor born in Bucharest, Romania. He was a prominent personality in the Romanian cinematography and the founder of the modern Romanian cartoon school. He was, together with Liviu Ciulei and Mirel Ilieşiu one of the few Romanian film artists who won an award at Cannes in the 20th century. His film “Scurtă Istorie” (A Brief History) won the Short Film Palme d’Or for best short film in 1957.
Ion Popescu-Gopo attended (but never graduated from) the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest. He also attended animation courses in Moscow.
His career started as a designer and cartoonist in 1939, publishing caricatures and editorial cartoons in newspapers. 1949 brought his debut in the film industry with “Punguţa cu doi bani” (Bag with two coins). Since 1950 he started working for Studioul Cinematografic Bucureşti (Cinematographic Studio Bucharest) in the animation… read more
In this bizarre and surreal take on the Cold War spy thriller, Romanian animator Ion Popescu-Gopo turned the genre on its head and created something of a cross between James Bond and Buster Keaton. An everyman finds himself caught up in a fight between the police and the gangsters over a stolen atomic bomb when he unknowingly acquires the suitcase containing the all-powerful weapon. A Bomb Was Stolen is one of the most creative movies and delightful movies I have seen recently. Popescu created a world that is something of a mash-up of American culture from the 20s-60s. Gangsters run around in pinstripe suits while soldiers are outfitted with protective suits boasting buckets as helmets. It reaches the height of ridiculous absurdity. But what stands out most is that this is really a sweet movie. It is satirical, but not malicious. Dark in tone at times, but always filled with slapstick comedy, like a Looney Tunes cartoon brought to life. I love the modernist designs of the buildings, the neon lights, the somewhat utopian tone, the Kafkaesque elements, the naive hero and his true love, the dance sequences, it bursts with life. That a movie like this was made in Communist Romania is almost amazing in itself with all of its dreams of human freedom and the anti-bureaucratic message. In the age of drone strikes and omnipotent weaponry, A Bomb Was Stolen plays out like it was intended to be a message from the past transmitted to the future.
A quirky and visionary movie about the Atomic Bomb. Surreal animation, slapstick humor, gangster tomfoolery, bureaucratic satire, buff idiosyncracies, futuristic design, new wave modernist aesthetics, spontaneous blend of utopian and human naïveness, and avant-garde touch. It echoes in retrospection as a combination between Ed Wood Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick and Aki Kaurismäki. Mr. Ion Popescu-Gopo was a quixotic child creator who was at heart a misfit and an outsider.