It took more than five years for the Russian animator Alexander Petrov to make his new film after winning the Oscar with The Old Man and the Sea (2000). My Love (Moya Lyubov) goes back to the tradition of psychological Russian literature after his Cow (Korova) by Andrei Platonov and The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (Son Smeshnogo Cheloveka) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This time the director uses a short story by Ivan Shmelev. The story about the first love of the sixteen-year-old boy Anton is brilliantly painted on glass. He is torn apart by his feelings for a pure and gentle girl and a femme fatale. Anton is not sure which one is the right one and his faltering steps mix up with the romantic craving for purity and heroism. Alexander Petrov shows in animated images even the slightest nuances of the adolescent’s emotional life. This subtle tracing of inner-world movements is extremely difficult to achieve in animation. Petrov’s characters breathe, they fall in love, and they have their doubts and sorrows in a way as if they were real persons. The artist draws his figures in a three-dimensional perspective so that the spectator could step into the shoes of the character and see life through his eyes. Petrov’s ability to explore the mystic sides of the human being’s inner life has become his trademark. On the whole, animation rarely is able to depict tangible emotions and turn to signs and symbols which only make suggestions to our imagination. This peculiarity is understandable as animation normally shows drawn images or puppets and not actors’ faces. Alexander Petrov manages to paint real-life emotion on the screen in his very unique contribution. […] —Nadezhda Marinchevsk, fipresci.org
Petrov was born in the village of Prechistoye (Yaroslavl Oblast) and lives in Yaroslavl. He studied art at VGIK (state institute of cinema and TV). He was a disciple of Yuriy Norshteyn at the Advanced School for screenwriters and directors (Moscow).
After making his first films in Russia, in Canada he adapted the novel The Old Man and the Sea, resulting in a 20-minute animated short — the first large-format animated film ever made. Technically impressive, the film is made entirely in pastel oil paintings on glass, a technique mastered by only a handful of animators in the world. By using his fingertips instead of a paintbrush on different glass sheets positioned on multiple levels, each covered with slow-drying oil paints, he was able to add depth to his paintings. After photographing each frame painted on the glass sheets, which was four times larger than the usual A4-sized canvas, he had to slightly modify the painting for the next frame and so on. It took Aleksandr Petrov… read more