Tango is an almost hypnotically complex work that requires several viewings to grasp completely. It is comprised of a single static shot of a simple room with wood floors, blue patterned wallpaper, and four points of entry: three doors and an open window. And is animated as a collage of live action film clips. Zbigniew Rybczynski had to draw and paint about 16,000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. His use to re-photographs film lends this film its washed-out, jittery quality, and accounts for the wonderful skips and bumps that give Tango its texture. —Mellart
Zbigniew Rybczynski (Rib-chin-ski) was born on January 27, 1949, in Lodz, Poland, but was raised in Warsaw, where he attended an arts high school and was trained as a painter. He went on to study cinematography at the world-renowned Lodz Film School, where he began experimenting with the film medium. His first projects were Kwadrat (1972) and “Take Five” (1972). Along with his other works, they broke new ground in the use of pixelation, optical printing, animation and other compositional film devices. “Zbig”, as he’s known, was active in the avant-garde group Warsztat Formy Filmowej and he cooperated with Se-Ma-For Studios in Lodz, where his art movies were shot, including Plamuz (1973), Zupa (1975), Nowa ksiazka (1976) and Tango (1981). At the same time he worked as a cinematographer on several feature films, including shorts by ‘Andrzej Baranski’, Piotr Andrejew and the acclaimed Tanczacy jastrzab (1978) by ‘Grzegorz Krolikiewicz’.
Between 1977 and 1983 Rybczynski worked in… read more