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World Festival of Animated Film /
short and feature edition 5 to 10 June 2017
World Festival of Animated Film / short and feature edition 5 to 10 June 2017
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ANIMAFEST PRO | ANIMAFEST SCANNER IIII - Symposium for Contemporary Animation Studies | PANEL 2: COMIC AND ANIMATION

Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts - From the Comic Strip to the Animation Series - Andrijana Ruzic - Freelance Researcher - Italy

6/06 TUE 15:50 - 16:20 Chilloutka, Ilica 15/1

American animator Bill Melendez (1916-2008) directed the first animated adaptation based on the characters of Charles M. Schulz’(1922-2000) comic book Peanuts. The first television special titled A Charlie Brown Christmas was released on CBS network on December 9th, 1965. Peanuts is the longest comic book in the history of the United States comic production: it was published regularly during a span of 50 years, designed solely and exclusively by Schulz himself. The animated version of Peanuts was a result of a collab­oration on a successful series of animated commercials made for Ford Motor Company, where Schulz and Melendez first met and became good friends. Federico Fellini once observed: "The world of comics could generously lend to cinema its settings, its characters, its stories, but not its most secret, ineffable suggestion: that of a steadiness, of immobility of butterflies pierced with a pin."

Inspired by Fellini’s words I intend to analyse in my presentation the process of adaptation of Peanuts from one medium (comic book) into another (animated film) by observing the structural characteristics of both media in question. The difficulties of transposing the wisdom of Schulz’s speech bubbles into 30-minute film narration, the almost non-existence of character animation in Melendez’s version of Peanuts, the soundtrack choice, the character voices: has this animated hybrid life of the Peanuts prompted the public to appreciate and understand better a life philosophy of its protagonists? Are the characters more convincing and incisive in a comic book or in a film version? Can the art of animation compensate/enrich further on the poetry out of a continuous daily sequences of a traditional comic book? The aim of my essay is to discuss on whether the art of Melendez (specifically the first two television specials released in 1965 and in 1966, both directed by Bill) betrayed or enriched the nature and the essence of Schulz’s comic books.

Andrijana Ružić (Belgrade, 1972) graduated in history and art criticism at the Università degli Studi in Milan, Italy. She specialized in the history of animated film under professor Giannalberto Bendazzi. The subject of her thesis was the opus of John and Faith Hubley. In the last five years she has been a curator of the program dedicated to animated film on the International Comics Festival in Belgrade. She lives in Milan, Italy where she continues to write about the films of independent animation authors.