Review: ‘Blinky & Me’

Best suited to Jewish circuit play and ancillary, the biopic is receiving a week of matinees at Laemmle's Pasadena Playhouse.

The remarkable life of pioneering animator Yoram Gross receives pedestrian treatment in indie docu “Blinky & Me,” shot in Australia and Poland. Unfortunately, Polish-American helmer Tomasz Magierski focuses too much on Gross’ grandchildren, encouraging their awkward recounting of his history. This cloying approach detracts from the titular “Me,” a charismatic artist of talent and fortitude, and a born storyteller. Best suited to Jewish circuit play and ancillary, the biopic is receiving a week of matinees at Laemmle’s Pasadena Playhouse.

Born in 1926 in Krakow, to a Jewish family, Gross survived the Nazi occupation with the help of false papers declaring him a Christian, as well as his musical skills and daring. After training in the postwar Polish film industry, he immigrated to Israel in 1950, where he created prize-winning puppet animation “Joseph the Dreamer” (1961). In 1968, he settled in Australia to keep his young family from war. He maintains he references his early life in his films, including the popular series “Blinky Bill,” about an anthropomorphic koala. Magierski makes effective use of archival photos and footage, including clips from Gross’ work. Sentimental score is by the animator’s son, Guy.

Blinky & Me

Poland-U.S.

Production

A Kalejdoskop Film, Smoking Mirror Prods. production. (International sales: Smoking Mirror Prods., New York.) Produced by Janusz Skalkowski. Directed, edited by Tomasz Magierski.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DV), Andrzej Adamczak, Magierski, Leslaw Skuza; music, Guy Gross; sound, Jerzy Murawski, Jacek Stepinksi; animation, Pawel Pawlicki. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Sept. 1, 2012. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Yoram Gross, Nakisha Jamieson, Sabine Jamieson, Matthew Jamieson, Sophie Gross, Sacha Gross, Oscar Gross, Marek Kuczynski, Anna Sadurska. Narrator: Paul Savior. (English, Polish dialogue)
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