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by Nana Swiczinsky

grade: 7

Bio-Graphics by Nana Swiczinsky is an unconventional autobiography that immediately fascinates us with its sometimes unusual shapes and colours. A love declaration to art as a faithful life companion.

Twenty years

Viennese director Nana Swiczinsky is undoubtedly one of the most important names in Austrian avant-garde and animation cinema. In the course of her career, in fact, she has never been afraid to deal with often delicate and controversial topics by means of animations that are both essential and sophisticated at the same time, in which a copious use of stop motion has often played the main role. If there is, however, one work that can be considered her most personal, it is undoubtedly the short film Bio-Graphics, made in 1992.

Why is Bio-Graphics so significant as far as Nana Swiczinsky’s filmography is concerned? Soon said. Through a collection of drawings she has made from the age of two up to her most recent works at the age of twenty-two (i.e. when this film was made), the artist has created a kind of lively and colourful ‘autobiography’, in which every single drawing contributes to a large fresco representing the life of a young artist who realised from an early age how important the art world was for her.

A frenetic montage shows us the numerous drawings one after the other, while a minimalist, well-paced music accompanies us during the screening. At first, the figures seem undefined, sometimes in colour, sometimes in black and white. The lively imagination of a little girl is ready to tell the world about her universe. Then, little by little, we see how things change: the drawings become more and more defined, the lines less uncertain, black and white often prevails over colour and, as we see all the works in succession, we can also notice a certain diversity of styles and approaches.

And so, in Bio-Graphics, in just four minutes, it is evident not only Nana Swiczinsky’s artistic journey, but also her growing interest in certain themes that would later make her famous through her drawings and films. Simple drawings, but also comic strips are the protagonists in this short film. The director has always been particularly interested in human figures. Figures who, from time to time speak out, who are not afraid to have their say, to express their dreams, their needs, their criticism of the world in which we live.

This is why Bio-Graphics is such an essential film (not only) within Swiczinsky’s filmography. A work that has made a minimalist approach its warhorse so that everything can reach us with maximum visual and communicative power. An unconventional autobiography that immediately fascinates us with its sometimes unusual shapes and colours, which, in turn, immediately come alive and pulsating on the movie screen. A love declaration to art as a faithful companion of life.

Original title: Bio-Graphics
Directed by: Nana Swiczinsky
Country/year: Austria / 1992
Running time: 4’
Genre: animation, experimental
Screenplay: Nana Swiczinsky
Cinematography: Nana Swiczinsky
Produced by: Nana Swiczinsky

Info: the page of Bio-Graphics on iMDb; the page of Bio-Graphics on the website of the sixpackfilm