Update: The japanese DVD "On The Flipside"
So I found out there is a DVD in japan called “On The Flipside” that contains 12 of the shortfilms from this series. I bought it for around 60 € which was the cheapest offer compared to others that are in the three figures! What prices they ask for for stuff that is out of print! The DVD was released in 2005 has japanese subtitles but comes with the original french sound. The picture and sound is okay certainly better than my 30 year old recorded form TV tape!
L’escalier chimérique (Daniel Guyonnet, 1988)
A figure wakes up at night and finds strange noises and flashing lights on the staircase. Before he knows the ever changing stairs cause him much trouble. This film like many others plays out like a short nightmare sequence with possible inspiration by M.C. Escher in the surreal depictions of the staircase. This short won a Cesar award for best animated short film!
Lucie s’est échappée (Nicole Dufour,1987)
A young woman is dreaming of being in a jungle like enviornment similar to the dream images of Henri Rousseau. She wakes up in a desolate suburb home, meets a pilot and flys away. A brief excerpt of Rising Thermal by Brian Eno and Jon Hassel from their album Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics plays at one point.
This film is the only letterboxed format on the DVD but it also happens to be the only one I had never seen before so this felt really special to me. Very beautiful visuals done by what looks like a one time animator who is a fine artist otherwise it seems. Very interesting!
Zoo (Daniel Guyonnet, 1988)
A figure is building a tiny homunculus that goes on a journey through strange isolated chambers. Animal sounds are constantly playing in the background, which I presume is reason for the title. At one point the little figure watches a movie projection with animals with speech in many different languages in the background. We also see strange electrical devices. At the end the whole thing seems to start over.
Mendrol (François Bruel, 1987)
This short is dedicated to short film pioneer Louis Feuillade who did movie serials in the early 1900nds of Fantomas and Les Vampires both about criminals like this piece. Mendrol is a super criminal and master of disguise. There is are people on his pursuit who try to infiltrate his going but end up unsuccessful. At one point we can see the castle of Ernest The Vampire in the background! The music sounds like a farfisa organ or something like that and the whole thing is designed like an old silent film with intertitles and such.
Transfiguration (Daniel Guyonnet, 1988)
A figure tries on several heads, that transform in different ways and in the end hangs a picture of the favourite result on the wall.
La Brouette (Franz Wintzentsen & Ursula Wintzentsen, 1988)
A teacher punishes a boy that won´t submit in class by transforming him into a wheelbarrow. Regretting her decision she finds out he just won´t turn back again she ask several people for help until his father finds the ultimate solution. Pull out his belt and threaten with violence! At a busstop the boy finds another kid that was turned into a wheelbarrow and muses about teachers uncreative punishments that they can think of nothing better than turn them into wheelbarrows. They´d both rather by fighter jets they say and in the end it is implied that they simply transformed into two of them. The story is said to be based on a short story by a Richard Parker.
Pépère et mémère (Frédéric Vitali, 1986)
Grandma and Grandpa sit at the window eating soup, oblivious of the monsters outside their window, but when suddenly Grandma is spooked it turns out all it took for that was a tiny little spider. They continue eating ignoring the monsters outside the window.
La montagne du loup (Henri Heidsieck, 1986)
A shepard whose herd won´t move one season goes on a journey with a help of a bell that has strange symbols inscribed on it. He enters a cave with an entrance shaped like a wolf where he meets a half sheep half human creature inside. Next he ends up on a beach with several people relaxing in the sun and after a flood he ends up home again and his sheep follow him the next year. This is very densly atmospheric and full of cryptic symbolism I cannot deceipher still to this day. Very fascinating!
Le miracle égyptien (Frédéric Vitali, 1987)
Bored tourists enter the pyramids listening to the guide, chewing gum etc. When they leave the drawings on the walls come alive and pick up a coin one of the tourists has dropped. They put it into the sarcophagus and the mummy puts on a brief dance show.
Coup de théâtre (José Xavier, 1988)
Two figures perform a clownesque show, using all different methods of transformation and fooling around with each other before making their final bows.
Pierre et son oie (José Xavier, 1988)
Pierre is a farmer whose parents have died. One day a goose offers him to make his wishes come true if he smashes her eggs. He gets one wish per egg and wants to become a bird, a soldier, a rich man, a king, living on a lonely island and a pig that doesn´t have to worry about things. All theses wishes have downsides and when the final egg hatches a new fairy goose turns him into everything he previously wished for at once and the runs away. This story is based on a short by Alexandre Dumas.
Marché noir (Claude Luyet, 1977)
A man goes down a shopping street and imagines his head on a suit in a shopping window. He goes inside the tailorshop and leaves with the suit on but headless while his head remains on the suit in the shopping window.
So that´s it. Unfortunatly it is still missing a few of the best like the stuff directed by Laloux himself or the fantastic Fracture. But it´s great to finally have something offical, a replacement for my old VHS and especially the one short I haven´t seen back then.
I doubt I will find out anything more about this in the future, but I´m really glad I found this DVD, these films will always remain special to me and it´s too bad not more people can see them.
Well that´s this so far, what a journey!