Marco Bellano (Italy)
A Reason for Extinction. An Ecocritical Reading of Animated Dinosaurs
Giannalberto Bendazzi’s approach to animation history rested on a remarkable interdisciplinary competence. Throughout the three volumes of Animation – A World History, many are the detailed focuses on the other arts participating in the meaning and purpose of animated works, like music, illustration, and dance. However, it is maybe less known that prof. Bendazzi was also an advanced connoisseur of a science like palaeontology. He was keenly interested in prehistoric creatures, and especially dinosaurs; on this specific topic, he kept himself updated about the state-of-the-art of the research by studying quality works of science outreach, like The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World (2018), by Steve Brusatte. Such interest is not out of place, in the culture of an animation scholar; the re-animation of dinosaurs has been a favourite theme of this art since the pioneering times of Winsor McCay and Willis O’Brien. In homage to this side of Bendazzi’s legacy, the proposed talk will inquire the interdisciplinary connection between the history of animation and dinosaurs from an ecocritical point of view. More specifically, the talk will argue about the presence of an ecological subtext, resonating with debates on the preservation of contemporary wildlife, in animated works about the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs (as opposed to the avian dinosaurs, which are the birds). The talk will consider films like Fantasia (Disney Studios, 1940), Allegro non troppo (Bruno Bozzetto, 1976), The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988), Dinosaur (Ralph Zondag, Eric Leighton, 2000) and The Good Dinosaur (Peter Sohn, 2015). In the area of audiovisual science outreach, the focus will stay on the series Walking with Dinosaurs (BBC, 1999), and Il pianeta dei dinosauri (RAI, 1993), by Piero and Alberto Angela. As for interactive animation, the research will consider science-informed video games like Jurassic World Alive (Ludia, 2018), Jurassic World Evolution (Frontier Developments, 2018) and Saurian (Urvogel Games, 2017).
Marco Bellano, PhD, is research fellow and adjunct professor in the History of Animation and in Digital and Interactive Multimedia at the University of Padova. In 2018, he received the National Scientific Qualification for Academic Staff as associate professor in the 10/C1 area (theatre, music, cinema, television and audiovisual media). He formerly taught at the Boston University Study Abroad Padua, at the University of Salamanca (Spain) and at the Conservatory of Ferrara. He is author of articles, book chapters and monographs about animation and film music (Václav Trojan. Music Composition in Czech Animated Films, 2019; Allegro non troppo. Bruno Bozzetto’s Animated Music, 2021; 24 fotogrammi per una storia dell’animazione, 2021). In 2020, he wrote a chapter of the Wiley Companion to Federico Fellini, on the drawings of the director. In 2014, he received the Norman McLaren-Evelyn Lambart Award for the Best Scholarly Article from the SAS-Society for Animation Studies. He organised and chaired international conferences on animation, such as the 29th SAS annual conference (2017). He is in the scientific board of the Mutual Images Journal and Cabiria – Studi di cinema. He is also a graduate pianist and conductor; he collaborates to the educational programs and concerts of the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française (Venice, Italy).