Hans Glasmann Achieves Magic in ‘Mischief’

June 22, 2014

Stop-trick technology makes for a fun, quirky film

mischief - a short documentary on magic and stop trick filmmaking technologyGeorges Méliès, known for the 1902 film A Trip to the Moon, was a Parisian illusionist and filmmaker who invented the “stop-trick” technique, in which filming stops, an object is slightly shifted or added and then the cameraman resumes filming.  It’s a pretty simple effect, but it was sheer magic to early 20th century French viewers and it remains enduringly entertaining today.

Hans Glasmann’s Mischief is all about stop-trick and stop-motion (the stop-trick of animation and Claymation) effects. Like Méliès, his film has classic humor and bouncy rag-time piano music.  The film stars, Clarissa Glasmann, a sorceress and artist who commands the objects surrounding her like characters in Henry Selick’s animated film CoralineWith the snap of her fingers, tacks pin art on the wall and with a simple hand gesture she summons blank pages from their stack.  Mischief is full-on quirky, from Clarissa’s black and white candy cane glasses to the paper-weapon showdown that plays out on her floor.

Although Clarissa is the master of her surroundings, she literally loses her head when a spider she’s drawn crawls off the page and onto her hand.   Upholding her sorcery, she pulls herself back together and seeks revenge on the little spider.  To achieve her vengeance, she must accomplish her greatest feat of wizardry yet – creating an authentic, living and breathing beast to set loose on the demonic spider.  To see how this mini-thriller ends, watch the film here.

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