Pussy Pumps Up

Title:
Pussy Pumps Up
NFSA ID:
383438
Year:
1979
Category:
Access fees

In Pussy Pumps Up, which can be viewed here in full, a feline female figure assumes more masculine characteristics. Summary by Dr Marian Quigley.

This metaphorical short film which has no dialogue relies upon 2D line drawing, minimal colour and the music of Chopin to playfully undercut the notion of passive femininity as well as the masculine pursuit of body building. The sensuality of the cat girl as she dances and rubs her body against the muscular Arnold Schwarzenegger-like figure is artfully echoed by the undulations of the animated line.

 

Pussy Pumps Up synopsis

This 2D animated film opens to musical accompaniment as a tiny cat-girl heroine descends from a rope, exhibiting sensuality, grace and coquettishness before metamorphosing into a muscular, powerful figure.

 

Pussy Pumps Up curator's notes

The winner of the AFI Award for Best Short Animation in 1980, Pussy Pumps Up is a traditional hand-drawn cel animation which reflects Antoinette Starkiewicz’s early training in drawing and painting at the former National Gallery School of Art in Melbourne (now VCA). The film employs a strong graphic style similar to that of Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), in which a black line delineates areas of flat colour.

An example of Starkiewicz’s early work, Pussy Pumps Up is also influenced by the French animator Émile Cohl (1857–1938) and the ‘madcap femininity’ of the original animations of Walt Disney’s Minnie Mouse. Her work is also inspired by music and dance (see also Pianoforte, 1984). In a wry exploration of women’s sexuality, the character Pussy demonstrates the play between the masculine and the feminine, the strong and the passive, the observer and the observed, as she metamorphoses between female, feline and male figures. As the film demonstrates, animation is a form ideally suited to render the process of metamorphosis.

Antoinette Starkiewicz is also a practising portrait painter, designer and fashion illustrator. She gained a Diploma of Animation at the London Film School in 1973 at a time when there were no animation courses in Australia. In 1997 she was awarded a Master of Arts in Digital Media at AFTRS.

Notes by Dr Marian Quigley

Producer:
Antoinette Starkiewicz
Director:
Antoinette Starkiewicz
Music:
Sharon Calcraft, Frederic Chopin, Alistair Jones
Acknowledgements:
Produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and Bruce Lannan