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Saturday Morning Cartoons

Saturday 14 April 2012

The Animation Shorts block (not the same set of films as Family Shorts) was pretty good this year. Out of ten films, five were in competition and five weren’t; something about not putting foreign films, or films already awarded a major award (like an Oscar).

What we saw:

38-39°C: Apparently, this is the story of a dream induced by steam, about a man and his father, and unresolved issues around a birthmark. The animation was really interesting, a mix of cut-outs (or so seeming) and drawn work. The story was a bit hard to pick out.

A Morning Stroll (not in competition): Why did the chicken walk down the sidewalk? What is hiding behind that rather ordinary door? A really good mix of drawn media with a hilarious twist, especially if one is a fan of new and old films. Definitely recommended.

Abuelas (not in competition): Abuelas means “Grandmothers”; this is a narrative in live animation (a mixed media of video, live stop-motion, and drawn images) that tells the story of the Grandmothers movement in Argentina about The Disappeared during the 1970s and 1980s military rule there, and their more recent attempts to identify the children of their own “disappeared” children. A moving story, but the animation didn’t add much to it. Worth seeing if only for the history lesson.

Avocados: Some things are universal in urban life; meeting strangers (okay, weirdos on the subway is one of them. The animation really shows the dedication of the filmmaker, as each frame is essentially a separate watercolor painting.

Belly (not in competition): The story of forced growth in personality, demanded by circumstance rather than choice. It’s a weird, fantastical world, sort of like Yellow Submarine. The story is sad, but not complex. Emotional.

Luminaris (not in competition): Live-action stop motion, which means getting real people in real clothes to move very, very precisely. Doing this outdoors (as some scenes were) and getting the lighting and other factors right is the work of an insane genius. Oh, and that’s sort of what the film is about, so it all ties together well. Highly recommended; very much my favorite of this block.

My Daily Routine: Stuck in a rut? Probably not as bad as this poor sod, who is a total slave to his work and gadgets (no comments!) It’s not that it makes me rethink my own life in any specific way, but definitely worth a look if you are reading this online (what, you printed it out?)

Song of the Spindle: Can we learn about ourselves from whales? Would song really save civilization? A little heavy-handed on the message, and drawing that’s fine, but breaks no new ground. An okay film, but if you miss it, you won’t rue the day.

The Maker (not in competition): A fantastical stop-motion puppetry film about trying to create–with a deadline. Bits of Romeo and Juliet, notes of Ladyhawke. Definitely worth a look.

The Windmill Farmer: A growth-death-rebirth film with an eco-energy twist. If only windmills really grew from seeds…

It’s a good block, but if you can’t make it, many of these can be found online.

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