Friday, 12 November 2010

LEEDS FILM FEST: World Animation Shorts

This is a selection of the World Animated shorts that I managed to see – I wasn’t actually working the second part of the showcase but I managed to sneak into the screen anyway and caught a couple at the end! Luckily, the last one I managed to catch turned out to be the best of the lot, and one of the cleverest inventive shorts I have ever seen.

Crocodile: I really liked this one! It was very odd, but an accessible odd, with some very funny moments and a lead protagonist who was very sympathetic and likeable, and therefore it’s quite sad at the end when the girl he falls for turns out to be a harbouring a crocodile and he has to leave her. Plus her finger did fall off on the bus… no, he’s better off without her.

Old Fangs: bit ‘out there’ for me, but I did like the look of the whole thing, and the way the characters had been drawn. A shame the story reeked of adolescent melodrama and nothing else. A wolf should know better.

Pigeon Impossible: This went down really well in the audience, but I’m not sure how purist animation fans will see it. It was almost like watching one of the Pixar short films you get before the feature film (FYI – Partly Cloudy is the best. My face was soaked with tears after that one – not good to watch just before the opening of Up either: the floodworks are off again!). But it was actually very enjoyable and funny – the pigeon was awesome – I loved the way it flitted between being a dumb greedy bird to suddenly having a lot of menace behind the eyes. And then setting off a torpedo. Damn they’re a nuisance.

There Are Spirits: boring. Next!

The Astronomer’s Sun: oh this one made me cry. It was really beautiful – an astronomer turning himself into a comet so he can speed the skies with his wife, whom he believes transformed into that form upon her death. But what makes it so sad is the other part of the family, the lil teddy bear, is left behind on Earth staring at a picture of all three of them together. IT’S JUST SO SAD!

Barking Island: This was quite hard to watch being a dog lover, but another film which had been conceived and drawn very well – really interesting bleeding of colours and brush strokes. But a very sad story, sob.

The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Lion: ahhh. This split a lot of people down the middle. It’s actually a very sweet tale of a deaf boy who finds a kindred spirit in a lion, and becomes obsessed with wanting to look, sound, act and live like the animal. When he decides to run away from his house and break into the zoo at night to see the lion, the short could have gone either way: become a happy fantasy where the lion takes the boy in as his own and they live together in harmony, or, the lion could have done what it does naturally – attack innocent prey that come poking about. I won’t spoil the ending as I think this short still has a long way to go in terms of distribution, but I liked the ending. I thought it was a very satisfying and memorable short.

Lipsett Diaries: If you don’t know who Lipsett is you’re going to be bored silly. I was bored silly.

Umbra: this was a bit of a weird one, but hypnotic to watch the movements of these strange creatures. Not a lot to it, though.

Love and Theft: Strangely this was voted the best out of the first selection when I didn’t think there was anything special or engaging about it at all – just clever trickery showing image after image blending into one another with an aptly riff heavy soundtrack. Yes, I suppose it’s closer to the truer form of animation but without a story I’m not one to care about these things.

Love Potato: part of the second selection (when I snuck in), I only saw the ending of this, but that was enough to draw me in. Why when the man cuts a potato does his own skin bleed? Why do the potatoes start throwing themselves at the woman driving a car so she crashes and dies? What’s up with these crazy potatoes? Sadly I’ll never know.

Red End and the Seemingly Symbiotic Society: this reminded me of Umbra in that it was also hypnotic to watch. A factory of spiders who all have their own little job to do along the conveyer belt process. Making locusts it seems, who then go out to feed on the world, and then die, and the world is lush and green again. A cycle of a form of life… or something like that.

Logorama: ***winner*** hands down one of the very best shorts I have ever seen in my life, and definitely worthy of its Oscar win earlier this year for Best Animated Short Film (beating A Matter of Loaf and Death amongst others). It’s just so jaw-droppingly clever – halfway through I had a big grin on my face and wanted to run out to recommend it to everyone immediately, and I hadn’t even seen it all! The way the story pans out there’s probably a message stamped in there somewhere (consumerism leading to climate change?) but I was too busy watching all the stunning attention to detail, my eyes bulging at all the different brands and logos they could fill up the screen with. I loved Ronald McDonald being a super badass and kicking the Haribo kid under a bus. The Green Giant was awesome (and slightly gay), and who knew the Pringles guy could be such a sleazebag? The personification of brands was a genius – the creators clearly had a field day when it came to putting the zoo together.

As a very cool surprise, Logorama is actually available to watch in full online right now, so stop whatever you’re doing and immerse yourself for the next 16 minutes in the sharpest slice of animation you will ever see.

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