One of several annual animation compilations, this feature includes 13 short animated films from the US, UK, and Canada, purporting to show the best of independent or state-funded animation in a variety of styles and formats. Although the animation in these short films is often quite spectacular, the content is noticeably lacking in wit or substance. THE...read more
One of several annual animation compilations, this feature includes 13 short animated films from the US, UK, and Canada, purporting to show the best of independent or state-funded animation in a variety of styles and formats. Although the animation in these short films is often quite
spectacular, the content is noticeably lacking in wit or substance.
THE BIG STORY, a black and white clay-animated piece spoofing Billy Wilder's THE BIG CARNIVAL (1951), features Kirk Douglas look-alikes (voiced by Frank Gorshin) playing out a short encounter between a hotshot reporter and his hardened editor.
NOSEHAIR, a line-drawing-on-paper work by Bill Plympton, presents a man's attempt to pull out a nose hair. This results in catastrophe as the hair elongates and transforms into a variety of objects and landscapes, all of which put the hair's owner in peril.
THE VILLAGE is a storybook-style cartoon animation about an isolated fortresslike village, where the residents' intense scrutiny of each other threatens the budding romance of a young couple.
IDDY BITTY BEAT BOY presents a brash, colorful, jazz-inflected short tale of a 1950s beat boy who becomes an overnight sensation only to be tried and convicted of obscenity charges.
TRIANGLE (Erica Russell) shows three dancing figures which become increasingly abstract shapes as they dance to a lively and intricate score of Afro-Caribbean rhythms.
PERSONAL HELL has a young woman listening and responding to phone messages left for her personal ad, as oil paint-on-glass images illustrate her voice-over comments.
SLEEPY GUY is an elaborate computer animation of a man who keeps getting awakened in the middle of a romantic dream.
In LEGACY, computer animation guides viewers through a cave of rock paintings, one of which comes alive temporarily.
BRITANNIA (Joanna Quinn) is a set of pencil drawings on paper satirizing England's imperialist past.
THE JANITOR (Vanessa Schwartz) uses line drawings on paper and a voice-over monologue by actor Geoffrey Lewis to describe how the narrator, sent by God to clean up the earth, botches the job and causes floods.
THE MONK AND THE FISH is a whimsical cel-animated rendition of a monk's vain efforts to catch a feisty fish from the monastery's pond.
BOB'S BIRTHDAY (Alison Snowden and David Fine) is cartoon animation about a dentist who unwittingly ruins his wife's efforts to surprise him with a party.
Nick Park's THE WRONG TROUSERS, a lengthy clay-animated piece, tells the story of an inventor's dog and its rivalry with the inventor's new tenant, a malevolent penguin.
One could argue that a single seven-minute Warner Bros. cartoon from 1946 contains more humor, wit, and excitement than this entire collection of recent animation, which includes two Academy Award winners and four nominees. While some of the selections boast elements of cuteness (PRIVATE HELL), or
are simply beautifully designed (TRIANGLE), none offers any sense of purpose. Most simply use the medium to show off animation technique.
The animators' concerns are all rather mundane and might have been better expressed as live-action comedy skits, children's books, short stories, or short, comical cel-animated cartoons. SLEEPY GUY, in particular, would have been much funnier and more effective had it been a short cartoon, rather than lengthy computer-animated work. But the clay-animated THE WRONG TROUSERS is a small marvel, dryly witty, tautly plotted and as charming as charming can be. (Adult situations, profanity.)
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