Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Readers of The Evening Class have seen my preview of the sensational "Top Drawers" program screening at this year's San Francisco International Animation Festival (SFIAF). Another of SFIAF's thoughtfully curated shorts selections includes "The Best of Annecy", which highlights a handful of imaginative and provocative features in a variety of styles, each of which were accepted into this year's Annecy International Animation Festival.

It's been well-said that "film is 24 lies per second at the service of truth," but—where animation is concerned—this may be a grave understatement: there are whole tall tales, or perhaps entire mythologies, packed into the single animated cell. The Lost Town of Świteź / Świteź, la Cité perdue (Kamil Polak, 2011) manages to steal away with our spirits into an eminently colored and iconic world. Textures of stone and pine are themselves given life by the flicker-lit shadows that usher us through entire epochs. This same perspectival glissando convenes in Big Bang Big Boom (BLU, 2010) and Sidewalk Scribble (Peter Lowey, 2011), both of which summon forth engaging narratives from urban landscapes. No-less unbounded in its mobility is Paths of Hate (Damian Nenow, 2011), whose depiction of a scorched earth dogfight delivers a biting intensity that pits a chilling guitar solo against two demon-pilots duking it out to bitter ends.

In The Eagleman Stag (Michael Please, 2011) we are introduced to the idea of a "weighty moment," which is that awareness of the immense gulf of time separating a newly minted four-year-old from his fifth birthday by a quarter of a lifetime. Its great comedic wit opens doors, making accessible philosophical realms that may otherwise have aggravated our usual proclivities when spoken so plainly. Luminaris' (Juan Pablo Zaramella, 2011) comedy is imaginative, infectious and hopeful. We happily digest the tidy gets-the-girl storyline thanks to the heaping portions of playfulness and novel visions of the fantastic. [See Michael Guillén's earlier write-up here.] Sticky Ends / Chroniques de la poisse (Osman Cerfon, 2010) turns a corner here, bearing down on the comedy of the absurd, where undeserved comeuppances abound with a kind of idiosyncratic giddiness. I snickered throughout, but lol'ed when the credits rolled the name of the production company,
jesuisbiencontent. Uh-huh, sure you are. Now, we can only guess at what Plato's (Cohen, 2010) geometric allegory might entail, but we're perhaps better off simply enjoying the ingenious interplay of two and three dimensional spaces, as its line-drawn protagonist toils to escape his own imprisoning flatness.

Screenings will take place on November 11th at 7:00PM and November 13th at 2:00PM at the New People Cinema. Cross-published at Cinefrisco.

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