There are two or three annual films showing generally in art house theatres. They are collections of animated films that go on tours. One is composed of the animated films or short films that are nominated for Academy Awards that year.
‘The Animation Show Of Shows’ is similar but different. It is just a good collection of animated films. Some can be from previous years; some can be the present year. I do not know the selection method, but the majority of the films are only about one or two years old. I will rate each film A, B, C or if it is particularly good, AA or AAA. These are this year’s best films:-
- ‘The Green Bird’ is directed by a team of four people. It is about an exotic bird in s significantly screwed up environment. But the poor bird has problems that would be much like those of Scrat from the ‘Ice Age’ films. The bird is trying to hatch an egg. The animation is done with stop motion. The story is nothing deep but somehow it is entertaining. Rating: B
- ‘One Small Step’ has a young girl who knows she just has to be an astronaut and go into space. She dreams of being an astronaut in the space program. There are some obstacles in her way and going into space. She will persevere. With the support of her family she hopes to get into space. Some of the story is affecting. Rating: AA
- ‘Grands Canons’ is an observation of hundreds of thousands of tools and of tech. It all starts with a pencil. The tools are not really animated but they are shown for just one frame. These figures go past the viewers for the length of just one frame. Rating: B.
- ‘Barry’, a goat, needs a job and gets one temporarily in a hospital. He seems to a very talented doctor, but species-ism get in his way. The hospital administration does not care that he is talented at curing the ill and no goat will be allowed to practice medicine in the hospital and any goat would be over-qualified. Barry could be saving lives, but the System will not allow it. Rating: A
- ‘Super Girl’ has a little girl, reported to be a four year-old, who daydreams of having super-powers and being Super Girl. There is no story here. The film is not long enough. The film is only 70 seconds long. But we see what is going on in her mind. Rating: C.
- ‘Love Me, Fear Me’ is implemented in clay animation, for which a stick figure dances around in abstract of sexually suggestive poses. At times it takes on a bird-like texture with feathers. The title suggests that the creature demands loyalty from the moulded creature. Rating: A
- ‘Business Meeting’ is a satire on upper management of a corporation. There is one new idea in the whole meeting and everybody adopts the idea of the person who spoke just before him. Nothing is accomplished to justify the huge salaries these guys undoubtedly receive. Rating: A
- ‘Flower Found’ has a cute-looking mouse looking for a particular lost flower. He must be a charismatic mouse since, along the way, he finds other animals join his search. There may be more to the mouse’s plan than meets the eye. Rating: A
- ‘Bullets’ seems inspired by the ‘It’s A Good Life’ episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’. A young boy gives orders as if he has omnipotent powers. Everything in world is hunted by something else and is told it should stop doing negative things. Some of his ideas seem like good ideas. Rating: A
- ‘A Table Game’ is hard to understand. It seems to be the adventures of a tennis ball as it travels, looking for a mouth to lodge in. It suggests that the world looks different from the point of view of a ball that cannot control where it travels to. Rating: C
- ‘Carlotta’s Face’ is done in German with English sub-titles. The narrator is telling the story of looking for Carlotta while coping with face-blindness. In fact, Carlotta is trying to find her own face based on a description and being the one who suffers with the face-blindness. The images are in black and sepia with highlight in bright scarlet, giving some of the feeling of the neurological condition. The filmmaker herself is face-blind. Rating: A.
- ‘Age Of Sail’ is perhaps the film that uses animation the least to tell its story. It uses a detailed near-realistic art style. A sea captain is retiring after 21 years on the sea. He is regretting his loss of the sea as his long-time friend and companion. When he sees a young woman in distress, he decides to save her as one last mission on the waves. Rating: AA
- ‘Polaris’ is the story of a polar bear that leaves his home, his friends and his family. Along the way, he dreams of what it must be like to be human. The bears are drawn very expressively but with impressive simplicity. Rating: AA
- ‘My Moon’ seems to be made up mostly of mother-daughter relationship images show frequently as a small planet orbiting around a bigger mother planet. Celestial bodies have very human-like relationships. There is not much story, just an idea that is illustrated. Rating: B
- ‘Weekends’ is somewhat reminiscent of Henry James’ ‘What Maisie Knew’. The child of a divorce is pulled in two directions, caught between warring parents. His mother is soft and caring and his father is rich and willing to spend on him. Does his mother stand a chance in this tug-of-war? Rating: B
Mark R. Leeper
© Mark R. Leeper 2018