Monday, December 25, 2017

The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows starts Friday at the Quad

Appearing just in time to end the cinematic year on a high note is the wonderful collection of animated shorts THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS. It is a finely crafted collection containing some of the best shorts of the year. As with all collections of this sort there is a danger of there being a couple of films that may not thrill you must keep in mind that it's only because they are in among such wonderful others that we end up judging them perhaps a bit too harshly. If you saw any of these films isolated on their own they all would knock your socks off.

This collection is highly recommended especially if you are tired of the typical multiplex animation blockbuster.

I should point out that this film only contains one Oscar Short listed film (DEAR BASKETBALL) which means if you don't see this collection you might miss 14 film that should have been included on that short list (THE HANGMAN is too old to be included). Seriously these films are all kick ass which make this collection an absolute must if you love great filmmaking - never mind animation- most of these films transcend being labels just "cartoons".

Since the show of shows is made up of individual films here are my individual thoughts on them. Keep in mind my reference to some of the films being love it or hate it is not my saying that a film is bad rather a warning that some people may not click with a film, finding it too strange for their tastes.

Can You Do It - Quentin Baillieux, France
Visually kick ass  film takes names and leaves you wanting to disappear into it's world. Its an attention grabbing film that sets the bar almost impossibly high for everything that follows. One of the most overwhelming pieces of animation I've seen all year.

Tiny Big - Lia Bertels, Belgium
This is a haunting film where the simple images hang with you long after the credits roll.

Next Door - Pete Docter, U.S.
Kind of a cousin to the World of Tomorrow films where the vocal stylings of  a young girl provide the voice to the tale of an older man and the young girl who lives next door. Its a wonderful piece (like you'd expect anything else from director Docter?)

The Alan Dimension - Jac Clinch, UK
Wicked film about a retired accountant who can see a few minutes into the future- sadly this makes him unable to see the love of his wife. An off-kilter gem this is the sort of thing that Jim Broadbent would star in if it was live action.

Beautiful Like Elsewhere - Elise Simard, Canada
Experimental dream is a gorgeous film that will connect more with some audiences than others. It is a visual delight.

Hangman - Paul Julian and Les Goldman, U.S.
A restoration of a short film from the 1960's about a hangman who comes to town and begins plying his trade. A lost classic restored. It now plays as a scary warning of Trumpism and the mind set of the far right.

The Battle of San Romano - Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland
Beautiful art film that imagines the images on a tapestry in motion.

Gokurosama - Clémentine Frère, Aurore Gal, Yukiko Meignien, Anna Mertz, Robin Migliorelli, Romain Salvini, France
Surreal comedy concerns life in a mall before hours and the chaos the results when an old woman gets stuck in one positions ad attempts are made to get her to a chiropractor. Its a laugh out loud jewel.

Dear Basketball - Glen Keane, U.S.
One of the very best films of 2017 of any length. Its a masterpiece of cinematic art. A perfect marriage of image, word and music. It is the perfect summing of a career and a life at the very moment when you know you have to give up the very thing you love most in the world. I've cried every time I've seen it.  If you need one reason to see this collection-this is it

Island - Max Mörtl and Robert Löbel, Germany
Wonderful look at the life on an island over the course of a day that becomes musical. One of my favorites in this collection.

Unsatisfying - Parallel Studio, France
Set to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings this is a list of "fails" that some how becomes both funny and moving

My Burden - Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden
Incredibly weird mini opera is going to be a love or hate it film. A strange stop motion film has odd half animal creatures singing about depressing things. You'll know you're not in Kansas the instant the fishmen sing about hotel rooms, One of the weirdest films you'll ever see- that's a compliment.

Les Abeilles Domestiques (Domestic Bees) Alexanne Desrosiers, Canada
Life framed as if in a beehive repeats and crosses over itself.  I am not sure it completely works but as a piece of art it's amazing.

Our Wonderful Nature: The Common Chameleon - Tomer Eshed, Germany
A laugh out loud funny film about the undying hunger of a chameleon

Casino - Steven Woloshen, Canada
Jazz driven abstract film of casino related images.

Everything - David OReilly, U.S
Odd computer generated images illustrate a discussion of everything. Another love it or hate it film

The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows rocks. Go see it starting Friday at New York's Quad Cinema. For tickets go here.

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