Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The 22nd Annual Animation Show of Shows Opens Friday at the Quad

Here is a look at the all of the films in this years Animation Show of Shows. This review is made up of reviews that previously written for when the films played other festivals and include one of the best animators in the world Shaun Clark talking about THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES which he talked about in 2020 in answer to question of  "what was the film that made him happiest?" during the first months of Covid.

Do note the reviews are all of differing lengths because the original reviews ran in differing pieces  of varying length


People on a roof begin leaping off – and have to be rescued by  a superhero. It’s a very cool film  with a dark under side, namely how we as humans insist on doing really dangerous and stupid things over and over again.

3,475, masks are animated to create a record of masks around the world and across time. It begins with Noh masks from Japan but then spins off into Pokemon masks, Batman masks, surgical masks, plague masks, gas masks, bondage masks and tribal masks...

This is an absolute magnificent  piece of cinema both as animation and of documentary. Through the the rapid cutting, almost too rapid (I want to go through frame by frame), we get a sense of the role of masks in human existence. Clearly they mean something much more than just a way of dressing up.

 In a weird way the masks become a kind of religious experience where we watch as all of humanity tries to touch god... or something. If it's not spiritual it is definitely visceral as the oh this is nice, becomes funny with Pokemon and then slips into something greater as the weight of the varieties washes over us. 

This is a magnificent film best in big and in the dark. It also should play in museums where it four minute run time gets the point of the importance of masks across much faster than ten halls of artifacts in the Native Peoples wing.

Highly recommended.

The title says it all. This is haunting

Animator Shaun Clark on the MAN WHO PLANTED TREES
The film I have chosen is 'The Man Who Planted Trees' directed by Frédéric Back based on Jean Giono's short story. The film was made in 1987 using coloured pencils on frosted cell to bring the drawings to life. I first saw this film in the early 90’s when I became interested in animation and shared the film this year with somebody as it reminded me of her father who plants acorns in the mountains every year. Watching the film again during the summer of the pandemic helped shine some light into the darkness. It is a story about recovery from tragic events, determination and commitment to make the world a better place.

Stunning visuals spring from a talk on happiness data

Beseder (Good and Better)
Bill Plympton esque film with riffs on the work of famous artists  exploring the notion of human emotion.

Hypnotic  short of  abstract figures forming various groups and moving across the screen. This is a wicked film that must be seen on  a big screen in the dark with big sound for full effect. This is a film that is going to play very differently at home.  If you need an excuse to see this collection at the festival this is the film to seal the deal.

The course of love loss and new love as told via a little girl and the horses in her life. Sweet.

A slice of life of the people living in an apartment block.  This is a film about how we all can live very close to each other yet never interact with each other. It’s a telling comment on how most of us live every day.

Magnificently animated film looking at the ties that bind our lives together and how pulling on one thread causes everything to collapse.

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