Best of the World
Ceci n’est pas un cheval!, or “world's best” Horse by Jie Shen does not remind one bit of the one in The Christmas Log, who keeps calling Santa, cancelling Cowboy and Indian’s gift orders. The five chapters of Horse, counting down one by one faster and faster, again and again, unveil surreal hand-drawn scenes of a horse in various positions. With each countdown, each of the drawings is moved ever so slightly, only to be revealed in full at the very end.
Rabbits are officially the most commonly used animal of this year’s Animateka, but the Animateka rabbit is hardly an overdose of sugar. In The Obvious Child by Stephen Irwin, unfolding in 2D psychedelic colourful sequences is a story of a girl whose parents have been broken (sic(k)!), with her rabbit soft toy as a witness. In her child-like illusional trance, the girl, also a chain smoker, attempts to get her parents to God in Heaven, the rabbit watching her mistress’s actions in terror.
On growing up.
In gentle, dreamy colours of 2D and sand-on-glass, When I was a Child by Teheran-based animator Maryam Kashkoolinia is a vision created in the author’s child-like imagination of all the frightening stories her mother used to tell her to warn her of dangers, from how eating a pip makes a plant grow inside your stomach, to how the devil himself comes to push you off the cliff if you stand too close to the edge.
In Julie Charette’s Milk Teeth, the loss of milk teeth is an outstanding metaphor of the loss of a loved one, and thus of growing up to quickly. Using grotesque drawings and a sarcastic tone to portray an old man who comes to the river to have a smoke, The River’s Lazy Flow by Joël Vaudreuil fascinates the viewer with the memories of the old man’s youth, when he came to the river with a girl as a thirteen-year-old boy.
As a film about film, based on a graphic novel by Olivia Rosenthal, Angélique’s Day for Night by Joris Clerté follows the growing up of a girl whose teenage cinephile obsession with François Truffaut’s Day for Night evolves into an adult rumination on the contradiction between the feeling of freedom the audience gets from immersing themselves in cinema on the one hand, and its illusiveness on the other.
In her animation Man on the Chair (some kind of a chubby version of Rodin’s Thinker), Dahee Jeong uses drawings and 3D, playing in an extraordinary way with space and the human body, to capture the endless questions of existence, starting with the thought that perhaps reality is merely a product of one’s own thought. Meanwhile, in a distorted rhythm of black & white drawing, in The Labyrinth Mathieu Labaye outlines the perception of everyday life in prison; the feeling of being trapped, the social isolation, and the lack of movement, privacy and sexual satisfaction.
Wittily subtitled “Marilyn maketh. Marilyn taketh awayeth.”, Mikey Please’s Marilyn Miller is a humorous portrait of Marilyn, made of stop-motion moves cut out of styrofoam. Destroying her sculptures in disappointment again and again, Marilyn starts selling her destruction of her own art as a form of art.
Another captivating stop-motion is The Andes by Cristóbal León & Joaquín Cociña, whose office gradually gets overgrown by some sort of an animalist spirit in the form of plants, mountains and other indefinable shapes. The Andes is one of four films comprising their art installation called The Third World, in which they are focusing on various myths, religious symbolisms, and Latin American rituals, as well as their disintegration in the contemporary world.
Translation: Maja Ropret