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Live Action Movies Shorts

Being Someone Else

Director – Øyvind Aamli – 2020 – UK – 9m

****

A 13 year old autistic girl makes preparations for a cosplay event – available to watch for free online (pay what you can) as part of the Raindance Film Festival 2020 until 23.59 this Saturday, October 7th.

At its heart, this film is a piece of portraiture. There are films, documentary or otherwise, that are often described as ‘character study’ but for Being Someone Else, the term ‘portraiture’ seems to fit better. In painting, that would be about recreating someone’s likeness on, say, canvas. (That’s obviously a simplification and one could talk at great length about what that actually means.) Film is a different medium. Like painting does with a static image, so a moving picture camera can preserve a moving image of a person in time. On top of that the film maker has a whole other arsenal of tools at their disposal. Sound. Editing. And so on.

Imogen, 13, is autistic and suffers, like many of us, from stress. In her case and in the immediate context observed by this film, she’s preparing for an upcoming Cosplay event. A contraction of the words Costume Play, this involves dressing up as a character from popular culture, often anime.… Read the rest

Categories
Live Action Movies Shorts

Beautiful New Bay Area Project

Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2013 – Japan – 29m

****

A company director steals a woman worker’s name tag and she fights and kickboxes him and his people to get it back – currently on MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa

A young man (Emoto Tasuku) is president of the company he has inherited from his father. His right hand man encourages him to pitch on a development project on the side of the river. He hangs out on a construction site and watches the workers go about their jobs. He is particularly taken with woman worker Takako (Mita Moa).

So much so that he tries to strike up a conversation with her, but she ignores him. Indeed, she goes out of her way to vanish from his sight to where he can’t find her. So he later in her full view steals her name tag from a board and hides it in his office. He instructs his security that if the woman appears in his building, she is to be thrown out.

That sets up the final ten plus minutes of the short in which to access his office and her purloined name tag she must physically kickbox her way past several guards to fight him for the tag.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Live Action Movies Shorts

Tsukamoto – Killing – Haze – The Adventures of Denchu Kozo

Killing (Sawamura)

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 2018 – Japan – Cert. 18 – 79m

***

The Adventure of Denchu Kozo (Denchu kozo no boken)

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 1987 – Japan – 45m

****

Haze

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 2005 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 48m

*****

Shinya Tsukamoto’s latest feature, the samurai movie Killing comes to UK Blu-ray in a two-disc edition, along with two fascinating shorts: the Super-8 epic The Adventure of Denchu Kozo and the later masterpiece Haze. All three feature informative audio commentaries by Tom Mes, author of Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto (2005). The director is probably best known for cyberpunk epics Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) and its sequel/reboot Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992) which concern the fusion of flesh and metal into a new evolutionary human weapon form. His new film similarly explores the samurai and his metal blade becoming as one in a deadly human fighting machine. Read the rest…

Review published in All The Anime.

Categories
Features Live Action Movies Shorts

Melancholic

Melancholic

Director – Seiji Tanaka – 2018 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 114m

*****

Melancholic

Director – Seiji Tanaka – 2016 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 15m

*****

On Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, rental on Apple TV and Amazon from Monday, September 7th

Quiet, unemployed Tokyo University graduate Kazuhiko (Yoji Minagawa, also the film’s producer) lives with his similarly introverted parents. When one night his mum prematurely empties the family hot tub, he pays his first visit to the local bathhouse where he runs into chirpy classmate Yuri (Mebuki Yoshida) who talks him into attending their upcoming high school reunion.

At that event, he’s a fish out of water while everyone else gathers around the nondescript student Tamura (Yuta Okubo) who has since made good as a businessman and investor. Then Yuri rescues Kazuhiko and the pair sit conversing deeply on the staircase ignored by everyone else. A series of dinner dates follows, romance blossoms and before you know it he’s staying overnight at her flat.

Encouraged by Yuri, Kazuhiko gets himself one of two attendants’ jobs at the bathhouse run by the genial Mr. Azuma (Makoto Hada). Kazuhiko never wanted to go to work for a top company like most graduates and the work suits his temperament.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Art Movies Shorts

The Physics Of Sorrow (Physique De La Tristesse)

Director – Theodore Ushev – 2019 – Canada – 27m

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival.

Available to watch on Amazon here.

Voice-over narration by Rossif Sutherland with the occasional line echoed by Donald Sutherland (or Xavier Dolan with Manuel Tadros in the French language version) accompanies extraordinary serial images. The verbals are adapted from the novel by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and with echoes of reincarnation describe universal human and occasional other animal form experience of life. The opening minute or so (see the trailer) describes a person born in 1944 sheltering from English planes and bombing raids, a person born in the Bulgaria of 1968 who remembers the Prague Spring, a fruit fly who lives and dies in a day and the end of the dinosaurs.

This would probably be mesmerising were it just a radio broadcast or a sound file with the actors’ voices and sound effects, but Ushev accompanies his soundtrack with the most incredible images. Partly it’s the arresting content of the visuals he creates here and partly the technique used to realise them. A teenage boy falling in love with a circus acrobat girl who works days at a fairground shooting gallery.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

The Fox And The Pigeon

Director – Michelle Chua – 2019 – Canada – 6m

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

This starts off opening a children’s book cover for a tale about, you’ve guessed it, a fox and a pigeon. In the time honoured tradition of such books, there are illustrations and words (in rhyming couplets) on the page. And like so many animated films, the characters move and come to life while the author acts as a narrator and reads the words.

What’s different about The Fox And The Pigeon is that while the characters want to live their own story – screenwriters often say that as they write they feel their characters talking to them and dictating the direction things should go – the narrator has other ideas and tries to impose his own narrative upon them. The fox finds a coin and buys an ice cream cone. Sitting on a park bench, he’s aware of the pigeon, who clearly wants to share the ice cream. But, intones the author reading his words, “why would a fox want to share with a pigeon?”

As the tale plays out, the author becomes increasingly vindictive, wanting the two characters to conflict with one another, to the point of one killing the other.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

The End

Director – Wiebe Bonnema – 2019 – Netherlands – 4m 36s

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

I had to blink while I was watching this. Its opening two minutes play out like the animated title sequence of a spaghetti Western, and if you’ve seen a few of those you’ll know that a number sport superb 2D animation titles which this little short so brilliantly pastiches. This goes further in a way, simultaneously playing with genre clichés while depicting a gunfighter saving a town from despots. As he passes through, white squares standing for people’s windows wipe onto the screen.

This opening cleverly gets around one of the inherent problems with the short animated (or for that matter non-animated) film, the necessity for credits. Usually, these are boringly placed at the end as white titles creeping up the screen over a black background. But having got all that out of the way in his opening, which incidentally functions as the perfect calling card for selling himself as a maker of amazing titles sequences, Wiebe has space to explore what happens after the generic story is over. What happens after the hero rides off into the sunset?

The graphic genius already exhibited continues in what follows: a long, slow, single shot horse ride away from camera into the distance.… Read the rest

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Animation Movies Shorts

Hot Flash

Director – Thea Hollatz – 2019 – Canada – 10m

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

Suffering from a hot flash just before she’s due to go on air, weatherwoman Ace Naismith (voice: Christine Horne) desperately employs the cooling fan in her dressing room to blow cool air on her face, under her boobs and up her dress in a desperate attempt to cool down. A moment of embarrassment ensues as she’s interrupted by P.A. Natalie Van Damme (Grace Glowicki) who tells her, Don wants you to talk about paragliders.

In the studio, under the lights against greenscreen, Ace is visibly suffering. Don (Tony Nappo) enters, but she can’t talk to him about the paraglider thing because he’s jugging three conversations on three different devices, one of which could be with his wife. So she delivers the report to camera on the incoming ice storm and then, paragliders, a reminder of warmer weather which she, in her current hot state, could well do without.

Her quest to cool down continues – sitting in the car park with the car door open while a male colleague walks past, warmly wrapped against the freezing cold. She drives home, rushes upstairs, rips of her clothes opens the window, cools down.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

A Mind Sang (A Mãe de Sangue)

Director – Vier Nev – 2019 – Portugal – 6m 11s

****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

This is not a film to watch once. It’s a film to watch over and over and over again. It comprises a series of hugely affecting double images, double meanings. Am I looking at an eye or a person swimming / drowning? A man descending from the sky of a hand pulling a pencil out of water? The profile of a face with eyes and nose of the full length figure of a man sleeping, his head on a pillow?

Double images like this have always worked well in static art or illustration (there’s a famous one of Sigmund Freud’s face which can be read equally easily as a naked woman) while animation – in this case, 2D animation, but it applies to other forms of the medium as well – has a long tradition of portraying transformation of one object or physical state into another. This clever and subtle little film combines the two legacies.

A woman’s hand drawing becomes a person sitting in a bathtub becomes a woman lying prone (in water? On solid ground?). A tableau of faces lit from one side becomes a tableau of embryos.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

The Passer-by (De Passant)

Director – Pieter Coudyzer – 2020 – Belgium – 16m

*****

From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

This is a film about our interconnectedness or lack of it. And impossible to review without spoilers – be warned before you read on. Thomas is a typical teenager studying for exams. He needs to be woken up in the morning by his mum or he’d lie in bed all day. Confronted with a textbook of maths equations, he’d rather keep drawing that portrait he’s been working on for his friend Karen. His mobile rings. It’s Karen. He agrees to take the drawing round and meet at the bus stop. He tries to sneak out, but mum spots him. He’s forced to admit it’s Karen. Don’t be long, his mum admonishes him.

And out he goes on his bicycle, stopping en route to chat to a neighbour working in his garden. A little further on an irritating, yappy little dog runs after him. Thomas moves across the road narrowly missing an oncoming fellow cyclist. He apologises. He keeps going. A car pulls out. He hits it, goes flying across the bonnet, lands on the pavement beyond. His drawing flies up into the air, carried on its currents.… Read the rest