Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

Drive (Pulsión)

Director – Pedro Casavecchia – 2019 – Argentina – 7m

*****

A series of disturbing vignettes brings to mind work by Lars von Trier, the Brothers Quay, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch – available to watch on YouTube (see below) from Wednesday, September 1st 2021

This Argentinan short, although computer generated, has the feel of stop-motion. It brings to mind work by Lars von Trier, the Brothers Quay, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. A narrative conveyed by a series of disturbing vignettes (think: the opening minutes of Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011) is put together with the same kind of fastidious technical attention to detail you find in the Quay Brothers’ films. A couple of scenes borrow directly from one of the murders in Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), but in a clever way that shocks you much as those scenes in Psycho originally did. There’s a Lynchian feel about the whole thing – not just in the strange, quasi-industrial sounds recalling Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977) or the weird lighting and heavily controlled mise-en-scène, but also in the overall feel of strange and terrible things happening within families and local communities, people adrift within the darkness of human existence.

One single viewing is not enough for this film which really only reveals itself on repeated viewings.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Marona’s Fantastic Tale (L’Extraordinaire Voyage De Marona)

Director – Anca Damian – 2019 – France – 92m

****

Winner of the André-Martin Award for a French Feature Film at Annecy 2021.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale opens with a device straight out of film noir. The main character has been hit by a car and is dying in the arms of an old friend who got to him a few seconds too late to prevent disaster. Him isn’t correct though: both characters are female. Marona is a dog while late teenager Solange is her owner.

The narrative flies in the face of the idea that people take on pets and everything is hunky dory thereafter. Marona never has a stable life. She’s the last of nine puppies in the litter, so her mother names her Nine as if knowing that her daughter may not be around long and that a new owner will likely give her a new name.

The last to be born is the first to be given away as Marona is placed with her father, a haughty Argentianian mastiff of high birth. Marona only lasts about a day there and ends up walking the streets.

As part of my Annecy 2019 coverage, I review Marona’s Fantastic Tale for DMovies.orgRead the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

White Snake (Baishe: Yuanqi, 白蛇:缘起)

Directors – Amp Wong, Ji Zhao – 2019 – China – 99m

****

A young man falls in love with a demon resembling alternately a woman and a giant snake, in this Chinese animated feature – now available on Amazon Prime

Conceived as a prequel to China’s White Snake legend which has spawned numerous adaptations including Green Snake / Ching se (Tsui Hark, 1993), this computer animated Chinese epic concerns demon sisters Blanca and Verta (voiced by Zhang Zhe and Tang Xiaoxi) who look to all intents and purposes like beautiful women but are actually demon snakes in disguise – a white snake and a green snake as you might guess from their names. With her power and form enhanced by her sister’s gift of a green hairpin, Blanca leaves the demon world and visits ours for a showdown with a human General trying to prove his worth to the Emperor by dabbling in occult rituals involving snakes. When the showdown doesn’t go as planned, Blanca finds herself alone and suffering a complete loss of memory as to who (and indeed what) she is.

She awakes in a small, human, rural village where the local economy is built on catching snakes for the General.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

Away

Director – Gints Zilbalodis – 2019 – Latvia – Cert. U – 75m
****1/2
Exclusively in these cinemas from Friday, August 28th

A boy hangs from a tree by a parachute in a wilderness. He wakes. A strange, towering black / grey figure approaches, shining as if metallic or viscous like a solidified, smooth, crude oil or tar. It picks him up. He is in a dark tunnel, light at one end. He goes the other way, is out of the giant’s clutches, runs. It slowly turns and lumbers after him. There are occasional, giant, semicircular hoops in his path. He goes through them, eventually entering a grotto which fully circular hoop the giant can’t follow. Welcome to the strange, dreamlike world of Away.

Beyond an abandoned motorbike, in the middle of the grotto, is a lake bordered with orange trees and the ocean. The boy feeds, bathes and makes the acquaintance of a shy, little yellow bird. Finding a key and a map in a rucksack, the boy learns that the semicircular hoops mark a route to a harbour. His bike will furnish him the means to get there. A flock of white birds is flying in the same direction, however the yellow bird can’t join them because it can’t fly.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Art Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles

Director – Salvador Simo – 2018 – Netherlands – 80m

***1/2

Streaming on BFI Player (extended free trial offer here) from Thursday, July 16th – with more Buñuel movies here.

Following the success of his surrealist film L’Age D’Or / The Age Of Gold (1930), film director Luis Buñuel finds his main source of funding cut off when the strongly Catholic mother of his primary investor puts pressure in the latter. At the same time, a stranger named Eli Lotar strikes up a post-premiere conversation with the director saying he saw no influence of Dali in the film and presses a book Las Hurdes into Buñuel’s hands.

Frustrated at the lack of funding for his films, Luis decides to film the book which details the appalling living conditions of poor people in a remote village in rural Spain.

As part of my Annecy 2019 coverage, I review Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles for DMovies.org.

Categories
Animation Features Movies

I Lost My Body (J’ai Perdu Mon Corps)

Director – Jérémy Clapin – 2019 – France – Cert. 12a – 81m

****1/2
A severed hand searches for its body while a boy searches for the girl who he only knows from the sound of her voice in this French animated feature – from the BFI London Film Festival then in cinemas on Friday, November 22nd and on Netflix from Friday, November 29th

This unique 2D animation opens with a discussion about how to catch a fly before splitting into two parallel narratives. In one, a severed hand goes on a quest in search of the body from which it has become detached. In the other, boy meets girl. This is the boy who at a later point in the film will lose his hand in an accident. The opening fly discussion turns out to be a flashback of the boy.

The hand shows great ingenuity as it escapes rats in a subway, climbs medical skeletons in a storage room and duels with an aggressive pigeon in a roof gutter. It has a pretty hard time of it physically. And when it eventually finds its body, reuniting with it proves far from simple.

The boy, Naoufel (voiced by Hakim Faris in the seen French version and Dev Patel in the upcoming English dub), is working as a pizza delivery boy, a job to which he isn’t particularly suited.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Movies

The Relative Worlds (Ashita Sekai Ga Owaru To Shitemo, あした世界が終わるとしても)

Director – Yuhei Sakuragi – 2019 – Japan – 93m

***

Teenage romance, parallel worlds and dysfunctional families are the main ingredients of The Relative Worlds, Yuhei Sakuragi’s uneasy cross between a mawkish boy meets girl tale and a sci-fi action picture in the James Cameron mould. The romantic, emotional parts are gentle and almost hesitant. The science fiction, fantasy and action parts are fast, full on and frantic – and indeed in places quite hard to keep up with. The dysfunctional families are more a background plot device than anything else. That said, if you’re prepared to get on its wavelength (or wavelengths, plural) it’s an enjoyable enough romp, with action that looks great on a big screen… [read more]

Full review at All The Anime.

Trailer:

Festivals

2019

Scotland Loves Anime

Annecy International Animation Festival

Categories
Animation Art Movies Shorts

Memorable (Mémorable)

Director – Bruno Collet – 2019 – France – 12m

*****

The techniques used in this remarkable short include both computer and puppet animation, with all the surfaces of both the puppets and the sets resembling that of a canvas painted with oils. It’s the perfect artistic form in which to express the story the film wishes to tell.

Louis is a painter suffering from dementia. Neither he nor his wife and model Michelle are coping well. He struggles to recognise different items of food by name at the dinner table – a bit of a problem when Michelle asks him to pass the pepper – and attempts to eat a banana without taking the skin off it first… [read more]

Nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2019 (92nd) Oscars.

As part of my Annecy 2019 coverage, I review Memorable (Mémorable) for DMovies.org.