Notes from the Animation Festival 2013
Russell Degnan

Another year, another Melbourne International Animation Festival. Hopefully Malcolm will hold to his statement of not making it 11 days next year, although it is invariably the last Saturday that almost kills me - going to bed at 2am and waking up for a 7am podcast probably didn't help. The extra time meant I saw more of this festival than I had in previous years. Indeed, the only bits I'd have liked to see were the CG Symposium - passed on in favour of the Canadian Indie programs, and the Australian program, that is inexplicably the only competition program not repeated, but that was a fault in my scheduling.

I might be getting old and jaded, but until the International Program #5 I hadn't found many of this year's competition programs memorable. But there were a couple of brilliant films in that screening, which rounded it out well. As is traditional - albeit in a sloppily ignored traditional kind-of-way - here are a few of the films I liked, by category (sans links, surprisingly, in this age of YouTube, far fewer films are available online than perhaps they ought, but you, my absent reader, can find them):

The Entertainers

Wind Int. 2 - Wore thin after several viewings, but the interaction of animation and wind always works.

Cleo's Boogie Int. 4 - Good song, good mix of techniques, but mostly the song.

Stewpot Rhapsodie Int. 5 - A mother cooking with loads of movement, charming aesthetic, and a fantastic soundtrack.

A La Francaise Kids 2 - Chickens in 18th century Versailles. Hilarious film.

The Technically Superb

Bydlo Int. 1 - An oxen comes to life out of the clay. Didn't like the plot, but beautifully constructed.

MacPherson Int. 5 - One of those languid oil painted films that always look superb.

Here and the Great Elsewhere Int. 5 - Ditto pinscreen animation, although this pushed a rare technique along too. An amazing film.

Jailbreak Abstract - Really well constructed abstract set to a syncopated rhythm.

Illogical Imaginings Next. Aust. - Characters rolling into each other is old hat, but this was well constructed.

The Well Plotted

Linear Int. 1 - Simple concept, a 2-inch man painting a road, but executed well.

Marcel, King of Tervuren Int. 4 - The sort of personal story that animation produces very well. Lovely depth of visuals too.

Junkyard Long - Live diverge then meet. This took a while to get to an obvious conclusion, but it was worth it.

Edmond was A Donkey Long - Long features have an advantage when it comes to plot, but this still kept me interested. An odd little story with a silent title character, much put upon.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mister Lawrence Lessmore Kids 2 - A genuinely touching film, simply and beautifully animated.

The Bizarre But Brilliant

Tram Int. 3 - Was tempted not to mention it, but it is very well paced and funny.

Oh Willy Long - Might have gone under the technical category too, for the texture and light, but the sheer oddity is its most endearing feature.

The Brick Bizarre - The sort of film that should be in Late Night Bizarre instead of the crude poorly animated rubbish. Completely odd-ball.

A final shout-out to the Kevin Schrek documentary The Persistence of Vision. The three decade long failure to produce a feature film of epic proportions, largely because it seemed to be epic mostly for the sake of being epic, was fascinating through-out. That the animators involved also meant that Richard William's film bridged from the golden age of animation to today somehow made it important and valuable in spite of itself.

Finer Things 2nd July, 2013 01:17:19   [#]