Saturday, March 1, 2014

Movies: Academy Award-Nominated Animated Short Films 2014

(Drivebycuriosity) - There is a universe where everything is possible, where no physical rules exist. This universe is called "animated short films". As every year, some of them are nominated for the Oscar. Yesterday I watched the Academy Award nominated animated short films 2014 at New York´s IFC cinema theater (ifccenter).

As usual I got a mixed harvest to see: I could have done without the Japanese production "Possessions" (Shuhei Morita, Japan, 14 min.). The computer animated film showed a man who enters a small shrine where things like umbrellas come to life which leads to a flamboyant kaleidoscope. It reminded me of traditional Japanese & Chinese ghost movies but I didn´t see a real story behind it.

I liked the other movies more:  "Room on the Broom" (Max Lang & Jan Lachauer, UK, 25 min.), which is based on a children’s picture book, narrates an easy poem about a witch and a collection of animals having an adventurous flight on a broom. The story is illustrated in simple but funny pictures.
The Disney production "Get a Horse" (Lauren MacMullan, USA, 6 min.) is a hilarious blend of traditional black-and-white animated movie (in German we call that "Zeichentrickfilm", = drawing trick movie) in the style of the 1930s with contemporary digital images. A nice combination of entertainment and movie history.

"Feral" (Daniel Sousa, USA, 13 min.) delivers a new interpretation of the traditional "wolf boy" topic (a boy grown up solitarily in the woods, educated by wolves). I was fascinated by the digitally produced images which reminded me of contemporary paintings - a well done mixture of art & entertainment.
My favorite is the awesome "Mr. Hublot" (Laurent Witz, Luxembourg/France, 11 min.). The meticulously constructed movie blends physical objects with computer effects. It shows a man (Mr Hublot) who's cyborg-like body has a lot of odd looking mechanical parts - and so does everything in the world around him. We can see a bizarre somewhat futuristic city, which peculiar dogs, houses, driving & flying vehicles and more which are apparently built from salvaged materials all brought to life by the magic of camera & computer tricks.

Because the running time of the animated flicks was so short the IFC served 3 additional movies:
The Pixar production "Blue Umbrella" (6 min) shows a romance between umbrellas!;
The "Missing Scarf" (7 min) combines origami-style animated paperwork with digital animations and philosophizes about the universe and other topics. Gorgeous!
"A La Francaise" shows an episode at - the digitally animated - Palace of Versailles in the 17th century, but with huge hens instead of people which created rollicking effects. Better than 4 of the nominated shorts.

According to NPR these movies should also be available on Internet ( Enjoy.

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