Friday, November 18, 2011

AFI Fest 2011: "Shorts Program-Animation"

As a part of the shorts schedule at AFI Fest 2011, animation was given it's own program. Here are my reviews for the shorts that were screened.

MASKA **** 24 mins. D: Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay.

Based on Stanilaw Lem's novel "Maska" this stop-motion animated short tells the tale of a being created to perform a specific task who must choose between carrying out her duty or finding love. The Quay brothers film is full of great sound, striking art direction and cinematography and is well worth watching.

NIGHT HUNTER ***1/2 16 mins. D: Stacy Steers.

Stacy Steers animated short about a woman and her time in a cabin in the woods is strange, haunting, disquieting and compelling. Composed of collages and featuring Lilian Gish, who is seemlessly inserted into the story as the woman, the short leaves you wonder just what exactly you were watching, was it a nightmare or was this anthropomorphization?

TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE **** 6 mins. D: Simon Cahn, Spike Jonze.

After a storekeeper locks up his bookstore, the books come to life and Macbeth's Skeleton and Dracula's girlfriend Mina come together for a little rendezvous.

This is an entertaining, adult themed romantic comedy adventure. Expertly animated through paper cutouts, the adult humor over the end credits is a nice touch that had me laughing throughout.


Photos from a 1974 yearbook, a dark secret is revealed underneath the idealic high school memories.

This animated short takes existing photos and creates a narrative much like taking stock footage for a film. While the presentation is good, the narrative itself was just okay.

THE EAGLEMAN STAG ****1/2 9 mins. D: Michael Please.

A man reflects on his place in time and his attempts to counteract aging.

This stop-motion animated feature is very funny and very original. Looking at moments in the narrator's life, Please enfuses each scene with humor and a distinct visual flair.

Definitely worth seeing.

LIBERTAS ***1/2 3 mins. D: Kan Lume, Megan Wonowidjoyo.

Over a collection of drawings and animation, a young girl explains why she wanted to become an animator and what her mother felt about it.

Not so much about the animation itself but the story that is told by the narrator. When the point of the story is revealed, the animation that came before it.

ZERGUT **** 6 mins. D: Natasha Subramaniam, Alisa Lapidus.

When you close your refrigerator door, it's war between the fresh goods and spoiled goods.

This is a well shot, high-speed photography short that uses fruit and other goods in various states of freshness and decay.

ONE MINUTE PUBERTY ***1/2 2 mins. D: Alexander Gellner.

This amusing animated short takes a quick look at the hardships that a boy must face as he goes through puberty.

DR. BREAKFAST ***1/2 7 mins. D: Stephen Neary.

In this short, a lonely man finds the value of friendship and the nefarious, all-devouring Dr. Breakfast.

This wacky short looks like Ren & Stimpy and has the vibe of a Japanese cartoon. Funny, strange and surreal.

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