Animation Block

Posted January 23, 2010 in
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Deux Regards

Director: Kangmin Kim

 If there were a music video block here at Slamdance 2010 this film might’ve been more at home there. Within a block of films containing substantial character elements and emotional involvement, Deux Regards feels a little thin on substance and entirely too short. Despite this, the throbbing, ominous string music and images of decomposing, tangible materials project an intensity and mood that’s well worth experiencing.

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Synchronicity Series

Director: Eileen Reynolds

 A ghostly line of stop-motion-animated figures clothed in white performs  a stiff dance of coordinated undulations and group movement. The film’s synopsis declares it a symbol of human cooperation, but this sense of meaning is almost entirely unsupported by the images present. Having read no synopses  prior to the screening, I was struck with a sense of disconnected tranquility–of movement that is a world apart from our own. This is a wholly disparate tone from the stated intention. Regardless, the piece is vivid and, in one way or the other, successful.

official site

slamdance film guide

 

 

 

Over the River and Through the Higher Dimensions

Director: Dillon Markey

 Markey’s tale of a grandma who builds her grandson a time machine and patiently explains the basics of string theory ties with Seed as my personal favorite of this year’s animation shorts. This colorful film is thoroughly successful in mixing a narrative that is very well paced  with impressive stop motion work (certainly no easy task). Markey’s wire-animation will blow you away. In a film full of technical bravado, what impresses me most is the attention paid to humor and lively narrative pacing–Markey uses his animation abilities to supplement his vision, allowing his film to rise far above the "technical demo" feel of many experimental animation shorts.

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slamdance film guide

 

 

Patience of the Memory

Director: Vuk Jevremovic

 This film requires no review. It serves as a visual memory of the city of Dresden, and is simply a beautiful way to spend seven minutes. Just how it was animated lies beyond my grasp and understanding–it appears as a living, breathing oil painting that shifts and animates itself brushstroke by brushstroke. See it and be happy.

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Gul (Flower)

Director: Adnan Hussain

 Gul is visually singular: computer animated characters and environments are "painted" over with a hand-drawn feel that is, in fact, also rendered by the computer. As a narrative, Gul trips over its own congested symbolism and ends up a tad convoluted (I’d liken it to many an anime plotline). Luckily, in this medium, storyline isn’t necessarily a lynchpin factor, and Gul delivers an intriguing visual style to sustain one’s interest. The palate is vivid and every frame has a great sense of movement and vibrancy.

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slamdance film guide

 

 

Together!

Director: David Sheahan

 It’s like Ren and Stimpy on crack! . . . Then again, Ren and Stimpy were already pretty cracked out . . . so maybe it’s like Ren and Stimpy on some new psychedelic that David Sheahan cooked up in his basement.  Whatever it is, I love it, and am very happy to see some traditional hand-drawn animation in the festival this year. The characters are deliciously original and every scene is damn hilarious. I could’ve easily watched a feature-length narrative with these characters. My hat’s off to you, sir.

slamdance film guide

 

 

Roue

Director: Taili Wu

 Roue is beautiful, soft, dreamy, and technically impressive. Do not expect narrative elements: Roue is a progression of images. This, as a blueprint for a film, depends almost entirely on the potential for said images to invoke feeling in the viewer in and of themselves. Roue falls short of generating this emotional involvement, and as such, views much like an impressive technical demo. Film students will undoubtedly enjoy it—the rest of us will too, but for more vaguely stated reasons.

official site

slamdance film guide

 

 

Visit

Director: Kangmin Kim

 A dreamscape of a city—a cardboard and paper mâché metropolis of nostalgia.  Visit is one man’s daydream of the city he’s traveling through by train. The city towers like a phallic monster. The city plays sexual symbol and uninterested stranger all at once. Symbol-heavy films with no text or dialog sometimes become murky and vague as they attempt to make the viewer see. Visit is a welcome exception: what it portrays could be said to be memory, or maybe what it portrays simply must be portrayed, as there are no suitable words. Decide for yourself.

slamdance film guide

 

 

Ledo and Ix Go to Town

Director: Emily Carmichael

 As a video game writer (when film festivals aren’t knocking on my door), I enjoy the Ledo and Ix movies immensely—probably more than most, as they don’t fail to produce a giddy nostalgia in me, while keeping me laughing with gloriously spot-on geek humor.  However (and it’s a big however) I feel that this film, as well as its predecessor, represents a divergence from the tenets of originality, technical ability, and artistic merit that appear so readily in every other animated selection, both this year and last. The film is hilarious for the right audience and successful in its way, but stays so firmly within the boundaries of its kitschy universe that I find myself wondering why I’m watching what feels like youtube webisodes when I came to Slamdance for art. That being said, I still eagerly anticipate episode three.

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Seed

Director: Ben Richardson and Daniel Bird

 If Dr. Seuss were a gritty modern filmmaker with a penchant for psychedelics, The Butter Battle Book might’ve ended up looking a mite like Seed. Easily the technical star of Slamdance’s 2010 animations, Seed tells the highly unique story of the lifecycle and tribulations of an egg and an apple. Running at an astounding 24fps, the animation is both hallucinatory and thoroughly tactile. The story has a satisfying arc, the music is well utilized—every aspect of production successfully culminates in what has to be one of the most wholly original bits of cinema I’ve seen in years.

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slamdance film guide

 

 –Jesse Hawlish

 

Screening Times:

Friday, January 22, 2010 - 3:00pm - Technicolor Gallery

Tuesday, January 26,2010 - 11:00am - Technicolor Gallery

 

 –Jesse Hawlish