Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Oscar Short Film: Animated

This year's nominees for best animated short film are:

Feral -- Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
Haunting and absorbing, Feral is a hand-drawn animated short, a rendition of the wolf-child myth. Sousa draws humans as shadows without eyes or a mouth. The wolf-child communicates most frequently by baring his teeth. The most chilling moments are when the wolf-child begins to assimilate; he literally becomes what he has touched--a wooden door, a shadow human--and then he is gone.

Get a Horse! -- Lauren MacMullan and Dorthy McKim
Mickey and Minnie rebooted. The famous mice, along with their friends and their nemesis, a lecherous cat, move back and forth in time through a movie screen. Old cartoon style. New cartoon style. If you saw Frozen you have already seen this short.

Mr. Hublot -- Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
A stop-motion CGI mashup inspired by Stephane Halleux's sculptures. Each frame invites the viewer into an exquisitely detailed, steampunk future. Hours could be spent investigating every corner of the main character's house, the contraptions he uses, and the city he lives in. This is a sweet story about a lonely, futuristic man/machine and the dog/machine that he grows to love. 

Possessions -- Shuhei Morita
We are told up front that old tools play tricks on people. A man enters a house to wait out a storm and is set upon by discarded umbrellas! I couldn't help thinking of my vacuum cleaner trundling through World of Warcraft. 

Room on the Broom -- Max Lang and Jan Lachauer
A children's story, narrated by Simon Pegg, about a witch and her animal companions who work together to overcome obstacles.  Based on a book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, it has the same cozy look and feel as their Gruffalo series. Sally Hawkins is the voice of the bird. It is always good to hear her voice. 

Two films that were not nominated for the Oscar, but are wonderful:
(1) A La Francaise a hilarious pairing of chickens and late 1700s, Louis XVI, extravagance!

(2) The Missing Scarf a squirrel and his woodland friends discuss/try to solve their problems, our galaxy's problems, and the universe's problems. (narrated by George Takei!)

Next week: Oscar Short Film: Live Action!
Thank you The Charles Theater for screening Oscar shorts.

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