The Fourth Dimension (US/Rus/Pol) (review)
Unfortunately, I didn't make it in to the venue for the first of the three short films that make up this trilogy, each linked together by the concept of the fourth dimension: time. It's reminiscent of Tales from the Golden Age from a few years back The Lotus Community Workshop starred Val Kilmer and what I saw of it might have been the best of the three but, oh well.
Chronoeye (Rus) - Grigory is a single man, living in an inhospitable tower block. But he has some secrets. First, he is a scientist, and one that turned down an awful lot of money some time ago when he proved an unsolved theorem. Second, he's just built a time machine. It can't do much but with it he can see through the eyes of people at any given point in history. But usually at interesting point, the average person is doing nothing special. Grigory is distraught, and his noisy neighbour, who plays thumpy music in the flat above all day, isn't helping, but maybe he is looking in the wrong place for fulfilment. 7/10
Fawns (Pol) - Four dropout teens happen upon a village, completely deserted. With nothing holding them back they indulge their temptation to loot and filsch through people's houses, joyride, and generally be douches. But the klaxxons in the background warn of an impending danger. Frustrating though it is to see the wasters do their thing (especially the gormless ones) but it's setting the scene for the last act. 7/10
Louis Le Prince Short Film Competition 4
Eileen Pratt (Australia) - Treated as trash from the start, Eileen Pratt has led a lonesome life. On her last warning at the bus company, she needs to keep her head down. A sad tale of a forgotten person. 7.5/10
Date Setters (Nor) - A date is set when they must all come together and perform their well-rehersed act. Men and women dress for the occasion and meet together in a cold, empty room. And then out come the guns. A strange entry about the practice of date setting. 5/10
Mikhobbi Fi Kobba (Fra) - Young Amal came home drunk from a party, and her mother suspects the worst, but to Amal's dispair she is more ready to take brother Firas's explanation of last nights events and the reasons for her injuries. But someone is lying and the truth is not going to be easy to take. A good film about the problems when a person is torn between culture and family. 7.5/10
King of Comics (Ger) (imdb)
This one was a squeeze to get in as it conflicted with the short films beforehand, but given the iffy nature of the equipment over the last few days I decided to chance my arm on a ticket and leave the short films before they finished. Ralf König is a gay man in Germany, responsible for some of the early gay scene comics beginning in the 1980s. This documentary profiles the man via Rene, a huge fan from Switzerland who doesn't try to hide the fact that he's besotted with König, as much as with his work.
As König's art gained popularity, and even some mainstream acceptance in Germany, he found the subject matter changing from mainly humorous skits on what it meant to be gay, to a more political stance; he was asked by the German health council to help promote condoms among the gay community, which at that point considered them only as an anti-baby device, and in response to the episodes with the catholic church and the Islamic embassy bombings, began to see his work as an affecter of change, or a mirror up to the evil. Djinn Djinn, one of his later (and frankly as ballsy as you can get) books, looks at homosexuality in Islam, and in the Taliban.
König's work is comical but explicit, so will be shocking to many who see it, although his style of art, and the comedy within his the cartoons (many of which are shown and read out by the man himself, on one of his book tours) are disarming and funny even for straight people, which explains his cultural appeal across sexual boundaries. Noses will be put out of joint and tolerances tried with the content, but I am confident König will win over all but the most phobic of viewers. 7.5/10
British Animation Panorama: Animate Wildly
A selection of British animated films, too numerous to make it into the competition this year.
Jamon - Hose the pig boy can't work out why he's so different to the rest of his family, until a chance sighting of his porcine neighbour highlights his true origins. 7/10
Things Change - Someone managed to get use of a large brick wall, and used it to paint a scene of an industrial town growing, and then falling to ruin, as everything does. An epic project nicely done. 7.5/10
Seen and not Seen - A black and white charcoal world is not enough for one office drone, but he finds it difficult to keep his new found colourful outlook on life hidden once he has tasted it. A messy scribble of a work without a focus, lets down what could have been much better. 6/10
Blue - A boy is born invisible and is painted blue so he can be seen. Now an adult, he has been unable to become close to anyone, until a strange red woman appears on the bus. Sweet but a bit hackneyed. 7/10
Cherrywood Cannon - Richard E Grant narrates a story of a terrible ruler of a faraway land, who hears of an all-conquering cannon of ages old, which he declares must be rebuilt to fight 'the enemy'. Just a shame he didn't read the whole story. Stringy, wretched characters haunting a desolate world. 7.5/10
Belly - A surreal trip to the seaside by two friends. One is lost at sea, leaving little Oscar and his imaginary friend to go find him. A huge and hungry whale at the bottom of the sea holds him but Oscar must give something away in return. Not bad but a bit confusing. 6/10
Countdown - The final moments before blastoff are animated using simple shapes and lines to describe knobs and dials, as everything gets ready. A thumping techno soundtrack and a blast of colour lifts it. 7.5/10
Tosh - In a satirical style mocking the fancy paintings in big houses, the confession of an arrogant, pridefull toff lays bare the mysoginy and exclusivity of the spoilt upper class. 7/10
Aeolian - A strange little creature, the size of a grain of wheat falls to earth, and as he learns about the natural world around him, the beauty and the brutality, the life and death, he grows until he reaches his destination. Beautiful and relaxing. 8/10
My Face In Space - A story about Larry Wilson, one of the people whose picture was taken and sent into space in the Voyager space craft. How he handled the fame, and what happened when the aliens didn't come. 7.5/10
World Animation Award 2
Just for good measure, there was a load more animated films in competition as well, though due to some equipment issues a couple of the films had to be dropped.
The Last Bus (Slo) - Shown again from yesterday as it had knacked up that time. 7.5/10
Body Memory (Est) - This film cut out before the end, but it's carnage. String people, locked up in a crate are violently unravelled out of existence by an unknown foe. (Not scored)
My.. My.. (Chn) - Silent films with intertitles are brought sort of up to date, as a cartoon man enters a psychadelic world and promptly has his clothes stolen. Chasing the thief naked through an 8-bit platformer-style environment, he is thwarted at every turn. Crazy, funky, playful and colourful. 8/10
Junkyard (Bel/Ned) - A chance clash with a mugger on the subway ends in tragedy for Paul, but not before his life flashes before his eyes and reminds him of the person plunging the knife into his chest. A neat little film let down slightly by some unexpressive faces on the main players. 7.5/10
Next Door Letters (Swe) - A sweet little film about two girls who plot to tease another in their class by sending a false love letter to her. Unexpectedly, Melitia writes back and intrigued, Lilja keeps the correspondence going as the two become closer. But at some point she is going to find out. An initially off-putting art style is overcome by a tale based on a true story. 7.5/10
Moxie (UK) - A deeply surreal tale about the last days of a hedonistic, existential bear in his constantly ablaze flat. Crazy mad. 6/10
Berlin Recyclers (Ger) - Stop motion on the streets of Berlin, looking into darkened corners to see the animated life within, made completely from rubbish picked up off the floor. Random and thumping but ok. 7/10
Much Better Now (Aus/Ita) - A lonely bookmark, trapped in a weighty volume gets a chance of something more exciting when a window flutters the pages about. Cool animation and a positive vibe. 7.5/10
Shelved (NZ) - Two robot warehouse workers scoff as a leaving card for one of their colleagues gets passed around. Someone is getting replaced.. by a human! Realistic CGI interacting with the real world on a low budget, but the sound was off. 7/10