After enjoying a couple of McLaren Animation compilation screenings at last year’s film festival, I was determined to get my tickets for this years. Apparently, this was a good idea as the event itself was sold out.
One of the great things about the McLaren Animation is that the audience gets to vote for their personal top 3 at each screening for nominating a winner plus is a chance to help build a selection for the Best of British animation through the nomination (though this does not make me a good judge in picking what should be best, it is nice to take part)
Taking each screening in order, it is impossible to give each a review so I have made brief personal comments instead
Left – This tale of two friends who drifted apart and changed as they got older, the use of tones and brightness aided the narrative to help set the mood of the characters with the paths they have chosen from childhood.
The Gravediggers Tale – A puppet animation tells of the solitary life of a female gravedigger who finds one of the burial is still alive. She decides to nurse them back to health and perhaps find love. The story has no dialogue but there is more told on the characters by the expressions given on their faces including the use of red to blush the checks along with the music to set the mood of this tale.
The House with No Doors – Interesting use of brush strokes in this animation which in the scenes where the main character paces up and down in the room go with the flow of his direction. In addition, there was good use of the music as he pretends to play the shadow of branches like a harp.
First Light – In a world where homes literal move, a factory worker comes back to find her home gone and more importantly her only companion, her pet bird. She tries to search for them, the choice of a female protagonist going through this journey was what made her journey interesting to the film and the symbolism at the end with the bird is a good use (I don’t want to tell you the end!)
Sweetie and Sunshine – Making use of the two Chinese pandas that arrived at the Edinburgh Zoo to describe couples relationships while Sweetie tries to win over Sunshine’s heart. The animation brings the emotion and humour to life in this tale.
Sandy – With the feel of beach postcards, this charming stop motion animation captures how impressionable young minds are with a real cheeky twist at the end.
I Love You So Hard (Chocolate Covered Almond) – This twisted tale of a bizarre attempt of fantasy seduction which has some humour in its madness and has a fight a rhinoceros while sky diving naked. It was a little twisted for my liking but the madness seemed to fit the style.
The Nether Regions – Brian Blessed provides a devilish voice in this stop motion as even HE grumbles at the bureaucracy in Hell and the rights of workers. Nice bit of humour.
In Sight – On busy Princes Street of Edinburgh, a man tries to attain spiritual intimacy to those around him. Not knowing details of its style nevertheless it keeps focus of the protagonist to the viewer and pleasing to the eye through out.
Everything I Can See From Here – In the game of kick about with two mates until another visitor joins. Mixes the tones to catch the mood of the environment along with the brightness of the visitor is something to note.
In the Air is Christopher Grey – A humourous (and tragic) tale of growing up using simple storytelling and clean digital animation. The achievement of telling the main and side story in this animation comes across well.
Can’t really give the above a rating as each film has it own merits.
Too Many Usual Suspects
With many directors and creators in attendance, they were all lined up at the front. It was a good job our host didn’t run by everyone’s name otherwise we might not have had time for questions in the little time they had.