‘International Animation Showcase’ SFF 2018 Review

This collection of animation from around the globe offers vignettes of varied themes, concepts and media; all equally wonderful in their own way. It is mind-blowing trying to fathom the amount of time and effort that went into each short, even those as brief as two minutes. A fine example of this is The Battle of San Romano (2017, Switzerland, Georges Schwizgebel); meticulous hand-painted scenes on glass, based on a famous triptych of a battle in Italy during the 15th Century.

Nothing disappointed but a few were stand-out gems : Afterwork, Five Thirty Five, Negative Space and Wednesday With Goddard.

Afterwork (2017, Ecuador, Luis Uson, Andrés Aguilar) is in keeping with the classic Tom and Jerry theme of tormentor and victim. Featuring a rabbit that never succeeds in catching a cheeky carrot on set, work becomes real(?) life when the vexing vegetable appears in the rabbit’s home fridge. The strange lifespan of cartoon characters is further distorted, leaving food for thought…

Five Thirty Five (2017, U.S.A., Alex Dunford) is a crazy commute for office workers, somewhat reminiscent of Parker’s fantastical animation in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The monotony of a city job is broken by a life-threatening invasion of gargantuan objects and morphing obstacles. “Taxi!”

Negative Space (2017, France, Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata) offers a strange yet endearing relationship between a son and his father, forged by a regimental, non-sentimental approach to packing a suitcase for travels. A collage of luggage and landscape and the revelation there is precision even in death.

Wednesday with Goddard (2016, U.K., Nicolas Ménard) interweaves basic animation with exquisitely detailed pencil drawings, taking us on an ingenuous man’s existential journey and quest for God. Questions are not always answered, despite love being found, and despair is echoed in a lonely bath tub.

SFF’s International Animation Showcase is just as it’s titled; a transnational array of art, giving the viewer what they often seek at the cinema: escapism from the mundane. The only negative being that some warrant longer screen time.

For more films and info visit sff.org.au