Category Archives: animated

[s] Louchebem (Laprade, Masson, Grard, Girettes, 2012)

Louchebem is a short about a grieving butcher who escapes his memories in a dance when he sees a fly.

It’s more of an artwork, than a movie, and as such it’s pretty well-done – at least, I find the animation quite curious. But, instead of a story there’s a lot of blues, which may be poetic but doesn’t make it interesting to watch. In other words, there is something in this for the eye, but almost nothing – for the mind.

Names and figures


[s] Sam (Emmanuel Aurengo, Mickael Bonfill and Romain Protet, 2014)

Sam is an animated short about an office worker who gets himself into some sort of science fiction drama when attending an expo about future technology, and is trying to handle the consequences since then.

First thing that arrests attention here is the animation, which is extremely poor in quality and elaboration of details. The story at first seems quite boring; the development with the expo was pretty good, but then it turned out it’s only to justify at least somehow all the subsequent science-fictional bullshit like the gun that restructures the matter. And then there was open finale, i.e. the film was basically suggested as a prologue to a full-length feature story, which was so obviously speculative and groundless, it really pissed me off. It’s not really worth it, but you have the choice anyway:

Names and figures

[s] Alike (Rafa Cano Méndez, Daniel Martínez Lara, 2015)

Alike is an animated short about the resemblance children and their parents bear on so many levels, with a clear message that everyday routine, however tiresome, must not become the reason to allow indifference into the family relationships, because it would probably destroy it altogether. The characters are schematic, there are almost no individual traits in any of them, everything about them screams “placeholder”. Which, I guess, makes it not a story, but rather a parable – one that strives against didacticism and tries to be entertaining instead. And it sort of is; the animation, notwithstanding the crudeness of people representation, is pretty subtle, which can be seen in small details, plus there is certain humor intrinsic to the narrative – it’s not much, but still. All in all, it’s nothing really special, nor original, but it may briefly elevate your mood, so here goes:

Names and figures

Rise of the Guardians (Peter Ramsey, 2012)

Rise of the Guardians is an animated movie about a team of guardians consisting of Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Rabbit and Sand Man, all of whom has to abandon their ordinary duties to fight this great villain (name’s Pitch Dark) who returns after centuries of absence to conquer them all. The Man on the Moon, who organized the guardians team in the first place, also decides the team should be reinforced with a new member – Jack Frost, who has been wandering the Earth for 3 hundred years by then. The five heroes manage to overcome their differences and join forces in the fight against the mighty enemy.

I see 2 significant drawbacks in this movie, – significant enough to make it unnecessary and even potentially harmful. The first that comes into attention is, of course, the animation. To some degree it’s probably a matter of habit, as thanks to the efforts of Disney, Pixar, Miyazaki and others, we got used to faces less gnarled, lineaments – smoother, colors – more balanced. But even adjusted for the habit thing, the movie still would leave a weird impression because of the characters: Santa Claus, for one thing, is Russian with a stupid accent, who uses classic music composers’ last names for expressing his amazement; Tooth Fairy looks really bizarre, and she’s surrounded with tiny fairies who do all the job for her; Sandman never says a word; Rabbit looks like a kangaroo (which, to do them justice, is embraced by the authors, and in a funny way, too). Claus’s elves look quite repugnant, plus there are many small details in the animation style and execution in general that kept throwing me off all the time.

And then, there’s the story. There is nothing original about it; it is the story of the evil returning in the most basic form of all possible only slightly (and loosely) sugar-coated here and there with gimmicks that are either middling, or crude. The set of primary characters is an indicator strong enough as it is, but in combination with the primitive, predictable, childish story, it becomes an alarming signal.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend showing this to the children, albeit they are the only ones who may take it seriously, – simply because it may educate bad taste in them.

Names and figures

Black Tape (Michelle Kranot, Uri Kranot, 2014)

Black Tape is a tiny little animation with no particular plot, but a far-reaching concept. Swift-passing characters here are broken down into pairs who are engaged in a sort-of dance, a tango of oppression. Everything happening is in absolute harmony with the music, and looks absolutely stunning. There are probably some elevated ideas this movie should (and surely can) awaken in a person’s mind, but me – I just enjoy the precision and the beauty. Here, you try it:

Names and figures

Wire Cutters (Jack Anderson, 2014)

Wire Cutters by Jack Anderson is an animated short about 2 autonomous robots extracting mineral resources on a distant planet. They worked each on their own at first, then they met and managed to form a sort of cooperation to enhance the outcome, but soon slithered into unhealthy competition, which led to both their demise.

Although this film was clearly inspired by Pixar’s Wall-E, its story still is pretty original, but most importantly – it’s really well-elaborated and consistent from beginning to end. There is nothing superfluous about the situation, individual robots’ operations, as well as their relationship, develops in a logical fashion and leads to a natural, albeit tragic, outcome. The animation is quite brilliant, too. All in all, this is a wonderful work of art, no doubt about that. But go on, see for yourself:

Names and figures

Short Anthology

Alien׃ Covenant. Prologue׃ The Crossing

The title of this one speaks for itself. I’m not sure why they present it as a short when it’s more like a trailer. Doesn’t have any artistic value on its own.

Time: ~3m
Released in: 2017
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Entertaining quality4 out of 5
Art quality:  – out of 5

Big Catch

Big Catch is a really stupid story about a shark trying to get to a fisherman. Very crude animation style, too. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be funny, but really it’s just dumb.

Time: ~4m
Released in: 2010
Directed by: Moles Merlo
Entertaining quality3+ out of 5
Art quality2 out of 5

Dust Buddies

Dust Buddies is a CGI short about so-called dust rabbits (i.e. random lumps of dust) who are fighting with evil represented by a french-looking maid with a vacuum cleaner. Animation is fine, but the story is commonplace and ridiculous at the same time. Nothing really interesting.

Time: ~5m
Released in: 2016
Directed by: Beth Tomashek, Sam Wade
Entertaining quality:  3+ out of 5
Art quality:  4- out of 5
IMDB page: link


Oktapodi is a short animation about a couple of octopuses who are fighting with a delivery driver for their life. It is a little bit funny, although mostly it’s ludicrous. Animation is okay, but hardly more than that.

Time: ~3m
Released in: 2007
Directed by: Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchand, Quentin Marmier, Emud Mokhberi
Written by: Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchand, Quentin Marmier, Emud Mokhberi
Entertaining quality:  3+ out of 5
Art quality:  4- out of 5
IMDB page: link

In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat is a short story about a boy who fell in love with another boy, and whose heart showed him the way. Literally: the heart here is a separate character and main driver of the story. All in all it’s pure, undiluted romance, without a hint of originality or significance. It’s so upbeat and romantic, there’s hardly any place for intelligence left there. I suppose, some brainless little girls would love it, but it doesn’t have any value whatsoever. Except, maybe, for animation, which is okay, but nothing special.

Time: ~4m
Released in: 2017
Directed by: Esteban Bravo, Beth David
Written by: Esteban Bravo, Beth David
Starred by: Nicholas J. Ainsworth, Kelly Donohue
Entertaining quality:  2 out of 5
Art quality:  1- out of 5
IMDB page: link

Launder Man

Launder Man is a horror short about a woman who went to do some laundry in a laundromat and got lured and attacked by a mysterious disguised man. Most of its frightening power (if it’s even a proper term here) comes from loud noises and weird makeup and props. There is no context to the story, and that makes it kind of empty, un-scary. It’s only 3 minutes, but still not worth the time.

Time: ~3m
Released in: 2017
Directed by: Landon Stahmer
Written by: Landon Stahmer
Performed by: Sean Brison, Belinda Gosbee
Entertaining quality:  3+ out of 5
Art quality:  2 out of 5
IMDB page: link

Winter’s Here / Zima prishla

Zima prishla is an animated short film about how the change of seasons. A boy dreams of the world turning all white as the winter takes over. There are characters in that play, which are traditional heroes of Russian fairy tales – the fox, the rabbit, the bear, – but no particular story outside the theme. The style of animation is exceptionally vivid and includes claymation and string art. The picture is strange and beautiful; the music is in great harmony with the image; and the overall result is quite impressive. It is sort of meditative, too. I believe, it’s worth checking out:

Time: ~6m
Released in: 2012
Directed by: Vassiliy Shlychkov
Written by: Vassiliy Shlychkov
Entertaining quality: 4 out of 5
Art quality:  4 out of 5
IMDB page: link

(v. 4.8)
®shoomow, 2017

Klementhro (Sue Dunham, 2015)

Klementhro is a very short animated film about a guy sailing on a float in the middle of the sea. It’s totally surreal, and as it often happens with surreal stories, there is no plot per se, but something large emerges from the separate events that constitute the narrative here. All in all, this is a simple, weird, and uplifting movie.

Names and figures

Short Anthology

Pigeon: Impossible (Lucas Martell, 2009)

Pigeon: Impossible is a short animated parody on Mission: Impossible film series and heavily equipped cinema spies in general. It is sort of fun to watch, but only sort of, because the story is basically an anecdote: it is completely improbable, it doesn’t have a grain of truth in it, it is based on ridiculous prerequisites, and develops in even more ridiculous way. The animation is a bit too smooth and a bit too bright. All in all, it is irritating and entertaining in more or less equal shares. Not recommended (waste of time, I call it), but check it out if you want:

Time: ~6m
Released in: 2009
Directed by: Lucas Martell
Written by: Lucas Martell, Austen Menges, Scott Rice, Gopal Bidari
Entertaining quality4 out of 5
Art quality:  3- out of 5

IMDB page: link

A Perfect Break-Up (Abhinav Pratiman, 2014)

A Perfect Break-Up is some kind of an ad; it explores movie stereotypes connected to the process of breaking-up a romantic relationship, and suggests some new ones. It’s pretty fun to watch, although there’s nothing here that could make it stick in memory for longer than 10 minutes after it’s over – no story, no characters, no real drama.

Time: ~1m
Released in: 2014
Directed by: Abhinav Pratiman
Entertaining quality4 out of 5
Art quality:  3 out of 5

A Single Life (Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, Job Roggeveen, 2014)

A Single Life is an animated short about a girl who received a mysterious package with a record that can manipulate lifespan of a particular person when played. There is no actual story here, but the idea is bright and funny, and its implementation is quite befitting. It’s really short, but manages to elevate the mood nonetheless:

Time: ~3m
Released in: 2014
Directed by: Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, Job Roggeveen
Written by: Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, Job Roggeveen
Entertaining quality5+ out of 5
Art quality:  4 out of 5

(v. 4.8)
®shoomow, 2017

My Home / Chez moi (Phuong Mai Nguyen, 2014)

Chez moi is a short animated film about a drastic change in the life of a little boy, whose mother brings home an alien person one time, brings him to stay, and that leads to certain estrangement between the mother and the son.

This is a delicate film about a very subtle story. The event in the center of it is not big, but it is significant, which is great to see appreciated – the finesse of this kind is a rare treat. Allegories constitute a large part of the implementation making the movie organically symbolical, but all the symbolism here is merely a means of storytelling and doesn’t have any value outside of this purpose. The animation style is quite notable, with colors dimmed and beautiful; one of Phuong Mai Nguyen’s strongest suits is delicate and precise re-creation of physics, especially that of movement. There are no dialogs, but all the necessary sounds are in place; the overall organization of the story makes the absence of the words seem pretty normal.

All in all, this is a sublime work of animation, totally worth checking out:

Names and figures

Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, 2013)

Monsters University is an animation film produced by Pixar studio, a prequel to the earlier Monster Inc., and it tells a story of how the friendship arises and forms between Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, two inhabitants of the Monster universe with a shared dream of becoming the most respected thing a monster can be – a scarer. When they first met as co-students in the Monsters University, they took definite dislike to each other, but circumstances forced them to join forces in order to come back to the Scarer program. Together with a looser-fraternity Oozma Kappa they enter the Scare Games, which usual prize is weighted even more with a wager: if they lose the Games, they drop out of the establishment for good, all of them. If they win, however, all of them would be welcomed to the Program.

Well, there’s not much to say, because the movie is pretty much perfect. The story is everything: serious, intriguing, funny, captivating and significant; the direction is amazing; and the acting is even better. The dialogs are quite brilliant, as well as various small findings (like the tunes the monster mama listens to while waiting in the car). The animation is flawless, and it’s style appeals so strongly to that thing in everybody’s soul that seeks comfort combined with wonderful riches of imagination and mastery.

Naturally, I cannot but recommend this beautiful film to everybody. It is absolutely delicious.

Names and figures

Double King (Felix Colgrave, 2017)

Double King is an absurd and surreal amination, but not without a narrative, which appears to be about a guy who loved attributes of power so much he literally devoured every competitor he ever met, even when he died and went to hell.

Very interesting animation style – not completely developed, but quite outstanding already. Other good qualities include incredibly rich imagination, flawless technique, and good sense of humor. All in all, it’s a powerful work; I have no doubts that future Colgrave’s films will be even better. For now you can enjoy his currently latest work here:

Names and figures

Short Anthology: Kirsten Lepore

Kirsten Lepore is an animation artist of new generation. Here’s her YouTube channel, and here’s her IMDB page. This Short Anthology edition is dedicated to some of her works that for this reason or that do not exactly fall under the definition of cinema as I understand it. Names and figures

Move Mountain (Kirsten Lepore, 2013)

Move Mountain is another top-notch animation movie by Kirsten Lepore. Like most of her films, this one is without any dialogs (that seems to be a characteristic trait of her style, actually), which makes it not very easy to understand what the story is about – in fact, there may be different interpretations; my hypothesis is that it’s about the importance of the environment when it comes to hallucinations.

Ambiguous or not, the movie is a true work of art, – beautiful, truthful and deep. It was exceptionally delightful. Maybe you’ll like it too:

Names and figures

Despicable Me 2 (Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, 2013)

So, Despicable Me 2, obviously, is a continuation of the first part. Gru abandons evil and becomes a father and not very successful entrepreneur, but then he gets recruted by the special enforcement agency that specializes on global threats to help with a case. He partners up with a female agent, gradually become attracted to her, as she – to him; at some point, a she gets abducted by the villain, and Gru rescues her. And everybody lives happily ever after. Except for the villain, of course.

I’m retelling the story in such detail because it’s completely obvious from the very beginning (with a certain wiggle room, but nothing significant), and in lack of anything more or less original. It’s a 100% kiddy film with no edge whatsoever. The animation is cool, that’s undeniable, but there are plenty of other movies out there with animation not in the least inferior to this work; the sad truth is this quality is no longer a distinction, which is why the competition takes place on a totally differet field, and that field is the story, like with everybody else. And when it comes to the story here, it’s way too soft, way too warm, way too kind. That’s probably good for little children, but it weakens the grounds for this film to claim the status of art, pretty much destroys them altogether.

By and large, it’s a decent entertainment, – I guess. Frankly, it was pretty boring to me, because of all the predictability and all. But I suppose, there is an audience for cinema like this.

Names and figures

The Neon Life (Roman Puchkov, 2001)

The Neon Life is an animated short inspired by Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles – in terms of story it is a melancholic epilogue to the human presence on Mars.

The animation is quite crude and not pretty at all (especially depictions of moving figures and building). On the other hand, its combination with the voiceover and other sounds does create the context and the atmosphere, so it kind of works, even though it’s far from perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the author continued his career in cinema – there definitely was a potential, too bad it remained unfulfilled.

Names and figures

Borba bobra s kozlom (Natalia Antipova, 2003)

This is a student’s work, and its title cannot really be translated into English, because it’s a wordplay. Basically, it’s facetious reference to the dualism of good and evil, specifically – to the struggle between these 2 poles, with one of them imagined as a beaver (dobro -> bobro[m] -> bober), and the other – as a goat (zlo -> kozlo[m] -> kozel).

As for the short itself, the animation is pretty great, as well as other components of the picture, such as the voiceover. Cosmogony described is a sort of a parody to those of ancient primitive religions, and as such is rather consistent. On the other hand, it’s not really enough to make this movie a significant one – all in all, it’s simply a joke, albeit a cute one. It is sad, though, that Antipova haven’t actually created anything large since then – it could’ve been interesting.

Names and figures

Short Anthology (Odessa Edition)

Here’s some shortfilms, none of which is worthy of a separate posting. All of these came from a regional collection of FutureShorts (Odessa, Ukraine). There were 15 pieces overall, 11 of which are basically worthless:

Aero Bik
(2004 || Directed by: Dmitry Shijan || ~3m)

This is a pure video experiment created just for the fun of it. Reimagining of the self-massage guideline. Has no purpose and no meaning, has nothing to do with cinema.

Splinters of the Gypsum Spring / Oskolki gipsovoy vesny
(2005 || Directed and written by: Anastasiya Maleeva || Performed by: Evgeniy Godenko || ~10m)

A really long sequence of random shots with a light touch of sculpture (as a line of work). There are no characters, and if there is a meaning concealed somewhere, it’s hidden way too well.

Badabooms / Babakhi
(2005 || Directed by: Dmitry Shijan || ~1m)

A sequence of baloons being popped.

A Nice Shot / Udachniy kadr
(2003 || Directed by: Vadim Nazarenko, Valery Ryazanov || Written by: Vadim Nazarenko || Performed by: Vadim Nazarenko, E. Kurmoyartseva || ~4m)

An anecdote about a photographing session with a photographer and a model on the roof. At some point model falls down, and the photographer instead of calling for help makes another shot of her lying there. Not very realistic, not very well done; sepia looks arificial.

(2005 || Directed by: Dmitry Shijan || ~2m)

Probably the only Shijan short I’ve seen that is worth more than one sentence. It shows a TV-set demonstrating an unclear, interrupting image with recitation of a children’s poem written by Korney Chukovskiy. It is made in a frightening Lynch-like style, and, unlike other Shijan works, does produce an impression. But it’s still too short to constitute something significant.

(2006 || Directed by: Gleb Katchuk, Olga Kashimbekova || Performed by: DakhaBrakha || ~3m)

A pretty but pointless videoclip for the music of band called DakhaBrakha. I don’t really care for this music videoclips, but one thing for sure – it’s not cinema. (P.S.: I didn’t like the music either.)

(2007 || Directed by: Igor Morozov || ~2m)

An animation about a robot finding beauty in something other than a flower (or whatever). The motto (yes, there is a motto): Beauty is individual. The animation is okay, although the robot looks stupid. The conceptualization is unnecessary. Overall – not that good.

Monks / Monakhi
(2006 || Directed by: Dmitry Shijan || <1m)

A sequence of people fighting each other with kung fu or whatever.

Redemption / Iskuplenie
(2006 || Directed by: Evgeniy Timokhin || Performed by: Flёur || ~3m)

Another music clip. Although, I do like the band (Flёur), it’s still just a clip – it doesn’t matter.

Chain Tape of Happiness / Kasseta schastiya
(2001 || Directed by: Gleb Katchuk, Olga Kashimbekova || ~4m)

For this video I wish the authors would burn in hell (if there is one). I get that it’s sort of a parody on various chain tapes that were popular at some point (they have almost vanished by now), but from where I’m sittiing, the difference is barely visible. It’s awful, so fuck you, Katchuk & Kashimbekova, fuck off and die.

(2006 || Directed by: Dmitry Shijan || <1m)

A sequence of news reporters saying the word of greeting – Zdravstvuyte, many times in a row. Just as meaningless as the rest of Shijan’s works.

(v. 0.1)
®shoomow, 2017

Short Anthology (RESFest Edition)

Here’s some shortfilms, none of which is worthy of a separate posting. All of these came from the anthology of the RESFest participants. Almost all of them are just a meaningless sequence of visual images and sounds.

(1997 || Directed and written by: Rodney Ascher || IMDB || ~1m)

Apparently, a video sequence meant to accompany some music.

Tongues and Taxis
(2000 || Directed and written by: Michael Overbeck || Performed by:  Jesse Schmal, Michael Overbeck, Aaron Zigman || IMDB || ~8m)

An absurd cartoon about the guy whose tongue mutated into a giant monster. May be valueable if you need to evaluate Overbeck’s amination skills, but on itself has no point and no actual reason to be.

Modern Life
(1999 || Directed and written by: Dean Mermell || Performed by: Edie Maples, Fred Adler || IMDB || ~7m)

A silent film stylization meant to convey a message that modern people are only free in their dreams (when sleeping). It’s not just a questionable concept and primitive implementation, it’s also the fact that we don’t need to watch whole 7 minutes to get that brilliant idea, 1 minute would’ve been more than enough.

Pasta for War
(2000 || Directed and written by: Zach Schlappi || Performed by: Robert Prosky, Aaron McMasters, M. McGuffin || IMDB || ~3m)

A pacifist animation which essense is coded in the title. Has no independent value, neither when it comes to the meaning, nor with the toolkit used.

(2000 || Directed by: Mike Mills || Performed by: Deanna Templeton, Ed Templeton || IMDB || ~17m)

This is a very long streak of pointless shots with certain themes sometimes surfacing here and there (like the guy painting the girl in different positions). It doesn’t develop into a story of any sort, meaning the instruments used by the author were not enough to create the context. As a result, it’s extremely boring.

Snack and Drink
(2000 || Directed by: Bob Sabiston || Performed by: Ryan Power || IMDB || ~4)

This piece is built on the same technique as, for example, A Scanner Darkly, a 2006 movie by Linklater (real footage is post-processed to look like animation and enhanced with some true animation), but unlike it has no story, because people blabbering with each other during their journey to the nearest fastfood is not a fucking story.

A Portrait of Harry
(2000 || Directed by: Thomas Trail || IMDB || ~2m)

Harry is the elderly guy who plays banjo. That’s the whole essense of the film, there’s nothing more to it. Frankly, I have no idea why people would waste time creating such bullshit, unless it’s sort of educational process landmarks, but in that case they definitely should not be linen in public like this.

(2000 || Directed and written by: Koji Yamamoto || IMDB || ~2m)

Two gingerbread rabbits are fighting each other using katanas. The title is supposed to mean something, but no meaning emerges from what is shown.

Cirkus (+The Making Of)
(2000 || Directed by: Herman Weeb || Written by: Dominique Thibodeau, Herman Weeb || IMDB || ~5m + ~8m)

This film is a heavily processed video sequence involving a roundabout and a girl in a mask, all in the effort to convey the message of circus, whatever it may mean. Completely unclear without a libretto. Also, nothing is happening here. Interestingly enough, video clip about the making of the Cirkus is more interesting (and pretty) than the actual film; and still, notwithstanding all the author’s explanations about how and why, the purpose of making this whole thing remains obscure. Another failed attempt to pass empty mystique for deep meaning.

(1999 || Directed and written by: James Kenney || IMDB || ~8m)

This one here is a symbolic representation of human interaction with the outside world. Or, at least, I think that’s what this is: the form consists of philosophycal reasoning accompanied by a sequence of video shots with fetuses yet unborn, and some of people’s names equalled to their immediate meaning in English language, so it’s kind of hard to make sense of it. Personally, I consider it bullshit.

Golden Shoes
(2000 || Directed and written by: Dame Darcy, Adam Gravois || IMDB || ~3m)

This is an animated story about who knows what. The animation is awful, the story in unintelligible.

Vision Point
(2000 || Directed and written by: Stephen X. Arthur || IMDB || ~2m)

This one is an excersise in editing and special effects. No clear message, no characters, no nothing.

(~2000 || Directed by: Dave Schroeder (?) || ~6m)

This one here is a puppet movie that looks a lot like a scene from a Rambo movie, only with action figures instead of real actors. Maybe it was conceived as a parody, but even so it’s not interesting at all. Looks pretty lousy, too.

(~2000 || Directed by: Stefen Nadelman (?) || ~3m)

This is an animated music video clip. The animation is not bad, it’s quite interesting, actually, but still – there’s no cinema in there.

The mix that I saw also includes some untitled video sequence about driving somewhere and thinking about stuff. No idea, what’s that about.

Generally speaking, it seems like the organizers of RESFest really tried to concentrate all the bullshit in one place; if that was the purpose, it can be called a success. But I, for one thing, am glad that RESFest is no more. The world does not need it.

(v. 0.1)
®shoomow, 2017

Luz (Javier Martínez, 2000)

Luz is a short animated story about a little girl counting her steps. It was a participant of one of the RESFests, but unlike most of its competitors, it has some sort of internal structure (or, at least, a resemblance of it) and a definitive hero. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it does create the context through whatever textual means it uses; also, the presence of a character, as well as the sequence of events happening to that character, is already enough to consistute a work of cinema. Two things combined together make it somewheat curious. The animantion sucks, though,  so don’t get your hopes high. All in all, the film shows a promise, but it’s far from being fulfilled.

Names and figures

Short Anthology (VGIK Edition)

Here’s some shortfilms that became prize-winners of one of the VGIK* film festivals, but are actually not worthy enough to have separate postings about:

* VGIK – Russian State Institute of Cinematography

In the Experiment / V eksperimente
(~2005 || Directed by: Elena Solodkova || 10:20)

A sort of commentary on the current of affairs with Chernobyl catastrophy site – current at that time state, of course, which is 2005. All in all seems futile and pointless – that is, if take it for an independent work of cinema. In reality, though, it’s rather a learning film, a student’s work, and as such it works rather fine. But this has nothing to do with art.

Mooning Big-Ears / Lunatye ushastiki
(2005 || Directed by: Elena Borisova || 3:06)

An animated adaptation of some children’s poem. The animation is not so bad, and theoretically something really cool could’ve been created with the use of it, but this short piece is not that. It’s more like a embryo – really small and full of potential, but far from being anything significant.

(~2005 || Written and directed by: Anton Koskov || Performed by: Anna Churina, Arseniy Kovalskiy || IMDB || 15:02)

Graffiti is a shell of a film, a jacket with no filling whatsoever. The picture is pretty, the sound is really nicely done, but there is absolutely nothing going on, there is no story: the guys just wanders around, does some random stuff, and talks a little bit to a girl in the end. Specifically, the problem here is that the director does not give enough material for the context to arise, and there’s very little text as well, – he tried to be subtle, but badly overdid it. It’s an incurable, systemic disease, nothing can be done.

(2005 || Directed by: Alexandra Khlyostkina || 4:32)

This one is a photo clip with elements of amination for a spanish song about Lenin. It’s pretty cute and sometimes funny, but the funniest thing about it is that it was awarded a diploma for her decent contribution into Leniniana, which is a collective title to a vast number of books, films, songs, etc. about Lenin, – once before it was taken seriously, but thankfully those times have passed. Although I can’t say that the author mocked at that infamous historic characters – it’s rather she used him as material without actually taking a specific stand on him. But the jury might have thought otherwise.

Anyway. So, like I said, it’s a cute thingie, but hardly more that that. Good example of an educational work of a promising but not yet mature mind.

(v. 0.1)
®shoomow, 2016

Short Anthology (Japanese Edition)

Here’s some shortfilms, none of which is worthy of a separate posting:

Mariko Takahashi’s Fitness Video for Being Appraised as an “Ex-fat Girl”
(2004 || Directed and written by: Nagi Noda || Performed by: Mariko Takahashi || Wiki || 3:19)

A parody on the fitness videos (and, specifically, some widely known one) with muscles deformed in the result of training as a token of future beauty, and poodles exercising as people. Nothing really interesting, slightly amusing.

Salaryman 6
(2002 || Directed by: Jake Knight || Written by: Jake Knight, Ryoko Tanaka || Performed by: unknown || IMDB || 17:02)

An office worker gets so submerged in his everyday routine that one day he realizes that he doesn’t remember what he was doing yesterday. To solve this problem he starst wearing a smartphone on his neck automatically enabled to take photos from time to time. He finds out that he was hit in the head with a book. (I think).

It’s not very clear what is this all about. Corrupting office routine? Japanese working culture and its negative consequenses? One thing for sure – if it is a story, it’s an incomplete one, or better say, merely a general idea of a story, with no actual essense.

(2002 || Directed by: Toshiro Sonoda || Written by: Toshiro Sonoda, Kyotaro Matsuda || Performed by: Reina Asami, Keisyu || 11:18)

A self-licensed (i.e. illegal) cab driver picks up yet another customer – a girl bearing a bag with something alive and moving inside. When arrived, she leaves the bag in the car, and the curious driver can’t help himself but look into it.

There is a semblance of a story here, but with a closer look, it is obvious that it’s just an anecdote – a number of action and events connected with each other enough to be a sequence, but not nearly enough to constitute a developing conflict. So the guy was taken by some mysterius monster from another dimension, so the girl used it to get his car, – and then what? Who is the girl, and what is her relation to the monster? There is not even a hint of an answer, – so, there is no actual story. And because of it it doesn’t matter how nice was the acting or the camera movement.

Usavich (ep. 1)
(2006 || Directed and written by: Satoshi Tomioka || IMDB || 1:40)

First episode from, apparently, a series about 2 rabbits in Gulag. The animation has nothing to do with anime, and that’s probably the most curious thing about it.

(2006 || Directed by: Isamu Hirabayashi || Written by: Isamu Hirabayashi, Ken Funaki || Website || 8:36)

A really long and boring ad about the necessity of wearing a helmet when biking. Pretty weird one, too, but that’s already a common place with Japanese ads.

The Drum Machine
(2003 || Authored by: tokyoplastic ||  Website || 1:36)

Not a film, just an animation designed for a music melody or something. Nothing particularly interesting.

Watermelon Love
(2007 || Directed and written by: Joji Koyama ||  3:06)

Hard to make sense of it, but in the aftermath looks a lot like an ad for those famous Japanese cubic watermelons. Animated, and, as always, weird. But pretty cute.

Snow Soldiers
(2006 || Directed and written by: Geoffrey Howell, Natasha Isaacs ||  3:45)

A really short documentary, or semi-documentary, of fake documentary, about the Japanese army, which soldiers are creating ice sculptures and the sort instead of creating war and destruction – all thanks to the consitutional limitations that are about to become history. The picture is too dark, the voiceover is too unemotional. All in all, curious, but not that interesting.

(Directed and written by: Satoshi Tomioka ||  1:45)

A senseless piece of animation; can be used only as a sort of portfolio, a demonstration of the director’s computer effects skills.

Coinlaundry XYZ
(Directed and written by: Satoshi Tomioka || IMDB || 8:02)

Same thing as Exit above, but much, much longer. I can’t produce a single thought about the works of Tomioka, I don’t understand why anybody would need them. They may be even good – in their own way, – but I don’t seen a single reason for them to exist.

(Directed and written by: Jordan Feldman || Performed by: Fabio Zenoni, Zoé Félix, Roberto B., Jacques Houssaye, Fanchon Brasseur-Bilbille ||  IMDB || 5:15)

A cute little film about a pretty girl walking into a noodles diner and attracting everone’s attantion to herself, including that of the main hero. The film ends with a slightest touch they share when she sits next to him to eat – it’s actually way too subtle, and gives no sensation of closure,  –  it feels more like a sudden stop at the middle of the sentence. A hint  at the story is not a story – there’s just not enough material.  If only Feldman though of a clearer exit; but like this it’s too soft to be cinema.

Also in this issue: some unnamed animation about stuffed bear going back to nature. Just as pointless as the most of them.


(v. 0.1)
®shoomow, 2016

Mount Head / Atama-yama (Koji Yamamura, 2002)

Atama-yama is a pretty wild animation film about this guy who got a tree growing from his head, and, eventually, a whole culture developed under that tree.

The story is a fairy-tale one, seems to be Japanese native, at that I have definitely seen something similar in the soviet animation heritage – and it was equally difficult and unfun. Although, consistency is an integral characteristic of this work, and the animation is very professionally made, I cannot imagine a person who would willingly watch this film or others like it – it’s just too much work for an entertainment, and not enough meaning for a serious product.

Names and figures

Road to the Stars / Doroga k zvezdam (Pavel Klushantsev, 1957)

Doroga k zvezdam is a semi-educational, semi-fictional look at the process of exploration of outer space by humanity, with notes of a soviet standpoint on the matter. It was made few years before the first man actually walked out into space, which makes some of its prognoses all the more impressive.

It is roughly divided into 2 halfs, first of which is dedicated to the origins of the space development, including bits of Tsiolkovskiy’s biography and explanation of his ideas and calculations. This was pretty interesting to me, because I haven’t really reflected much on how rockets work, for example, or the conditions that make travelling into space possible, – that kind of stuff is elucidated here in a simple yet comprehensive way, and can be used as a sort of educational program, even though the science, as well as the engineering, made significant progress since then.

The second part is about the future; the authors look into what lies ahead before the humanity in the nearest decades (and these predictions seem to be outstandingly exact), and even try to reach probable further stages, but this part may be the least interesting, because these forecasts didn’t actually came true, not all of them anyway, so they basically look more like a Jules Verne’s fantasies rather than scietific prognoses.

The animation is mostly illustrative. Special effects look pretty great, especially considering when the film was made. Ideology is almost absent, and those pieces that still made their way into the narrative, are easy to ignore. All in all, it’s an extremely interesting film with great potential to inspire future outer space explorers.

Names and figures

Short Anthology

Here’s some shortfilms, none of which is worthy of a separate posting:

Meshes of the Afternoon
(1943 || Directed and performed by: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid || Written by:  Maya Deren || IMDB || 14:32)

This one is apparently deemed an important landmark for the surrealistic cinema or something – by the critics, that is, who repeatedly included this film into some ratings. I personally don’t find anything attractive here. It is a silent piece, and there’s very little of them titles, so it’s kind of hard to understand what’s going on without some kind of libretto; and to top it all, there’s surrealism all over the place, meaning the story (if there is one) is not very easy to comprehend in the first place. From where I standing this looks like a jumble of more or less random scenes rather than a story, and I really can’t take it seriously.

(2005 || Directed, written and performed by: Nash Edgerton || IMDB || 04:47)

Edgerton’s pieces are always bright ones, yet they rarely have any substance below the surface. Lucky would be a perfect example here: what we see is a situation and some person reacting to that situation, but we don’t have anything beyond that, whether these are preconditions, the events leading to the current state, or the consequences effecting anybody other that the hero. It’s a bottled situation without any development whatsoever, and yes – it’s a vivid one and grim, I’ll give him that, but in order to be considered cinema that’s not enough.

Tales of Mere Existence
(2002 || Directed and written by: Lev Yilmaz || IMDB || 07:38)

This is a micro-anthology of short aminated films; it includes 5 pieces overall: Procrastination, Good Looking, Balance, Subtext and The Times I Have Smoked Pot. All these films constitute rather basic observations about life and stuff, and as such they are cute and amusing, – but hardly more than that. The amination is minimalistic, or in this case better say primitive, – but once again it touches with frankness and simplicity. However, I don’t see this thing as a story; moreover, I don’t see how the technique employed might grow into anything bigger than just self-entertainment.

Quietsch [Squeal]
(2005|| Directed and written by: Baran bo Odar || IMDB || 07:15)

Here’s another experiment, – also with no story whatsoever; it’s built on some general, ambiguous conception of connectedness of everything in the world. Maybe not everything, but certain things by categories… Well, all in all the idea is not original; the implementation is really pretty and well thought-out, but the lack of purpose, and, while we’re at it, uncertainty when it comes to applying this form onto something else, say, a story, – that’s a deal breaker. I don’t care much about the fact that the director tends to perceive the world in a mystical way, but when all he has to say about stuff is some radiant babbling, I’m not interested.

(v. 0.1)
®shoomow, 2016
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