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Sunday, I went to see a film presentation of all five Academy Award nominated short animated films, put on at the Vancouver International Film Center.

I like short films for the same reason I like short stories. They’re not bound by the same rules as long-form novels and movies.

The protagonist can die in the middle.  Or at the end.  They can have shocking endings, they can afford not to make sense.

At the same time, they can’t be too boring or long-winded because there just isn’t time.  Though that’s not always the case: “The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation” by John Canemaker was as long and basically uninteresting as you’d expect it would be.  Though it was redeemed somewhat by the rawness of the dialogue between the filmmaker and his deceased father, an Italian immigrant with a notable life story.

The one I like the best was “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello” by Anthony Lucas.  Not only was it the most stylish of the bunch with a steampunk-crossed-with-“The Thing” sensibility, but the motion was the most captivating as well.  It was also the only one where the method of animation didn’t matter—the hand drawn ones were so twitchy, and 9 (a CGI one) was so polished and shiny it was like watching a Coca-Cola commercial.

Movement in animated films is never “natural” but the movements of the people and the Creature in this film were so smoothly unnatural that it seemed to be like watching a window into a slightly different dimension, one where time was a little faster and space a little more elongated.

Overall, though, if you get a chance to see this batch of films, you won’t be sorry.


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