Thursday, 25 September 2008

Matthew Walker "John and Karen"

"What do you want?"
"I .. I came to apologise."
"Huh. Come in. Wipe your feet."
Matthew Walker's John and Karen is a joy. John is distressed because inadvertently he has been loose with his tongue causing pain and anguish to Karen, the person he so obviously loves. He arrives at her door to humbly beg her pardon. Karen lets him into the lounge and, over rather delicious biscuits and tea, John mumbles his apologies. The pair do not at first sight seem well matched: John is a polar bear and huge whilst Karen is a penguin and not huge. John has insulted her swimming and that is no good thing to say to one's intended life partner. Matthew's animation is one of those where the quality of the script is what triumphs. The flat English accents and deadpan humour work well here. No stirring musical score, just the sound of crunching ginger biscuits and tinkling teacup on saucer. The visual humour works well too - when Karen ferries the plate of biscuits to her guest and there is, to put it mildly, a size differential. But it's the dialogue that does it. Karen all pounting, pent-up hurt and John oh so abject, apologetic and distracted by the biscuits:
"You're a floundering mess!"
"Yeah, I am, yeah."
I've had conversations like this. James Bachman and Emma Cunniffe are alert to the nuances of the wonderful screenplay. Matthew completed a foundation course at Falmouth College of Art and Design progressing to study Animation at the University of Wales in Newport. His graduation film is one I intend to feature when I have a moment ‘Astronauts’. It won Best Student Film at the British Animation Awards and Best Graduation Film at Annecy International Animation Festival. He lives in Bristol and works on occasion for Arthur Cox and Aardman - he's got the subtle humour of the latter. John and Karen is one of the funniest movies I've featured.: "What I said was insensitive and .. I know that and .. I had no right to say it."

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