Saturday, 14 March 2009

Abdallah Akhdar, Marion Faugaret & Quentin Vien "Mister Sandman" (Supinfocom)

The sandman creeps into your room at night, sprinkles magic sand in your eyes and dreams follow. Never been entirely happy with that concept: "Mister Sandman, I'm so alone/ Don't have nobody to call my own/ Please turn on your magic beam/ Mister Sandman, bring me a dream." Ever since Paul Berry's nightmarish The Sandman I've had my doubts about this guy. Three students from the Valenciennes campus of Supinfocom - Abdallah Akhdar, Marion Faugaret and Quentin Vien - obviously share my concern with their gripping short of 2007, Mister Sandman. The creation is a true monster: pharmacist by day, ghoul at night, frequenter of rooftops, climber through open windows, murderer of childhood. Our man has his young employee under his spell and goes a creeping to add to his collection. Then ..... What Light through Yonder Window Breaks? And Mister Sandman goes to investigate a world of innocence and colour. It is difficult to make a truly frightening animation animation. Berry succeeded in spades in his 1991 classic puppet animation with its horrific finale and clever use of silhouette. Mister Sandman is full on 3D/CG but used cleverly here with a suitably dramatic change of expression as chemist turns to psycho. The introduction of the coloured menagerie is a change of direction with the dénouement leaving some pause for thought. Well made certainly. Frightening? In parts.

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