The Animation Blog is deliberately varied in tone and substance, united as much as anything by my enjoyment of the shorts covered. Whatever, a lighter mood today from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Cirkus Spektakular is as described on the packet. Spectacular entertainment arrives for a grey, almost medieval, town in the form of circus master, magic cloak and rickety wagon that with a flourish is transformed into a bright explosion of life. Custard pies are thrown, fire devoured and acrobats perform miracles. There are echoes of some of the macabre Russian Flash work of recent years (see KOMS.ru for instance) except the grotesque is only hinted at, never revealed. This is a strength and a weakness perhaps. The clown can be a frightening figure, though here despite a tight and ashen face he never strays beyond the custard missile and rather predatory arms round the shoulders of the spellbound public. Thus the intimations of doom at the beginning, with dripping guttering and rats in the streets, are never realised. Instead what occurs is a transformation of three of the youngsters who acquire colour unlike the older citizens. The 2D animation is well crafted, the characters moving freely, the movie possessing a tasteful if subdued colour range given the subject is the circus. Sean McCormack, Gillian Reid and Matthew Timms directed a well produced movie, with CG work from Gary Fenn and Rufus Blacklock, music from Nik Phelps, sound courtesy Gideon Jenson, with Keith Rowsell sharing the clean up and backgrounds. An impressive piece of work, both exuberant and restrained if that is possible. Bournemouth gave us the very fine Favelados, one of whose directors, Victoria Davies (Tori), has a most readable blog. Tomorrow a different take on the circus in 3D colour.