Friday, 11 December 2009

Kristian Andrews "Rabbit Punch" (2008)

Sorry for this but Rabbit Punch pulls no punches in its treatment of an adult theme albeit the two lead characters in this tale of rural life in backwater England are adolescents. "I met Nathan when the bus routes changed." Nathan is coarse but has an attraction for the 14 year old Norfolk boy Kristian. Coarse? Repellent more like with Nathan's impossible talk of sexual exploits, firing pellets at passing cars and SAS style night-time missions against isolated houses where fireworks are posted through letter boxes, the boys camouflaged for battle. Tough talk and killing of a rabbit form part of an adolescent rite of passage that fortunately most boys grow out of. Whether Nathan made the grade I doubt. Kristian however has a heart and therefore a chance. Starry eyed adulation hopefully grows more discerning with the years. The film is based on the real life growing pains of Kristian Andrews who made it to the prestigious Royal College of Art where he graduated last year, Rabbit Punch being the graduation film for his MA. Kristian's sketchy, ink on paper drawings and fluid animation are graced by a superb cast, the principals being Carl Prekopp and Ben Conway with their soft regional accents. I found the whole drama enthralling if slightly chilling for incidents like those indulged in here can go badly wrong for all concerned. The whole piece has an immediacy I found extraordinary, delicate drawing, unflinching treatment of its subject.


loveable_homebody said...


Thanks for sharing this animation. I looked up "Rabbit Punch" on Youtube. What are your thoughts on why Kristian chose to keep this piece mostly colourless, except for items like the yellow tie? What do you think the effects of this are?

I didn't care much for this sketchy style because the constant flickering of the images really irritated me. Perhaps the flickering effect was an artistic intention? Also, why do you think Kristian mostly didn't erase the second layer of lines when the characters move? Is it too difficult to erase those lines?

I enjoyed the night scenes with the silhouettes of the two boys and the moonlight. And of course the beginning animation of the dying rabbit was chilling.

Ian Lumsden said...

Hi Loveable,

Thanks for your comments - made me think a bit. The flickering effect is akin to a flipbook with its own charm. Erasing the lines takes some time when animating but is not the reason for their existence I feel. Simply style. There's a movement against the polished look. Not that I should like all movies to be as this.

The addition of colour to an essentially black and white animation may be to emphasise the video game, for example, or to add to the visual appeal, as in the night scenes when a coloured filter is used. The suffusion of red or rose to particular scenes is both attractive and artistically significant.

Adding colour to an animation is certainly time consuming though. The traditional animation studios used to have specialists for this alone. They still do.

I enjoyed the variety of styles.