Friday, 18 December 2009

Review of 2009: November

November had arguably the strongest collection of movies. Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker’s The Nose used such an unusual technique it compelled respect for that alone. The humour was a bonus. Stilt Walkers from Alexis Van der Haeghe was boy’s own fantasy stuff with elongated villains. Colour in abundance and a pair of grotesques in Max Crow’s well voiced The Tourist Trap. Instruments provided classy advertising, cool animation and smooth jazz for Honda. The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! from Jake Armstrong was comic book excellence, telling a tale of a fierce alien whose reputation for butchery was well merited. We inhabit a society where only the new is valued. Try Gerald McBoing-Boing from 60 years ago to test if Robert Cannon’s short has stood the test of time. (It has.) Tom Schroeder’s The Mexican Cloud-Swing Disaster was a nice amalgam of his student’s work within an artistic brief. The Cat Piano is in the running for an Oscar. Eddie White and Ari Gibson offer a stylised treat. Icarus And The Wise Men demonstrates why men continue to leap from cliffs. Soyuzmultfilm’s Fyodor Khitruk hits the spot with an economical touch. I have not seen it in a few weeks and Sheldon Cohen’s lead song from her charming I Want A Dog is still in my head, damn it. Faith and John Hubley’s Voyage To Next entertains and educates in its portrayal of man’s capacity for self destruction. The comic Le Nouveau from France’s ESMA students is superbly edited and animated. Shorter by some margin, KJFG No5 from Alexei Alexeev makes one laugh but not so much as Johannes Nyholm's stop motion and puppet saga, The Tale of Little Puppetboy. Yevgeniy Sivokon's Laziness made me think as sloth inexorably enacts its retribution. The Lighthouse Keeper ignited wonder at the tremendous visual effects and admiration of the work of Gobelins. Oskar De Rycker delighted with Walking the Dog, his hand drawn dog taking master for a walk. Bruno Bozzetto is the Godfather of not just Italian animation, wonderfully entertaining in his Lilliput Put series. The link to Oscar contender, Fabrice O. Joubert’s French Roast is now down. Long enough to impress with its café based mistreatment of pompous guy with lost wallet. Galina Barina gave us another of the impressive Russian movies in A Long Time Ago, a parable using a variation on what we in the UK know of as George and the Dragon. Chris Shepherd massacred trees in humorous fashion in Ax Men. But Brave Circus was much more sensitive in its bright 3D treatment of performing snails. Supinfocom will not be kept out. Fellow Frenchman Jérémy Clapin is a classy perfomer. Good Vibrations, apart from being wryly amusing, was a lesson in tolerance. Arts Institute at Bournemouth gave us circus entertainment in colour provoking manner in Cirkus Spektakular. Rémy M. Larochelle’s music video The Flood enigmatically captured the mood of the song and I commenced the month with Irene Fuga and Rafael Sommerhalder's Pica, a provocative work of art.


Niffiwan said...

Ian, I must disagree. I don't think "A Long Time Ago" is at all similar to "Saint George and the Dragon". The only similarity is that a damsel is sacrificed to dragon - everything else about the story and what it is representing is different.

If you'd like to see an actual Russian take on that legend, here's one:
(no translation, sorry... but it's a really good film)

Ian Lumsden said...

Point taken. The review for the month was shorthand and in emphasising the George and dragon legend I missed the main point of the film that, I hope, I developed in the main review. The legend, if I remember correctly, does have maidens being sacrificed to the dragon until George steps forward. What it does not have is the suggestion that George himself became the dragon, a key point of the animated short being discussed.

As for your suggestion of a Russian take on the legend I'll take a look.