Monday, 25 January 2010

Carlos Stevens & Brian Kinkley "Toumai" (2008)

Toumai is the 2008 thesis film of Carlos Stevens and Brian Kinkley from the Art Institute of Portland. Not without ambition, it concerns the destruction of mankind’s natural habitat and its replacement by high rise buildings and pollution. This is not the most original of themes though given an unusual slant in that mankind is represented by one man who emerges fully clothed from the ocean, rampages through a paradise of plants and flowers before attempting an Icarus flight, laden down with the weight of the world in all its ghastliness. Icarus needed the sun to melt the wax: here the heat spews out from chimneys. An unusual mix of 3D and stop motion with an excellent score from McCay Marshall, the short has appealing moments, for example as the buildings career upwards like pop ups or the guy clutches a flower, low budget Avatar style (though not necessarily any the worse for it.) A short, enjoyable film with comparatively long credits! Bent Image Lab and Sarah Hulin provide the common threads, linking to last week’s post on Rob Shaw, Sarah being involved in the stop motion work with both films. Toumai, by the way, is the name given to the 6,000,000 year old skull of our earliest known ancestor discovered in Chad. In that central African country Toumai meant "hope of life".

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