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Monday, 15 March 2010

Steve Smith & Beakus "Eating For Two" (2003)

I normally feature one movie at a time and I'll get there soon enough. The fusion of two talented animation directors from rival studios into a new company is eased when they are man and wife. Thus an amalgamation of Steve Smith (Trunk Animation) and Leigh Hodgkinson (Slinky) is understandable. Add the talents of Matthias Hoegg, newly qualified from the Royal College of Art, and Bluna, an Argentinian collective, and we discover Beakus. I have featured all bar Bluna before. A new studio needs the capacity to work in different styles, from the idiosyncratic 2D Moon (Leigh) in which a cow jumps, or is it eats, over the moon, through the more prosaic, snappy, technological 3D spot for Toyota (Steve), past the beautiful elegance of Droplilism (Matthius) to the stop motion, squeezable world of plasticine (Bluna). Time for a song? How about the American band Vessels with Look For Me (Steve). The site is intelligently broken down into categories and well worth a look. There is new work, notably Leigh’s tale - or tail - for kids about a peacock Limelight Larry that explodes with colour and sound. I also learned a lot from the award winning Fun Facts (47 teeth on a mosquito, 46 after the 20 second piece) and loved the interactive piece for Save the Children, Lessons in Leadership. In the UK we have a tradition of bran tubs, in which are stored little treasures for children to explore. The site brings this to mind. So into the tub I dipped my hand and pulled out Eating For Two the subject of today’s post. A beautiful, hand drawn short, Steve’s story of Joe and Mary has that merger of humour and sadness that hits the spot. Joe, proprietor of a seaside town fish and chip shop, Joe’s Plaice, is attempting without success to get his wife pregnant. He’d love a child. Then Mary announces she is expecting and, under pressure, admits the child is not his. Not to worry though, she’s slept with God. The settings are a constant delight - under the pier, wolfing down fish and chips (tomato sauce to the fore), wind and rain incessant, paddling in the sea, little girl at the end proving her pedigree, the best line in the film ("Was he better than me?") If would-be clients sample just this one example of quintessential British humour then Beakus will enjoy the international success it clearly promises.

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