Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Steve Smith & Bluna (Beakus) "Stuffed" & MTV (2010)

I featured the work of new studio Beakus a week or so back. A legacy from his time at Trunk, Steve Smith wrote and directed Stuffed, a new mini-series for BBC Comedy Extra. It is an adult cartoon with an unusual premise. Spiky haired "Brat" keeps a static teddy "Bear" in his garden shed, subjecting him to all manner of humiliation. The episode featured in the link has pink Lady Bear Bear introduced to Bear, triggering determined attempts to charm her, as well as introducing his charming abode and displaying his literary knowledge. Meanwhile Brat sticks up rude words on the wall and inflates a condom way beyond bear size. Bear’s accent is pseudo-Russian, Brat’s behaviour strictly adolescent, as is the humour - how long adolescence lasts is debatable. Bear is static though I detected a sigh as Lady Bear Bear is bowled over by the literary exploits. A rule of thumb with adolescents is not to let them have dens, girls, beer, internet.... Adult fun but meanwhile Bluna, the Argentinean collective working with Beakus, have created three idents for MTV that in their full on CG style, decidedly Japanese anime inspired, add a dimension to the new studio. The guys have just moved into their new London premises, a converted pub by the Thames near St.Katherine's Wharf. Heaven indeed: pub and studio.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Matthias Hoegg "August" (2009)

I recently posted a preview of Matthias Hoegg's excellent short film, August, made at London's Royal College of Art. Well the good news is that he has (literally) just uploaded it to Vimeo. Set in a baking English summer, a group of teenagers make merry on a campsite whilst beneath their feet tiny ants go about their own business. The parties co-exist and never meet though the giant cast-offs of human activity leave their mark in ant land. As you watch this thoroughly stylish film remember that Matthias is still to complete his masters, his thesis film due to be completed in June. You may also realise why Beakus have already signed him up to their new team - and, quite coincidentally, there is more about his new company tomorrow.

Emma Calder "The Queen's Monastery" (1998)

Plot rarely tells the story. The bare bones of Emma Calder’s The Queen's Monastery are easily related. Woman in black remembers her acrobat husband before he returned from war a broken man. The six minute film has an inspiring soundtrack from Czech composer Leoš Janáček whose Sinfonietta triggered Emma’s film. The music was itself inspired by a military band, the texture of the piece translated quite brilliantly by the director, from cart wheeling acrobat to marching soldiers. If the music is inspiring so is the technique. Emma uses watercolour in an extravagant, lush application as in the close-ups of the lovers embracing, the girl tweaking the military moustache in comical fashion; at other moments the brush strokes are mere dabs or lines, almost stick men as the troupe of acrobats form their tableaux or the woman’s lover dances in front of her voluminous dress. The film hints at emotion or events, the woman turning away from her dark room towards the sea, an image intermingled with the billowing curtains, whilst the impassioned wartime scenes has soldier fighting soldier, a battle that continues on the domestic front as embracing lovers are interrupted in a ravishingly depicted fight scene. Remorse, guilt, loneliness and fantasy are elements explored in an at times richly coloured and always symbolic romance that I am surprised is not better known. It was the first animated film to receive money from the UK's National Lottery. The enigmatic title puzzled me: a tragic Queen landlocked in a dark monastery. Leoš was a choirboy and later director at the Augustinian Queen's Monastery in Old Brno, Moravia.


Monday, 29 March 2010

Rob Shaw "I’m Impressed" & "Computer Assisted Design" ( 2007 & 2008 - They Might Be Giants)

Rob Shaw recreated Rome in paper for I’m Impressed, a 2007 music video for They Might Be Giants. It features a Rome peopled by robots, gladiatorial combat in an unforgiving arena and an historically novel means of disposing of the losers, though ultra modern given the need to hide evidence - no war crimes here. Kings and emperors had little going for them in bygone days save baths, concubines and entertainment in full 3D. Must have been hell. Short lived though. When the robots attack their master it is a case of thumbs down and Et tu, Brute? The pulsating track, humour and sheer novelty of the paper chariots and combat make for a striking video, particularly as the paper guys battle with lighted matchsticks. Rob also made Computer Assisted Design, for the same band: "See how you get from a thought to an object" sings the child and the video does exactly that, varying between 3D computer modeling of dinosaurs and stop motion figures made out of cork, magnifying glass for eyes, wielding an HB pencil. Again the fresh inventiveness of the piece is what makes for compelling video, a child’s guide to animation techniques from a master of the genre. One of the directors at Portland’s Bent Image Lab, I featured Rob’s The Machine in January.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ghislain Avrillon "Galileo" (2009)

Galileo challenged the world view and was vindicated although he had to take hard knocks from contemporaries. Galileo, the film from Ghislain Avrillon, has a small boy pursuing his passion of flight, leaping off a floating island, his steam propulsion machine lacerating the sky, plummeting to the ground and attracting the attention of a pretty young girl and her butterflies. Not to be deterred by defeat, inspired, watched over by his new girl, he returns to the drawing board before launching himself into another gravity defying feat. The flat backgrounds of sky island and workshop, together with the Flash animation, are subtly integrated in a gentle world of soft colour and cute figures. The skilled use of the Adobe software is complemented by a soothing soundtrack of Isabelle Dorange’s voice and the music of Gildas Le Goff. A nice weekend piece before the maelstrom of work. Ghislain graduated from L’Ecole Pivaut.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Viral Factory "Earth Hour Countdown" (WWF Hot Chip 2010)

I made it just in time. "In support of this year's Earth Hour happening, the 27th of this week, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not wrestling:) has teamed up with Hot Chip and The Viral Factory to release an animation video that's controlled by the light your webcam detects in your room. Don't have a cam, well, you can also toggle a fake virtual switch to see the difference. Point is, one hour, this Saturday, spread the word." What you get on the YouTube version is a cheery, athletic guy making his merry way over a series of obstacles; try the webcam controlled link and you obtain a different view entirely. Fun and, as I have just discovered, it works. And I've spread the word.

Katie Armstrong "Goodbye Sorrow" (2009)

Goodbye Sorrow is full of references to blue though strangely the colour does not predominate in Katie Armstrong’s sad little movie about coping with sorrow. The first impression is the arts and craft look, the split screen with the hand drawn images, textile for the eiderdown, the plaintive unaccompanied cover of a song, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" , totally unknown to me (by Euro band Eiffel 65 as it happens). Katie’s tuneful voice and the images of loneliness are ideally suited to each other. Lying in the bath, cloud centred over the head, gazing at the birds in the sky, digging a hole for oneself, allowing autumn leaves to flutter down on oneself. We’ve all been there. "Blue are the words I say and what I think. Blue are the feelings that live inside me. I'm blue da ba dee da-ee dabba dee-a dabba dea da ba dee dabba da..." Moronic lyrics but positively sage-like in the SVA student’s hands. For the record, Katie made thousands of ink and water colour paintings, scanned into the computer and animated in Flash. A word or two about the link - telegraph21 is a video magazine featuring the best documentaries, films and art videos from around the world. It has some interesting articles, interviews and material one cannot obtain elsewhere. Lucky people, the team divide their time between Barcelona and New York: Spain for work, NY for play, or something like that. I must speak to management about a twin base for the Animation Blog.

Friday, 26 March 2010

George Dunning "The Flying Man" (1962)

The Flying Man is a movie one is told everyone should see. An experimental film, it won Grand Prize award at Annecy in 1962. The Canadian director, George Dunning, is remembered as the man in overall charge of The Beatles’ psychedelic explosion of 1968, Yellow Submarine. (Also the only man so involved to wear a suit throughout.) Painted with the palest of pastel a man arrives on screen, divests himself of his clothing and flies, though swimming in the air would be a better description. A further man enters with dog. Dog attacks discarded clothes. Flying man descends. Dresses. Leaves. Dog owner fails to fly. Leaves. Man kicks dog. The images are delineated in the most lean fashion though I have to say their bare simplicity has a charm, as do the flickering, disappearing dabs of colour. Ron Goodwin’s music also is perfectly fine but summarily dispensed with in the middle section. As I say, one of the must see films and I’ve seen it.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Alex Weill "One Rat Short" (2007)

If you are fortunate enough not to already know Alex Weill’s wonderful 2007 film, One Rat Short, you will be happy, after a fashion, for it is a very fine movie with an ending that will move you. It commences in a city railway station where rats hunt in a pack for food. One chases an errant food wrapper with near fatal consequences in a tense confrontation with a ventilation fan. Quite sufficient for one movie perhaps save that the rodent explores a quite different world where there are rats aplenty in brightly lit conditions, robot eyes keeping watch and every likelihood of an early death. The rats are white and their home a laboratory. Romance flairs in the most unlikely of neighbourhoods and brown and white rats enjoy each other’s fleeting company. The 3D work is excellent, the grime and gloom of the early scenes contrasting with unnatural brightness of the lab. The rats are a conspicuous success, especially the gutter rat. It is never romanticised, its twitching whiskers and fur never cuddly. Indeed the action, within reason, is realistic enough. There is a sentimentality of sorts but as I said, fleeting. Alex explains his approach in the blurb attached to the YouTube link above. One of my favourite films this year and sure to be in the running in the end of year awards!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Aardman: Wallace & Gromit "Smartpower" (npower 2010)

One of the UK’s largest power companies, npower, knows what it about and uses that great British institution Wallace & Gromit in their advertising. The latest ad, Smartpower, has the intrepid pair notably more tepid as they watch Revenge of the Killer Watts on their wide-screen TV complex, not to be confused with the multi screens at a cinema near you. Aardman technology is not Odeon. Oil paintings follow Gromit with their eyes and looming shadows terrify but there’s a new W&G character, Penny from npower, to calm nerves and offer a free smartpower electricity monitor, the results of which are genuinely terrifying for Wallace. All the usual gadgets, humour and a warmth of character that no meter can measure. Plus there are Eco friendly prizes and unique W&G claymation models to be won in their competition, the link to which has widescreen versions of the previous classy ads in an unfailingly entertaining campaign. Finally, ten fun facts from Aardman:

1. The commercial took four weeks to shoot

2. This is the first time Aardman has animated the new Penny character – who is a call centre operator for npower

3. The material on TV was added after the character animation in the post production stage although it was shot at the same time as the rest of the commercial. It features a haunted house built from foam core, an animatable door that slams open in the "we’ve created a monster" shot, and extra gravestones and trees for the foreground

4. The flying bats in the opening shots were produced by one of our 2D artists and were then added to the TV footage

5. The opening shot of Wallace & Gromit watching the TV was created using 10 layers or plates, which were then combined in post production to create the finished sequence. The plates included the character animation pass plus various plates for different elements, the lamp in the foreground (which features sheep as a reference to the previous npower commercial "Insheepsulation"), and various lighting plates to create flicker from the TVs

6. The smart energy monitor was designed to make it fit into Wallace & Gromit’s world. The real monitor looks very modern so we had to "Wallace-ify" it by making it look metallic with rivets.

7. Aardman used 31 TV’s in the commercial that took a day to rig into position. Some of them had miniature lights built into them which helped them look more like working televisions

8. Gromit’s shadow as he walks toward Wallace with the smart energy monitor is in homage to Nosferatu

9. In preparation for the shoot Wallace was given a full makeover - his trousers were fixed, his tank-top repainted and he was also given clean teeth and new eyes. Gromit was also given a new nose and eyes

10. The commercial is the first to feature the new npower logo

The guys should’ve won an Oscar. To think all that logooood carnage beat them.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Yves Geleyn "La Gaite Lyrique" (2010)

To celebrate the opening of a new Parisian digital arts venue in the historic and completely renovated theatre, La Gaite Lyrique, the artistic director Jérome Delormas commissioned Passion Paris’ Yves Geleyn to make a promotional film (La Gaîté Lyrique) that combines something of the original theatrical location as well as the innovative, visual pyrotechnics promised by the centre. The result is stunning work both in the 3D animation and also the interactive experience. Combining elements of Baroque theatre and stylised Japanese Kabuki dance, Yves commences with the arrival of a mysterious figure into the interior of the vast cathedral-like structure that is flooded with water. The figure carries a luminous box and proceeds to empty the contents into the water, a shimmering cascade. From this moment on magic occurs as flowing shapes of all description are conjured from air and water in magnificent, abstract spectacle, conveying the promise of the new centre, the art, science and sound. Marc Teitler and Bernd Norbert Wuertz created a music and sound design to match. It was an impressive commission to win, but Yves communicates a satisfying sense of wonder revelling in the artistic freedom, as well as working with Studio Grouek to expand the original film interactively. The centre will open at the end of the year.

Ricardo Moyano "Solo" (2002)

Ricardo Moyano’s film from 2002, Solo, is an atmospheric 3D short in which an elderly man snaps photographs of a variety of objects, pasting the developed images onto card to populate an otherwise empty life and home. A grey haired lady provides an unsuspecting model and possible companion in a film about loneliness. Rudy Gnutti and Manel Gil contribute a soundtrack to die for. The 3D characters are conventional enough but the transformation to cardboard cut-outs is very original and moving at the close. It was made at Univesidad Autonoma de Barcelona.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Candy Kugel "What I Want" (Norah York 2005)

An animation need not be overly sophisticated to succeed. Candy Kugel’s music video from 2005 for Norah York, What I Want, employs the printed lyrics themselves in colour coordinated fashion and some simple figures reaching out for or chasing each other. It's what they want. Some of the best designs the world over are pared down to essential details. And the song is infectious. Norah bumped into Candy on the street and offered the New York director the chance to make a video of her latest song. Delightful in sound and execution. Sophisticated.

Ami Lindholm "The Year I Cut My Hair" (2008)

27 year old Ami Lindholm made her graduation film, The Year I Cut My Hair, whilst at Finland’s Turku Arts Academy. Deploying a wide variety of styles, from thickly daubed paint, simple pencil sketches or sophisticated illustration, the film uses the metaphor of cutting one’s hair to follow different characters at crossroads in their lives. One crossroads is the onslaught of children where the rapidly burgeoning family is graphically shown to prise apart the two partners. Characters are dragged down by their heavy or long hair, discard their skins, assume new roles, argue and change personality. I have never seen such a diverse mix of styles in one short film. It works well enough though. Ami’s website shows a similar range of still or animated work from a skilled artist.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Antoine Arditti "Yulia" (2009)

Yulia is both fun in its own right and an interesting example of rotoscoping. Yulia is transported by an unexplained electric discharge to a room somewhere in nowhere where the only escape appears to be by five levers embedded in the wall. One is to a heart but seems stuck. Pulling on a further lever teleports an armchair into the room much to the distress of its owner, an unkempt individual who promptly berates his downtrodden wife for the loss. Events take their course and rather unexpectedly that heart shape lever delivers romance. Antoine Arditti stages the mix of 2D and 3D somewhat stylishly in a monochrome, flickering world. I have no direct experience myself of rotoscoping though I read it was printed out onto paper and traced with pencil, accounting both for the hand drawn look, which I love, and something of the fluidity of movement when Yulia freaks out with her martial arts or gets the lever to budge. I enjoyed the moments of pure zany humour. The film has enjoyed considerable success on the festival circuit and may also be viewed from the dedicated website.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Charlotte Boisson, Julien Fourvel, Pascal Han-Kwan, Tristan Reinarz and Fanny Roche "Get Out" (2009)

Get Out is another in a line of outstanding 3D student films from Ecole Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques in Montpellier and Toulouse. Gary is quite content in his padded cell. He has his garden and a lovely aquarium. So content is he in fact that the psychiatrist has to use all his wiles to lure the fellow out. This initially takes the form of an encouraging word or two; then there is mention of the word door without actually using the word. "But why should I leave this comfortable nest?" The fake door erected to entice Gary through is viewed as a guillotine, the two hulking male nurses masked torturers. The constant interplay between doctor and patient, the switch from one reality to another and a conclusion I only saw coming moments from the end, make for a very enjoyable seven minutes. The script is more than usually intelligent whilst the skilled animation is of professional standard. The expression on Gary's face is a picture at times. Charlotte Boisson, Julien Fourvel, Pascal Han-Kwan, Tristan Reinarz and Fanny Roche are the eminently employable team responsible. An original musical score from Guilhem Rosa adds to the charms. Visit the website.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Kristina Marie Hofmann "Breakfast" (2009)

I hope the following film is able to be viewed outside the UK as it is on the BBC’s website.

Breakfast directed by Royal College of Art student Kristina Marie Hofmann takes a well trodden path by a different route. The theme is mankind exploiting animals for food. The means is a stop motion film ostensibly aimed at children. It features one of those cubed picture puzzles, the rotation of which form an image. The cubes lay on a table in a child’s room, surrounded by stuffed toys. James Manning’s voice-over is warm and inviting as he tells the tale of Harriet, Elliot and Arthur who live in a picturesque farm, an enticing farmyard idyll where Harriet the Hen scratches for insects in the soil. Of course she doesn’t. A reshuffling of the blocks and Harriet is seen cramped with 50,000 pals in a windowless shed. Shedding weight and feathers she manages to squeeze out one last egg. Mirko Beutler’s close photography and Tobias Eiving’s attractive music underscore a hard hitting satire tracing the real lives of hen, pig and cow. The blocks themselves are particularly well crafted, with clever animation from Kristina, Page Tsou and Ulrika Axen. Kristina was inspired by the horror of a little girl when confronted with the reality of killing a caught fish. One of my daughters asked me if chicken was really chicken and has not eaten meat since. Neither has her mother. Kristina’s shared website is here. The farmyard and nature sounds, by the way, come from the music player conveniently stored on the nursery shelves.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Linde Faas "Vogel" (2007) & Alban Lelièvre "Do Penguins Fly?" (2006)

Continuing the theme of birds from yesterday are two movies completely different in style and tone. I suppose they share more than this for the birds are invisible to unknowing eyes. Linde Faas’s Vogel is quite extraordinarily interesting. I wrote about her style yesterday and that drawing ability is again to the fore. Linde features a boy and his pet bird, Tommie, who fell from the sky, hurt his wing and was nursed back to full health. You can see him flying around, drinking from the glass, perched on the little boy’s shoulder. The adult questioning the boy is unable to see the bird. But we can, can’t we? The conclusion is both apt and novel. Vogel is a most unusual short from an animator with a gift. The link is to a subtitled version. Director Alban Lelièvre asks another question in the funny Do Penguins Fly? (42mb via Computer Arts). It’s not a find as approximately 2,000,000 hits on YouTube since 2006 testifies. I’ve been meaning to write about it for some time. Quick summary: guy with camera wishes to photograph penguins flying but the darn things don’t do it on camera. There are few surprises about the plot but the cock crow is and I’m sure that was not a penguin at the end. Fabrice Senia animated the accomplished 3D piece.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Linde Faas "Volgens de Vogels" ("According to Birds" 2008)

There is a moment in Linde Faas’s tranquil film, Volgens de Vogels, (According to Birds) as a dandelion seed floats to the earth, when one begins to unwind. There are other moments to get horizontal: water drips to a pool and ripples spread out, a leaf is blown gently upwards into the wintry treetops, or at the outset leaves settle into water. Oh and there are the birds. Linde’s movie is full of birds, the dawn hunting expedition as, with scarcely a murmur, an owl takes an insect on the wing, a heron and rooks, in close-up or as bent lines in sky. "I've always had a fascination for birds. The way they move is very strange, they seem in their own world, disconnected from ours." Linde eschews music. Her sound is a rustle of leaves or the birds calling out. She is an artist and a fine one at that with a sureness of touch. She animates her birds with a delicacy that is rare indeed. One of the comments on the YouTube link suggests turning up the volume. I concur adding only that I’d turn it up louder. No story, just a beauty and peace. The short is hand drawn on paper and was Linde's graduation film whilst at St. Joost Art Academy. More of her work in the week.

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.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Rémy M.Larochelle "Extravaganza" (2010)

A transition from black and white to colour is certainly not original though in Rémy M.Larochelle’s competition entry for a 30 second ad for Doritos he introduces the distinctive paprika colour of the product rather nicely. His Extravaganza has a pot bellied, conspicuously male, beastie creeping somewhat furtively through a forest in search of something paprika coloured to eat. Guess what it is? The forest is an interesting creation and there's a cheerful tune to accompany lunch. Well made and a wry sense of humour so I wish Rémy well.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Patrick Bouchard "Subservience" (2007)

Subservience absorbed me for all of its 8 minutes. If I were to note all the action it would scarcely seem sufficient yet such is the intensity, without any dialogue, that one’s fascination in the drama is sustained throughout. Indeed, there is much that is theatrical about it, as much as there are echoes of the great Czech puppeteers. Patrick Bouchard's film is a study in pomposity, the aloof old man walking across a post-apocalyptic desert, the sky an angry glower, whilst a servant scurries around him continually rolling out two red carpets so as his master need not defile his feet. An equally sneering lady condescends to accompany the man, her own servant at pains to keep pace and carpet to foot. When a tiniest sliver of material is dropped, the lady does not deign to stoop and her servant has to dip into quicksand. Patrick’s camera lingers on the puppets' faces, the lack of humanity of the master and mistress exactly suiting the immobility of quite wonderfully sculptured puppets. Yet those puppets are capable of articulating a great depth of emotion as the bourgeoisie/marionettes grapple with an impossible task. Whilst the pace is necessarily pedestrian, the tension is electric. Come the revolution, eh. The NFB fosters many talents.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Borivoj Dovnikovic "Curiosity" (1966)

Lovers of classic animation should enjoy the second featured film by Zagreb director, Borivoj Dovnikovic. Made in 1966, Curiosity is an amusing study of human foibles. Set on a minimalist stage the lead character sits on the proverbial park bench watching the world go by. The world however is obsessed. It stops and has a peep at the large paper bag perched enigmatically on the vacant berth beside the often dozing man. A dog sniffs the package, children congregate to take a peek, a policeman inspects it, soldiers launch a military manoeuvre against the bag. The absurd is counterpointed with the mundane. A passing ship stops, passengers crane their many necks to take a look and the ship sinks. One passenger struggles ashore, steals a view, before returning to the water. The Zagreb School, as the Croatian animators of the time are known, produced a diverse collection of very fine and indeed striking films. Borivoj’s original short is essentially a single gag animation, finely executed but within the compass of one man or a small studio to produce. In its attitude to life’s absurdities it embraces the Yugoslavian zeitgeist of the times, a freedom to question as well as portray the sheer idiosyncrasy of life, institutions, man's behaviour. Bordo’s Learning To Walk provoked an email bemoaning the dearth of films like this today. I concur. Here we have animation in its purest form, intelligent, crisply drawn and animated, focused humour, adult.