Thursday, 23 February 2012

"Little Tombstone" Frédéric Azais, Théo Di Malta, Benjamin Leymonerie & Adrien Quillet (ESMA 2011)

Sergio Leone's classic 1966 movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is given animated, pastiche treatment in Little Tombstone from that growing powerhouse of French animation, ESMA. Frédéric Azais, Théo Di Malta, Benjamin Leymonerie and Adrien Quillet are the talented quartet though I have to acknowledge the excellent music of Alexandre Scuri and his musicians who add so much to the atmosphere. Should the plot be unknown to you then it concerns the meeting between bounty hunters and quarry somewhere in a ghost town that was originally filmed in the bleak high plateaus of Spain. Now that film was a comedy full of long silences, nervous tics, sweat, undertakers taking measurements and the animation follows the same path, together with an added twist for variety's sake. There is true craftsmanship here particularly in the close-ups where the detail and texture of veins, wrinkles, leather, wood are simply exquisite. Add some playful flourishes of cinematic monochrome and comic book characterisation then here's the best movie I've written about since I returned from the dead.

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