The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

The Lady and The Reaper is an acclaimed animated short film by the Spanish director Javier Recio Gracia, which was just named a 2010 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Short Film.  The film tells the tale of a sweet old widow who is living alone on her farm, waiting for the arrival of death so she can be with her beloved husband once again.  One night, while asleep, the lady’s life fades out and she’s invited by the grim reaper to cross death’s door.  But just when she is about to do so, the old lady wakes up inside a hospital ward and discovers that, unfortunately, she’s been saved from death’s door by an arrogant doctor. The doctor then wages what he thinks is a heroic battle against the grim reaper, attempting to recover the old lady’s life at any cost.

The Lady and The Reaper: Patiently Awaiting Death

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Granny O’Grimm’s Horrible Tale of Sleeping Beauty

Granny O’Grimm’s Horrible Tale of Sleeping Beauty

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty is an acclaimed, hilarious animated short directed by Nicky Phelan, which is a 2010 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Short Film.  The other Nominees are French Roast, Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death and The Lady and the Reaper.

Granny O’Grimm turns the age-old traditions of bedtime stories and fairy tales topsy-turvey.  Cleverly crafted as a mixture between a conventional fairy tale and a horror story, this animated short is a wickedly wonky re-telling of a tale that makes us laugh at the same time that its sense of bitterness makes us  reconsider the cost of marginalizing our elderly in a world that’s obsessed with youth and beauty.  It’s both amusing and terribly sad that Granny’s best attempts to be a gentle loving grandmother telling a bedtime story go so very far astray as she gets caught up in her own angry bitterness.

Granny O’Grimm’s Horrible Tale of Sleeping Beauty

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Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

Logorama is an award-winning, provocative and daring animated short film from the French H5 design collective, directed by François Alaux.  The film won the Prix Kodak at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, was an Official Selection at The 2010 Sundance Festival and won the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

The film takes the viewer on an entertaining, violent, profane, action-packed caper set in a world comprised entirely of well-known corporate logos and iconic mascots.  How familiar are the stars of this film?  Well, an evil Ronald McDonald embarks upon a shooting spree on a street overflowing with 7-Elevens, U-Haul trucks, Wal-Marts and Pizza Huts. The Michelin Men are bumbling, foul-mouthed cops on his trail, and Bob’s Big Boy picks his nose and flings it on an unsuspecting victim.

But make no mistake, Logorama is a cleverly executed critique of our times.  Our world is fueled with the signatures of commerce and consumption, where everyday symbols are imprinted in our collective memories, nagging away on the subconscious, hand in pocket and ready to draw money from our wallets.  It is within this context that H5 go far beyond a simple exercise in artistic defiance.  This is the beauty of their work: they transgress the graphic codes of our everyday experience.  They place them within a completely different context, which sufficiently sparks considerable food for thought.

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

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French Roast: A Big Mystery’s Brewing in the Fancy Parisian Café

French Roast: A Big Mystery’s Brewing in the Fancy Parisian Café

French Roast is a subtle, gently humorous animated short film directed by the French filmmaker Fabrice O. Joubert.  The delightful film has been deservedly well received at film festivals around the world, culminating in receiving the Best of Show Prize at the annual Siggraph 2009.  French Roast is a Best Animated Short Film Nominee for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

The film is set entirely inside a small Parisian café, where a rather aloof cigar-smoking gentlemen is about to pay the check when he suddenly discovers that his wallet has disappeared.  In an attempt to stall for time, he decides to order some more coffee.  Very many cups of coffee later, with his bill quickly mounting up, he’s still rooted to the same spot in mortification, when a little old lady sitting next to him appears to have ample cash to donate to a wild looking vagrant.  Her bag is stuffed full of banknotes and looks quite inviting.  But events quickly take a turn for the worse when the police arrive.  Aside from revealing the gradual evaporation of the lead character’s unfriendly pomposity, one of the key directorial touches in the film is restricting the action very largely to one view of the café tables with a large reflecting window behind them upon which the wider action accumulates.

French Roast: A Big Mystery’s Brewing in the Fancy Parisian Café

Slide Show: French Roast/A Big Mystery’s Brewing in the Fancy Parisian Café

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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The Cat Piano: A City of Imprisoned Singing Cats

The Cat Piano: A City of Imprisoned Singing Cats

The Cat Piano is an award-winning 8-minute animated short film directed by Australian filmmakers Eddie White and Ari Gibson, featuring narration by the iconic Australian musician Nick Cave. The film is a remarkable animation, a visual marvel that’s a perfectly executed narrative, seamlessly coalescing its gothic influences into a hypnotically sinister aesthetic that is never at odds with itself.  The Cat Piano was named last week as one of 10 films to advance in the Animated Short Films category for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

The story opens in a city of musically talented singing cats, where a lonely beat poet falls for the call of a beautiful musical siren.  However, a mysteriously dark and evil human soon emerges and begins kidnapping the town’s singing cats to imprison them inside of a cat piano, intent on carrying out his depraved musical plans to perform a twisted feline symphony.  At that point, the poet realizes that he must save his muse and put an end to the nefarious tune that threatens to destroy the entire city.

The Cat Piano: A City of Imprisoned Singing Cats

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A Matter of Loaf and Death: Big Trouble at the Mill

A Matter of Loaf and Death: Big Trouble at the Mill

A Matter of Loaf and Death is an award-winning, delightful clay-animated short film directed by Nick Clark, a four-time Academy Award-winning English filmmaker of stop-motion animation.  The film, starring the much-loved duo Wallace and his faithful dog Gromit, is a Best Animated Short Films Nominee for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.  A Matter of Loaf and Death played on BBC Television last year and was the highest-rated program of 2008 and the highest-rated non-sporting event in the United Kingdom since 2004.  In 2008, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation and the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject.

A Matter of Loaf and Death is a suspenseful, romantic high-action murder mystery, with Wallace and and the ever-trusty Gromit starting a new bakery business, Top Bun.  Gromit learns that a number of bakers in town have been mysteriously disappearing, and tries to solve the case before Wallace ends up a victim himself.  The mystery involves a new love interest for Wallace, Ms. Piella Bakewell, who is a bread enthusiast and former pin-up girl for the “Bake-O-Lite” bread company, as well as, for the first time, a cute sweetheart for Gromit: Ms. Bakewell’s charming little French poodle, Fluffles.  The very urgent question now is: will Gromit be able to discover the identity of the Cereal Killer before poor Wallace ends up becoming the next ghastly victim?

A Matter of Loaf and Death: Big Trouble at the Mill

The full-version of A Matter of Loaf and Death can also be viewed here.

Slide Show: A Matter of Loaf and Death

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Partly Cloudy: A Lonely Cloud Creates Hazardous Babies for His Stork-Partner

Partly Cloudy: A Lonely Cloud Creates Hazardous Babies for His Stork-Partner

Partly Cloudy is a delightful animated short film by Pixar Animation Studios, which was named as one of 10 films to advance in the voting process for the “Animated Short Films” category for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.  The list is international, with movies representing production companies from Australia, France, America, Canada and other countries.

In Partly Cloudy, the storks get their babies from way up high in the stratosphere, where cloud people sculpt babies from clouds and bring them to life.  However, in this story there is a real dilemma.  Gus, a lonely and insecure gray cloud, is a master at creating “dangerous” babies: crocodiles, porcupines, rams and even much worse.  Gus’s beloved creations are truly works of art, but they’re more than a handful for his loyal delivery-stork partner, Peck.  As Gus’s creations become more and more rambunctious, Peck’s job gets harder and harder.  How on earth will Peck manage to handle both his hazardous cargo and his friend’s fiery temperament?

Partly Cloudy: A Lonely Cloud Creates Hazardous Babies for His Stork-Partner

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