Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Feature Animation at the Atlanta Film Festival 2008

The Atlanta Film Festival 2008 will be presenting a feature animation program on Saturday, April 12th (Noon), at the Landmark Midtown. It is also accompanied by an animated "short subject", though at 35 minutes, it is pressing that boundary!

KOMANEKO - THE CURIOUS CAT (dir. Tsuneo Goda, Japan, 2007, 60 mins.) This is actually a compilation of five episodes of KOMANEKO, which is one of those SANRIO-type creatures. The episodes, which are filmed in stop motion, do not feature any dialogue, beyond some well placed "meow"s, which immediately gives it a universal accessibility. However, the buzz surrounding this film is the opening episode, in which Komaneko is making a stop-motion short for herself. It is an inventive sequence, which Goda has cleverly stylized and given a "rough" animation that might be expected from a 6 year old. The characters that are part of her film-within-a-film recur throughout the hour, as they figure prominently in the little cat's imagination. The second and fourth episodes are cut-out animations, which break the potential visual monotony of watching the little cat for an hour. Also, using cut-outs allows Goda to visualize episodes that would be prohibitive, technically and at all realistically, in the models sequences. The middle three episodes are relatively short compared to the bookends. The final episode, featuring the Abominable Snowman from "Rudolph..." (or a VERY CLOSE copy!), is the longest, running nearly a half hour, and might test the patience of the toddlers. Or not. Having babysat a 5 year old with an all night "Hello Kitty" fixation (FOUR SOLID HOURS!!), this could be a quick 60 minutes for the pre-school set. This feature is accompanied by a (semi) short, that could be mind bending for the post-graduate set.

FLATLAND: THE MOVIE (dir. Dano Johnson, US, 2007, 35 mins.) I. LOVED. THIS! Yes, even though it runs over my "25 minute short" rule, I was never bored, nor was I left feeling cheated. Based on the book written in 1885 by Edwin A. Abbott, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, it is beautifully visualized and computer animated. Since the subject is geometry, the look is crisp and sharp in outlines and uses fractals as fill. The method in which the two dimensional objects maintain an aspect to each other didn't cease to fascinate me! Since they are on a "flat plane", they are unable to really 'turn around', yet Johnson was able to give them a 'spin' that I never quite grasped. The vocal talent is really capable, at worst, and GREAT at its best! Headed by Martin Sheen and (his brother) Joe Estevez, as a pair of squares, they are supported by none other than Michael York, who has aged into "the voice of a god" as Spheeris and Tony Hale, who voiced my favorite character, King of Pointland. Kristen Bell voices Hex, the daughter of Martin Sheen's Anthony Square (get it? "A. Square"! HAR!). It is her journey to discover the Third Dimension that drives the story. It is when the theory of a fourth dimension is introduced that one's brain begins to explode. (The DVD has an interview with Thomas Banchoff, a Brown University professor of differential geometry, which really goes OUT THERE!) However, as it treads that fine line between science and faith, the resolution was particularly appreciated! (No, I'm NOT going to spoil it!) Once the DVD hits retail, I MUST HAVE IT!

Maxxxxx says
re Komaneko - The Curious Cat: "Breakfast!"
re Flatland: The Movie: "Such a pretty bird!"

1 comment:

mackelly said...


Twisted? You're very perceptive! Thanks! I've just started to get Safety First: the Rise of Women! out on the circuit. I finished it in February and it's premiering at the Mockfest in May in Los Angeles. Hope to see you in SF soon.

aka Mac Kelly