Friday, November 14, 2008

SF International Animation Festival - Day 3 Features

The Third Annual San Francisco International Animation Festival continues at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema on Saturday, November 15, with a pair of feature length pieces, both of which I am happy to have been able to preview! (THANK YOU, Hilary at SFFS!!)

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (dir. Ari Folman, Israel, 2008, 88 min) is Israel's submission for this year's Foreign Language Oscar. (There is a "press hold" on reviews, so I will be brief.) It is one of the most emotionally affecting films I have seen this year. When you see the trailer for the film (which releases nationally in December), you may think it is rotoscoped. This is misleading, as it is thoroughly illustrated and meticulously animated. The complicated production process can be found at the film's website. What is missing there though is the profound emotional experience that this man's exploration of the massacres of the 1982 Lebanon War creates. It is an exceptional and SOMBER piece. So intense was the visceral effect of the artwork, that the small audience I saw it with left the screening as if we had just attended a funeral. There were also a couple of walk-outs due to the climatic depiction of the atrocities of war. One of my favorite films of the year, though I do not know if I could see it again.

IDIOTS AND ANGELS (dir. Bill Plympton, USA, 2008, 78 mins), with director Bill Plympton in attendance! Now, in comparison with the preceding feature, this is much lighter! However, it is one of Plympton's darkest features that I am aware of. There is no dialogue as a morally empty man awakens one day to have grown a pair of angels wings, which seem to have a will of their own, and lead the man to a battle between good and evil. It is hand drawn in Plympton's signature style and moves along with the accomplished pace that being a master of the medium ensures! I would LOVE to see this on a big screen, as well as hear Mr. Plympton speak to the morally complexities of the film!

Maxxxxx says
re WALTZ WITH BASHIR: (glib parrot-speak would be inappropriate)
re IDIOTS AND ANGELS: "Sweet, sweet eye juice!" (Maxxxxx is, after all, a creature of evil!)

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