Monday, 8 March 2010


This advert for Choice's "Peace on the Streets" campaign uses a simple but very effective trick to get its point across. Unlike other campaigns in the same field, it's clear what is being said here, and the advert doesn't trivialise the subject for artistic effect.

I'm not exactly going to run to the cinema to watch Tim Burton's interpretation of Alice In Wonderland, partly because I'm sure there's a film more deserving of the 3D treatment, but mostly because of my caustic cynicism. On the other hand, there's no better time than now to rediscover Cecil Hepworth's 1903 version of the same story, which recently got a restoration by the trusty ol' BFI.

Love him or hate him, David Lynch is an undeniably memorable figure, his works serving to unite the popular and commercial with the subversive. With his unique style comes a recognisable set of motifs - the singer, the red curtains, the moody lighting. This promo video, for Lynch's Afghan musical protégé Ariana Delawari, shows all of his cinematic flair without detracting focus from the video's objective. A very winning advert.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


The Oscars are drawing near, and most eyes seem to be on the battle of the exes between Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron. Naturally, other categories get forgotten in the grand scheme of things, particularly the animated short film award. This year's list features some very interesting submissions (I say this on the basis of having seen two of them). While I would love to see Aardman win another Oscar for the collection, I've found myself more drawn to a French production named Logorama (2009). The film is composed almost entirely of animated logos - 2,500 of them, to be precise. The story has a simple "bad guy on the run" arc, with Ronald McDonald taking the role of the villain. It's a stroke of genius in my opinion, filled with sarcastic digs at the expense of various conglomerations. Above is just the trailer - the full video will most likely do the rounds of the 'net post-awards ceremony.

Continuing the theme of consumerism and materialism, here's a Brazilian film named Island of Flowers (1989). Director and writer Jorge Furtado focuses on the journey of a tomato as it is harvested, processed, turned into food and then waste, before starting the whole cycle again. It sounds overwhelming, but it has a comical tone and it's easy to lose yourself in it.

Last but not least, a little skeletal skulduggery care of Disney and Ub Iwerks. If you're not completely entranced and spookified by this, I judge you differently as a person. Enjoy!

Monday, 1 March 2010


Originally created for a collaborative short film project called Visions of Europe, Béla Tarr's Prologue (2004) is a quietly moving piece of cinema which makes a bold, if rather blunt statement about the state of Europe today. Prologue also neatly sums up Tarr's oeuvre, constituting one slow pan across a queue of wizened men and women. Mihály Víg's music is absolutely perfect for the film.

This one has more than done the rounds of the internet already, but it bears another mention. YouTube user dokugyunyu makes stop-start motion animations on various themes, but his video of a wolf chasing a pig is by far the most impressive. The chase carries out through a series of photos around a house, taking into account dimension and scale. A lot of effort has clearly been put into it, and once the film starts, you just never want it to stop. Brilliant ending.

Following on from the John Whitney computer animations in the last post, I've decided it's about time people heard about Carla's Island (1981). Essentially, it's just a shot of an island over the course of a day, but as basic as it is, the animation is charming in its own way. The rippling waves, the sinking sun... oh to live on an island! Scored by a wonderfully eighties theme tune.