...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

The 2005 Animation Show

Though I suspect Organic Mechanic will probably write a more complete and debonair and enema-like review of the 2005 Animation Show, I figured I'd offer my two cents as well.

The gratuitously tall and gawkily egotistal Organic Mechanic lent me a copy of Volume 1 of the Animation Show about a year or so ago. It is an excellent excellent dvd and I highly recommend it, if for nothing more than the wet-yourself funny Don Hertzfeldt shorts. (There are of course many other hilights as well, but nothing beats the Hertzfeldt shorts.)

I eagerly awaited seeing the new batch of animated shorts at the Cleveland Cinematheque this past Friday, and I definitely was not disappointed. In fact, I actually found myself liking them *MORE* than the first volume. The first volume takes the cake simply because of the wacky Hertzfeldt shorts. But the non-Hertzfeldt shorts in this most recent 2005 show were definitely much more funny and touching and visually stimulating than the first batch, in my humble opinion. I was delightedly surprised and surprisingly delighted.

I actually had a difficult time picking favorites, there were so many I enjoyed. And surprisingly, the Hertzfeldt short was not among them. My absolute favorite, after much hemming and hawwing, I think I've decided was Hello, a cute little short that anyone who has ever made a mixed cd for someone else (whose songs were intended to be little messages to that person) would appreciate and connect with. I THINK you can watch it HERE if you click on the link to Hello on the left.

In this short, an old '80's style boombox

finds himself smitten with a hi-tech new stereo. The characters in the short can only speak through the music that they play. The problem is that the 80's style boombox must speak through cassettes and every time the sexy stereo chick walks by, he finds himself unable to flip cassettes quickly and well enough to speak to her. The sexy stereo however has a 5-10 disc capacity and remote control, so she can quickly skip from song to song to say whatever needs to be said. Upset and saddened by his inability to connect with her, the boombox seeks solace and advice from an old phonograph. The phonograph searches through his extensive library of records until he finds the perfect one. He plays it for the boombox who presses down the record button and records it onto a blank tape for himself. Finally, he gets the nerve to knock on the stereo's door and when she answers, he hits play. The results capture her heart and leave the two dancing in a hallway with one another. Really damn sweet.

Other favorable mentions:

Bill Plympton's Guard Dog was hysterical and an excellent opening piece revolving around a dog who is overly-protective of his owner and pictures his terrible demise in a variety of horrible ways--from being decapitated by a girl's jumprope to being attacked by a flower.

Ward 13 was probably one of the most kick-ass claymation shorts I've ever seen, featuring extensive and amazingly choreographed fight-scenes, terrible monsters, and a weird-ass horror movie storyline.

The Man with No Shadow was really cool--one of those shorts that you just sit and gawk at and dig without being able to pinpoint exactly why. The transitions from scene to scene are quite lovely, and the parable-like story of a man selling his shadow to the devil in return for riches played out really well with the type of animation used.

When the Day Breaks was another favorite--a strangely touching story revolving around human bodies with farm-animal heads. Strange and lovely.

And finally, Fallen Art, a disturbing blackly comic short about deranged military officers and their vision of art.

If you get a chance, you should definitely check the Animation Show out if it rolls into your town. If it doesn't, be sure to nab it on dvd. Otherwise you really will be missing out.



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