By Alberto Cerriteno.

Olympics 2008 Monkey Movie

Oh, yeah, I know this is only a marketing video, but... wow this video is fantastic!

It's possible that I'm so excited because it's based upon the traditional Chinese folklore Journey to the West.

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello (2005)

The film opens in the city of Gothia, a smoky industrial metropolis where steam-powered dirigibles are the primary mode of transportation, and where a terrible flesh-eating plague is decimating the population
This gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself. The chance discovery of an abandoned dirigible leads Jasper through unchartered waters to an island on which lives a terrifying creature that may be the cure for the Plague. The journey back to civilization is filled with horrors but in a shocking climax, Jasper discovers that the greatest horror of all lies within man himself.
Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, the creepy Victorian look of the film reminded me Hayao Miyazaki 's "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds", and Tim Burton's movies.

In his brilliant, visually mesmerising The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, Anthony Lucas has us believing that bulky contraptions with iron-girder rib cages and massive air screws weighing thousands of tonnes can sail through the air with effortless grace.
Using sepia tones, silhouettes and a variety of animation techniques, this vision of Victorian-era retro-futurism looks like the kind of automated, mechanised world of tomorrow that Jules Verne or H. G. Wells might have conjured up had they had access to computers. Visually fascinating, highly imaginative stop-motion animated short where characters were shot in a silhouette-like style. The backgrounds often have added textures and colours rendered using CGI, while certain sequences are entirely computer-rendered 3-dimensional scenes. The final product consists of all of these elements brought together using a compositing program.
Everything about the film is deftly executed. It does borrow from familiar ideas and themes, but the presentation is undeniably original and exciting. It is very dark and not exactly the kind of thing made for the young ones; there is a great deal of violence in the film. The bleak ending is well staged.

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology.
Koyaanisqatsi is also a visual concert of images set to the haunting music of Phillip Glass The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse photography of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. Godfrey Reggio made an extensive use of them to comparise different types of physical motion. This technique of comparison exists throughout the film, and through it we learn more about the world around us. The film progresses from purely natural environments to nature as affected by man, and finally to man's own manmade environment, devoid of nature yet still following the patterns of natural flow as depicted in the beginning of the film, yet in chaos and disarray.

The power of Reggio's imagery is a function not so much of his subject matter, but of the way in which the imagery is presented. The Glass accompaniment emphasizes the grace of movement, which have the impact of a miracolous dance.
The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means 'crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living', and the film implies that modern humanity is living in such a way.
Reggio's montage is as fully slow motion as his individual images. We foreswear normal consumption patterns and meditate on individual human beings. Reggio's combination of slow motion and extended shots allows for a contemplation of the variety and beauty of individual, laboring human being. Beyond the headlines and every day crises of international events, a deeper shift in human affairs has occurred: Humanity no longer exists in the natural world, we are no longer connected to it!
You can buy Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance.


By Neil Blevins.

Oseam (2003)

Two orphans, Gamie, a young blind girl and her little brother Gil-sun, are taken in by a Buddhist monk. While the shy little girl finds her at ease at the temple, the enthusiastic and dynamic little Gil-sun soon starts to disturb this quiet place. After his sister told him their mother had visited her in a dream, the little boy tries to understand why his mom did not come to see him too. In order to meet her again, he decides to follow the monk for a very long initiatic trip.

Oseam is based on a novel by Korean author Jung Chae-bong, who has described it as being a a compassionate philosophical and poetic fable for adults.
Baek-yeob Seong saturated the frames with brilliant colors and imagery that are alternately haunting and inspiring. This film possess a deliberately old fashioned look, comprising of paintings that form a lush backdrop to the moving characters.
It would have reeked of precociousness and suffered far more of emotional manipulation than it already does.

The Periwig Maker (1999)

The Periwig-maker is based on The Plague Years by Daniel Defoe. It took many years of hard work to the brother and sister Schäffler team. Their parents made the sets and props in Germany, Spitting Image provided studio space in London for the shoot animated by Phil Dale with puppets by Mackinnon & Saunders.

This short is about one of the many plagues that racked Europe. A Periwig maker seals himself off in medieval plague infested London to escape the danger of infection. When a little girl seeks his help his life is turned upside down. He, locked in his shop, observes the events and writes about them in his journal.
There is nothing sentimental about this film: it just seems to be a straight and no holds barred retelling of events during this plague. Mostly, we see shrouded bodies, and a young girl who lives in the tavern across the way that gets progressively sicker.
The animation style is beautiful and captivating even if the subject matter of the film is grim and unpleasant.

There are references to Jesus Christus' religion. The Pigmaker and the little girl were both mortal. The real story is about the periwig maker's great mistake: his attempt of self-preservation at the expense of Christian charity and mercy.


JustinVisnesky makes photographs of the simple, quiet times in life; taking the ordinary and making it something more, something for the keeping.

Das Rad (2003)

Rocks is written and directed by Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger. They used a mixture of stop motion, puppetry, and CGI animation.
Thus short is about the evolution of the mankind through the vision of … two rocks.
The film tracks a hillside from ancient times through the present and into the future, usually moving through time at high speed but occasionally switching to real time and showing the inhabitants and objects in motion in their day-to-day existence.

The stone-people Hew and Kew have seen a lot in their everlasting lives on top of their mountain. Therefore they're only mildly amazed by the ongoings in the valley below, they've got their own little problems to deal with. Mankind is discovering and inventing, instead of just woozeling, and this new behavior starts to threaten Hew's and Kew's stoic peacefullness...
They were imbued with so much personality.

The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation (Oscar 2005)

John Canemaker uses a dazzling array of animation styles and techniques, from black and white photographs to colorful childish drawings and much, explores the difficult emotional terrain of father/son relationships as seen through Canemaker's own turbulent relationship with his father.
It creates a wonderful mix between the reality and the dream, a true person and his image and for the director, between the desire of rediscovering his childhood and the fear about it. It's very sad as the father died before the film was made and it's strange what someone who didn't talk can say to his child and how love can impersonate itself in our lives and stories.

He made this film to resolve long-standing emotional issues he has with my late father. He wanted to find answers to our difficult relationship, to understand the reasons his father was always a feared figure in his childhood, why his father was always angry and defensive, verbally and physically abusive, and often in trouble with the lawuses.
The drawings are really simple but there's so much emotion and creativity that you go out of this film deeply moved and absolutely fascinated. It's the kind of film which makes you want to make animated films, thinking that it's something great and making you think something you didn't think before : animated films can be sometimes more powerful than any other films.
It is a very unusual perspective on The American Dream across all of the 20th century as it swings back and forth from bitter and cynical to loving and almost forgiving.

Fifity Percent Grey (2001)

A soldier awakens on a gray, deserted plane. He rises, stretches - is that a drop of blood we see on the ground? He removes his helmet. A large television set sweeps into view. He walks to it, pushes a video tape into the slot, and the tape begins to play. "Welcome to Heaven, you are dead." The soldier hastens away; another television set rolls in front of him. The soldier draws his gun. Can he put an end to death? Or do other states await him?

Ruairi Robinson 's idea was to make a story where the character starts out a hero, turns into a coward and ends up a fool. It's basically a big cruel trick played on him by whoever controls the afterlife... The subject is potentially controversial , but it's nice to watch a movie that has a really unhappy ending.

Destino (2003)

Destino is a poetic take on love and time in which a dancer moves through bizarre settings and undergoes a series of transformations. It's told through shifting dream-like images, set to the music of Mexican ballad Destino, by Armando Dominguez.
This short is the result of a 1946 collaboration between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. The idea began when the two artists met at a party in Hollywood and decided to make a short film together, with Dali spending eight months working with director John Hench at the Disney studio, painting, drawing and discussing how to add motion to his images. But in 1947 the studio ran into financial trouble and the unfinished project was shelved in the Disney vaults for the next 54 years.

In 1999, executive producer Roy Disney, director Dominique Monfery, producer Baker Bloodworth, and 95 year-old John Hench, finally finished the film. Monfrey began by reviewing a rough edit of the original artwork adapted from the song. He had good feeling about the song, which was also redone, and was heartened by the strong visual ideas conceived by Dali and John Hench. The first decision was to make the film the way it originally would have been done in 1946, choosing to rely mainly on traditional animated techniques.
One important fact is that there are 2D character animation but there aren't lines on the character: the volume of the character is revealed more by light and shadow than by color. In order to better match Dali, they decided to remove that dark line that usually outlines the character sheet.
The essential technique embraced was the cross-dissolve, part of the montage strategy that Dali intended to utilize in the animation, which Monfrey paired with classical movement and timing to bring clarity to the poetry.

Nibbles (2003)

Based on the true story of a father who takes his sons on a fishing trip in the untamed forests of Montreal, this hilarious animated short by Academy Award-nominated director Chris Hinton is a paean to the joys of family travel and the multiple wonders of fast food.

Displaying Hinton's trademark wacky humor and unique graphic style, this film captures the primal and carnal serenity of fishing, mixing the soothing harmonies of nature with the powerful desire for food consumption along the way. For parents, the true essence of family travel is driven home with riveting clarity.

Badgered (2005)

The tale of a grumpy badger who just wants the world to let him sleep.

Two crows disturb while he's hibernation. The badger climbs out of its hole once to try to silence the crows. When that doesn't work, fate intervenes and the hill on which are the crow's tree and the badger's lair becomes an underground missile silo. The badger investigates, and events move beyond its control. Is sleep in the offing?

There is another level to this story of a badger who just wants to sleep, but it is told with a light, humorous touch, not an annoying alarm-clock style bleating. It approaches the topic of nuclear power from a new, refreshing, badger's eye point of view.
It’s funny. It’s political.
Sharon Colman approachs animation from a traditional illustrative angle and is amused by the peculiar and absurdity of human nature, and developed an interest in character and their physiological makeup.

Britannia (1993)

Britannia shifted her concern from gender politics to imperialism in an animated history of the political cartoon.
With this short, Joanna Quinn makes an excellent satirical swipe at the British character that, using a bulldog as the symbol of that rise and subsequent recession, shows how, in the pursuit of wealth and power, it has robbed other nations of their pride and national wealth.

The dog discovers tea in India; then, the dog shakes gold out of Africa. Gradually, innocence gives way to more and more ferocious play with the ball. We see terrorized women and children as the dog becomes an enslaving potentate. Harmless English archetypes benefit from colonial riches. Then the world begins to grow, and the dog changes too, from bulldog to effete lap dog.

Ryan (Oscar 2004)

Ryan is a story about Ryan Larkin, an innovative, talented and gifted Canadian artist, who, thirty years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada, produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Some year before dying, Ryan lived on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal
When people think of documentary filmmaking, generally, they assume that it’s an objective medium. But Chris Landreth integrates photography and live-action footage with animation (it goes through 3D animation, to pencil drawing, to painting, to sketches) and uses supplemental or secondary animations to represent the psyche of the characters as you traverse through the story.
In revealing Larkin’s inner landscape, Landreth has delivered us into a deeper, richer reality. We see the real Ryan Larkin that our eyes cannot see.

He, using Maya software, recreates Larkin as a fragile, incomplete person. We can see only a portion of a face. His body is breaking apart, his memories are haunting him and he's much more interested in the late artist instead of his own life.
Using a technique called psychological realism, the movie shows the emotions of the characters in a way never seen before. We can hear the voice of Ryan Larkin and people who have known him, but these voices speak through strange, twisted, broken and disembodied 3D generated characters... people whose appearances are bizarre, humorous or disturbing.
In one poignant scene, we see a young, complete Ryan, with hippie threads and long hair, come to life in his award-winning film Street Musique. He is filled with joy and soon begins dancing with his creations. Occasionally, we hear from other observers. Landreth also shows us his motivation: he sees elements of his mother in Ryan’s life.

Chris Landreth introduces himself to us in a funky restroom and then introduces the film's subject, Ryan Larkin, a brilliant animator in the 1960s and early 1970s. Chris shows us clips of Walking and Street Musique, Ryan's ground-breaking shorts. We now see Ryan as he is: emaciated, alcoholic, much of his mind gone; we meet Felicity Fanjoy, his love during his creative period, and Derek Lamb, his producer. Ryan talks to Chris in the dining hall of what is probably a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Chris tries an intervention. We follow Ryan out into the street where he panhandles. The animation, which uses live footage, reveals the ravaged burned-out graceful man.
When Ryan’s 2D drawings from Street Musique are dancing in step with Ryan's 3D character, we can also find an homage to another Canadian filmmaker, basically the mentor to Ryan — Norman McLaren — where Ryan’s character begins his dance and you see these Shiva-like 10 arms strobing:an homage to a piece by Norman McLaren called Pas de Deux, which came out around the same time that Ryan was really at his peak.
You can buy Ryan (Special Edition).