Carck! (1981)

Crac! traces the rapid transformation of Quebec society through the story of a rocking chair. In this charming tale tinged with nostalgia, Frédéric Back takes us back to rich traditions swept aside by the relentless forces of progress and urbanization. The film begins with a chair being built long, long ago. As the years passed and life changed around the chair, it's all shown in a magically lyrical manner--with lovely folk music, dancing and visuals. In this charming tale tinged with nostalgia, Frédéric Back takes us back to rich traditions swept aside by the relentless forces of progress and urbanization.
The rocking chair is a standard feature in Quebec homes. From one generation to the next, it accompanies family members from cradle to grave.



This short, like all Frederick Back's earlier shorts, include humor and the characters are designed in a frankly cartoony style. Crac is wholly pantomime accompanied by music. He wanted to create a film to celebrate a rapidly disappearing, if not altogether lost, way of life in Quebec. The film was inspired by a French homework assignment written by his ten-year-old daughter, Süzel. Enchanted by her tale of a trusty old rocking chair that no one appreciates anymore, Back put it away for safekeeping and eventually used it as the starting point for the storyline of Crac!.
This film is simply gorgeous. For the time it was made, this was a standout film that begged to be noticed for both its artistic styling as well as the fascinating history lesson contained within. Still it's an epic without dialogue; the images are held together by a musical theme Roger slowly develops over time.
You can buy The Man Who Planted Trees DVD Box Set - Nine Animated Classics by Frederic Back.

Obitateli (1970)

Inhabitants is an impressive reflection on the relationship between wildlife and humans.. About nine minutes long, it's divided into three sections in which Artavazs Peleshian intercuts footage of birds taking flight with huge closeups of caged animals, wet, dark eyes staring straight at the lens; the contrast between freed and incarcerated creatures is striking, dramatic.



The segments of animalography are intercut with shots of people in precarious positions, as the role of man oppressing beast is reversed, with the beast dominating the world. Again distance montage is put brilliantly to use here, the camera’s angle remaining static yet tracking the tide of the flocks. Movement is the sole emotional device, complemented by the score of music and indeterminable animal sounds.
Most of these scenes were filmed by Peleshian and his film crew on location. He connects images together beyond narrative. The separate shots cohere and gain full meaning when the puzzle pieces are in place, and the picture is seen whole
You can buy Mer dare.

Bizarro 1



By Francesco Marciuliano.

The Street (1976)

The Street dramatizes family life. Based on a short story by Mordecai Richler, this short is set amongst the Jewish community in Montreal during the 1930s. The leading character is a young boy living in an overcrowded apartment with his mother, father, sister and dying grandmother. The boy is frustrated that his grandmother, now senile, won’t die, leaving him her bedroom. When she does finally succumb, he is overcome with feelings of guilt; the final image is of his sister wrapping herself in bed sheets, evoking the old lady’s ghost.
Filled with colour and incident, this coupling of Richler’s narrative prowess with Caroline Leaf’s sensitive direction is a superb drama. Never losing sight of the central story, Leaf foregrounds the lad whenever possible, while filling the screen with representative Jewish immigrant figures from the Depression era.



At first she recorded a dramatized reading of the entire story, with the idea that in this way I would be true to the work of literature. The images would illustrate the text. I quickly found that it was dead as a piece of film when I duplicated the information in soundtrack and picture. She found it became lively film when she dropped as much of the text as possible, putting the storytelling into images. For moments the soundtrack and picture come together with the same information, but then they veer apart and have an oblique relationship.
This short film spares no feelings and minces no words. In soft simple washes of watercolor and ink, the filmmaker interprets reactions to a dying grandmother, capturing family feelings and distilling them into harsh reality.

Who Am I? (1989)

In this short, images of flowers, food, dolphins, and bears dance like figures in an animated cave painting in a child's head, heart, and tummy; the commentary is provided by a third-generation Hubley, Mark's son, Sam.




Parents and animators: both generate offspring, do their best to control them, then hang on as imagination and circumstance catapult them into the unknown. For Faith Hubley, animation was an adventure as much as an art, a kind of pictorial jam session.
You can buy The Hubley Collection - Volume 1 and Hubley Collection, Vol. 2.

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Ahndraya Parlato work consists of large-format, color photographs that explore the distinctions between banality and normalcy, and the ways in which people impose structures and ideals on the world.

Tango (1981)

Tango is an almost hypnotically complex work that requires several viewings to grasp completely.
It is comprised of a single static shot of a simple room with wood floors, blue patterned wallpaper, and four points of entry: three doors and an open window. And is animated as a collage of live action film clips.
Zbigniew Rybczynski had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece.
His use to re-photographs film lends this film its washed-out, jittery quality, and accounts for the wonderful skips and bumps that give Tango its texture.



It begins simply, with one boy retrieving a lost ball in a repeating pattern. He is joined by others who also follow repeating patterns of their own. As soon as each new character has entered and left the room for the first time, the next one comes in with his own repetitious behavior. The film peaks with 36 people occupying its claustrophobic set. We get caught up in the combined texture of these erratic movements; characters pause randomly during their loops, sometimes passing through others in their attempts to occupy the same narrow space. It climaxes with a screen packed with individuals all going about their business in complete ignorance of the actions of the others, and ends as simply as it began.
Tango suggests a need to transcend the unsatisfying personal routines of our daily lives.
You can buy Films & Videos by Zbig Rybczynski - Part 1 - Media.

Paradise (1984)

Ishu Patel's choice of subjects mark him as a pioneer. He has used imagery from Buddhist philosophy and Indian myths in his tales. Through a combination of visionary philosophy, scholarly ideals and innovative technical prowess, Patel has produced a unique body of work.



Paradise is a strange and fascinating film from Ishu Patel. This short is one long piece of art. Every action unfolds slowly and is accompanied by the ethereal music of Gheorghe Zamfir. What a wonderful combination!
It's an absolutely inspiring and breathtaking piece of art.

The Killing of an Egg (1977)

This is one of my favourite shorts by Paul Driessen.
His unique style remind me of Joanna Quinn's shorts for his delicate quality of his ever morving and wiggling lines, as well as by the fluid but akward movements of his characters.



The film starts with a bald, obese man in a bright yellow shirt preparing to eat breakfast, a soft boiled egg. As he taps the shell with his spoon, an english voice says "Hey, who is it?". Will the voice come from the egg?
You can buy The Dutch Films of Paul Driessen.

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By Adrien Missika. This photo is part of a photo installation named The Space Between. It is a basic representation of an emotional archetypal landscape (banquise, or ice desert, or pluton, or just a snow field at night).

Wat's Pig (1996)

In a Medieval castle, a marauder tries to kidnap the twin infant sons of the lord. He makes off with only one, whom he drops about a mile away. A pig rescues this baby, so one brother grows up high on the hog, the other down with the swine; one is lazy, his lost brother is industrious.



The story is told with a slit scan technique which keeps everything tightly paced and there's little dialogue.
If you've ever read The Prince and the Pauper, you'll enjoy this fairy tale.

Rock It!


By Thorsten Hasenkamm. His influences are comics, cartoons & animation in general, expressionism, 50's/60's retro stuff....

Hill Farm (1989)

The Hill Farm examines different people and their reaction to the same surroundings and events. The story takes place over three days and follows what happens at a farm , involving the farmers, campers and some hunters who disturb a large bear.
It's by turns humorous and quietly thoughtful in doing this examination.



The film has no dialogue, and relies on animation, sound effects and music.
At first the characters included a group of archaeologists/palaeontologists, but he realized that although he really liked some of the visual stuff they did, they weren’t an essential part of the plot.



Mark Baker took some time to develop this story. He kept coming up with isolated visual ideas and scenes but he couldn’t find a story that would link them all together, then he realized that he could start with a very simple structure and let the characters create the story. He pasted his notes and drawings together in different ways and stripped out elements that didn’t fit.

Le Moine et Le Poisson

The Monk and The Fish is the simple story of an obsessive monk and a naughty fish. Standing next to a water reservoir in a monastery enclave, a monk sees a fish and goes to get his net to catch it. The fish eludes him and the monk gets rather agitated as he tries increasingly extreme ways of catching the fish. Suddenly, the monk's chase and the fish's teasing flight become a spiritual journey.



Michael Dudok De Wit doesn't need dialogue to make a great short: the animation and background artwork have to carry this one and do so superbly. The action is engaging and hypnotic at times. It reminds me of the peaceful and sweet portions of Bozzetto's Allegro, ma non troppo.

La Vieille dame et les pigeons

This short has an original storyline: Sylvain Chomet puts hiss grotesque characters into a world all of their own, where the gendarme fantasises about food, is irritated by pigeons, and eventually dresses up as one of the birds himself to continually visit the old lady for slap-up meals.
Like Les Triplettes de Belleville, this reveals in its quirky, hand-drawn detail and characterisation.
What especially distinguishes Chomet is the fearlessness of his singular point of view. In an age of cultural timidity, Chomet frankly deals in clichés as well as in caricatures about nationality. But all this is done with so much cleverness and so little malice that it's impossible to do anything but smile.



Although this short is silent, language isn't missed because of Chomet's gift for creating characters that almost magically articulate in body language and facial expression makes dialogue seem superfluous.
If the Old Lady remind you of Les Triplettes de Belleville's Madame Souza, you're right. Originally there isn't Madame Souza, but a second film "The Old Lady and the Bicycles". But the producer of this short asked to Chomet too many money for the copyrigh of the Old Lady. Personally I think Madame Souza brought us a great deal more than the original Old Lady would have done.
You can buy La Vieille dame et les pigeons.

Botanical Photograph


Kaitlin Wilson Bryant's work revolves around themes of memory, family, and horticulture. Her photographic work is paralleled by the journals that she keeps.

Rejected (2000)

The opening sequence is simply the word "Rejected" in a typewriter font shaking around as though it had been shot on a hand-held 8mm camera held by someone on speed, and the music, an orchestra at full tilt. Instantly, you know something is different than other films you've ever watched.
Rejected is a collection of short, surreal vignettes. An animator's commissioned works, rejected because of their increasingly absurd and violent tone, eventually find their entire animated world collapsing in upon itself.




Although the film is fictional and Don Hertzfeldt never did any commercial work, he received many offers to do television commercials after his short Billy's Balloon garnered international attention and acclaim. In public appearances, he often tells the story that he always wished he could just make a cheap, nonsensical commercial to give to the company intending to hire him, make off with their money, and see if the terrible cartoons would actually make it to air. Eventually this became the germ for Rejected's theme of a collection of cartoons so bad they were rejected by advertising agencies, leading to their creator's breakdown and, presumably, his fictional demise.
Don Hertzfeldt almost never uses a script during production and prefers to improvise and shape a film as it goes along. This was no different, and over eighty hours of post-production was spent radically retooling the entire piece through sound and editing. Some of the film's dialogue wasn't even written until after the film was animated and photographed, to allow for fresh improvisation and experiments.
You can buy Animated Shorts by Don Hertzfeldt.

Lifted (2006)

Lifted observes the foibles of a klutzy alien during his training as a human abductor. According to Rydstrom's mother, this short, is partially based on Rydstrom's Driver's Education experiences.
Pixar regularly uses its short films to implement new software plug-ins and techniques. This film implemented a jiggle program (used to animate Mr. B.), wherein an animator can pick a certain section of the computer model, and tap on it to make it resonate.



Rydstrom comes from the world of sound design. Animation is all about rhythm and timing: Rydstrom, in fact, believes that working in sound endowed him with a great sense of timing. Sound is, in fact, really about rhythm. Rhythm helps delineate sound effects, sound tracks, and telling a story with these kind of rhythms is really key. In fact, on Lifted before animation had begun Rydstrom used a temp soundtrack to express the timing that he wanted, so that the animators had some reference of what he was after. It was also a way for Rydstrom to communicate with the animators.
You can buy Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1 and Art of Pixar Short Films.

Strange Invaders (2001)

Cordell Barker is more famous for his previous film The Cat Came Back, but Strange Invaders has a lot of deeper meaning to it than the other shorts.
The structure of film is the same: put a baby instead of a cat, give the story to Barker and you can be sure that gags will come thick and fast!



Roger and Doris live a quiet, comfortable life until one night they are awakened by the arrival of a strange visitor. It's a child--the answer to their dreams! A gift from heaven... or, from much farther away? The strange little thing takes over, wreaking havoc on the entire household. Life, as the couple knew it, is over.

Harvie Krumpet (Oscar 2003)

You'll be surprised to see how such a sad story about a 'retarded migrant' could be so humorous. The naïve simplicity of Harvie is an extended metaphor for all that youth values in life - a clear sense of values and strength of family.
Continuing the themes of the intriguing outsider that Adam Elliot explored in his previous trilogy of short films - Uncle, Cousin, Brother - Harvie Krumpet is his most endearing character to date. Elliot, through his signature mix of comedy and pathos, carries us through the upside-down and back-to-front turns of Harvie's unusual, imaginative and imaginary life.
All his films deal with difference; people who are afflicted or marginalised. Elliot is interested in people who don't seem to fit in; the underdogs and the forgotten.



The story revolves around the life of Harvek Milos Krumpetzki, born in Poland in 1922. At the outbreak of World War II he comes to Spotswood in Australia as a refugee, and changes his name to Harvie Krumpet. Despite a life filled with bad luck, Harvie remains ever optimistic, living out his own eccentric way of life. He struggles constantly with what it is to be human. He is always looking for answers and has moments when everything seems so clear and the secret of life seems obvious. Throughout his disaster-ridden life, people around him come and go, but right to the end Harvie delights in the simple pleasure of life.
You can buy Harvie Krumpet.