SXSW Short Film Festival @ Home – Animated

Chicken of the Dead ***
Directed by Julien David

I was immediately struck by how much this animation style reminded me of the work that came out of the Klasky-Csupo studio in the 1990s (Rugrats, Wild Thornberrys, Duckman, etc.). In this short, chicken factory maven Bernard Lepique has come to a gala dinner in his honor. He uses this as an occasion to introduce his newest genetically modified delicacy, a melange of chicken and antibiotics. The result is a horror movie spoof that sees the effects of this new food creating hordes of monsters. It’s a fun and light satire on the factory farming industry that is animated quite well.

The Slug Finger **
Directed by Lily Shaul

This falls into the category of a simple joke turned into a short film, and if you have seen my reviews in other categories this month, you know that just isn’t my thing. It’s animated well, but I just wasn’t amused by the scenario. It felt like a Far Side comic, so if that is your thing, then you might really like it.

Blackheads ***
Directed by Emily Ann Hoffman

The aspect I love the most from this short film is the interesting blend of stop-motion and cel animation. The main character is a stop motion figure, but her eyes and mouth are hand-drawn animations. She’s a woman going through a break-up and getting terrible advice from her therapist. Throughout the morning, the story takes place; she allows her imagination to take over and tries to work through the lingering pain.

Undiable dans la pouche *****
Directed by Antoine Bonnet & Mathilde Loubes

This was hands down my favorite from the animation category. I was reminded of wonderfully sinister children’s fables and folktales. Specifically, this made me recall Lon Po Po, the Chinese Little Red Riding Hood, and the work of Edward Gorey. A group of children witness a crime and are paid & threatened to keep quiet. One little boy feels the tug of guilt, and over time his friends begin to turn on him. Beautifully animated and with a perfect ambiguous ending that leaves us with lots of questions.

Solipsism ***
Directed by Tuna Bora & Jonathan Djob Nkondo

This one is extraordinarily abstract and gorgeously animated. You follow a young woman struggling with issues of identity in a way that only animation could provide.

Coldsore ***
Directed by Caitlin McCarthy

The popular girl’s lips are riddled with cold sores. So our nameless protagonist, an awkward nerdy girl, rushes home to look up how she can get cold sores too. I love the presentation choices in this short, particularly how the internet is shown. It’s funny and could be a simple joke/punchline short, but those intelligent decisions of how to show something elevates it.

Symbiosis (Grand Jury Prize) ****
Directed by Nadja Andrasev

A wife discovers her husband is cheating on her with multiple women and simmers with jealousy while spying on him. Then she becomes deeply curious about who these women and starts getting riskier. This short blends live-action with its animation in brilliant ways. I have to say I was always surprised about where the film was going next, and that is what kept me hooked.


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  1. Pingback: April 2020 Digest

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