Monday, 25 May 2009

Because I can't really put it off any longer

International Anifest

Now, let's get the slightly ugly bit out of the way first: I really didn't enjoy this one. Teplice is a lovely town and would probably be a decent place to retire to but don't ever go there if you want to have a party. Unless you're bringing lots of loud friends and intend to start one yourself. I didn't have lots of loud friends, though, and given my complete inability to speak Czech I didn't really have many people to talk to. There were english speakers there, of course, and there were a couple of people I saw repeatedly over the course of my stay who I could have conversations with, but they tended to have other commitments or groups of non-English-speaking friends, and I couldn't really introduce myself to anybody as I'm pretty certain I was the only British film-maker there.

So, socially, a bit duff, but oh well, that's not everything. I got into all the screenings free (one up on onedotzero, hoho), and in fact I didn't even have to pay for my hotel, so I shan't begrudge the organisers. Maybe the Trebon part of the festival was better. Onto some film reviews.

Planet A (trailer link partway down) by Momoko Seto was an extremely strange but very beautiful piece, which seemed to consist largely of footage of salt crystals forming. I think that's what it was anyway. Slow, but I was captivated for all of its 7 minutes and 40 seconds. The feeling of a barren, alien world was really convincing.

Sur le Fil (Razor Edge) by Benjamin Dupouy (they spelt the poor guy's name three different ways in the festival materials). My favourite. Unfortunately I can't find it online, but it's real graphic genius, the screenshot above is really only a vague hint of some of the clever games this film plays with lines and fills. You'll just have to take my word for it, of course!

Le Couvre Chef (Headgear) by Marie Delmas. Very, very witty, and I love the timing of the animation. It's very varied and tailored to each individual scene, but each method used is distinctive and attractive in its own right. The colour design is pretty nice, too.

Volgens de Vogel (According to Birds) by Linde Faas. Another extremely slow, exquisitely atmospheric piece. There are some really meticulous bits of animation in this. Also, major kudos to Linde for doing the whole thing in pencil and somehow completely avoiding the nasty white fringe it tends to cause (as a result of cutting things out with the magic wand tool in Photoshop).

Traverser (Crossing Water) by Hugo Frassetto, an unbelievably slick sand animation. Damn Frenchmen. I don't know where they get it from.

Nice Day For A Picnic by Monica Gallab (no vide link, sorry). Very strange. Won the Prize for Best Student Film.

I also caught a couple of features.

Tokyo Marble Chocolate (Naoyoshi Shiotani). A rather sappy love story, and while I'm not one to go out of my way to watch romance stuff, it was pretty nice. Amusingly, most of the audience left after the first part not knowing it consisted of two parts, har har.
Also it was fun to watch with both Czech and English subtitles.

I also decided to watch NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind...in French, with English and Czech subtitles. It's far from my favourite Ghibli movie (though still leagues ahead of Howl's Moving Castle, which I hated) but I still enjoyed it.

And that's that, really.

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