McLaren Animation 1

McLaren Animation 1

***

Reviewed by: Trinity

The McLaren animation programme, now in its 18th year, aims to reward innovation and quality within the British animation industry. As usual, this programme is a collection of shorts from the usual suspects such as Aardman and Blackwatch/Mesh, as well as a number of graduation films and a smattering of independents. A small criticism is that because of technical barriers, shorts tend to be grouped by format, rather than programmed in a thematic order. Nevertheless, within these constraints, we can see the best of modern British animation.

The first of two programnmes at the festival, McLaren Animation 1 is a bit patchy with good and bad examples of the genre intermingling. A lot of the problem is the limitations of the short form - it is difficult to get across both character and story in an average of five minutes.

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Among the better examples are: Immeasurable, which fuses live action with stopmotion and computer generated effects to create a fantastical tale of men and cockroaches; Pushkin, about a woman searching - with hilarious and mostly dialogue free consequences - for her missing cat; and John and Karen, a whimsical tale about a polar bear apologising to a penguin.

Overall though, the shorts in this programme are lacking a bit in imagination, with The Accident, by Sara Nesturuk, being the only one to transcend the genre to offer a perfect balance of playing with and to the medium in a meditation about an uncle and his obsession with writing letters. By drawing upon the visual metaphor of writing, as well as contrasting the effect of memory (or lack of it) between the two characters of the narrator and the uncle, The Accident gives us a new perspective on human endeavour.

Read a separate review of Leigh Hodgkinson's Flighty here.

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2007
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Short animation showcase.

Director: various

Writer: various

Year: 2007

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2007

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