The Emperor

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Emperor
"The style allows for a sense of movement, which Hobbs often exploits for its witty details."

Showing as part of Edinburgh Film Festival's Red, White and Blue animation retrospective showcase, Elizabeth Hobbs' animation begins in an auction room before hopping over The Channel to consider the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. She shows the emperor on the battlefield before outlining his exile to St Helena. What marks out Hobbs' work is her distinctive animation style. Her action is a flurry of impressionistic water colour, with characters rising brightly out of the backdrop and then sinking back from where they came.

The style allows for a sense of movement, which she often exploits for its witty details, such as the guard next to Napoleon in his bath, wagging his cross-legged foot up and down. Her ability to pick out details also lends her work a certain unpredictability for the viewer, as we are never quite sure what will emerge next, whether it's explosions reddening and spreading across the sky, chickens pecking their way through Napoleon's garden or dancers twirling through a ballroom.

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For all its French fancy, this animation has British humour very much at its heart and by using her imagination so vividly, Hobbs encourages us to put our own through its paces.

Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2017
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The tale of a quest to free Napoleon Bonaparte from exile on the island of St Helena.

Director: Elizabeth Hobbs

Year: 2001

Runtime: 5 minutes

Festivals:

EIFF 2017

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