A Not Sad Story

A Not Sad Story


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a jaunty, even crazed, little piece, and it certainly isn't sad. It does, however, verge on the unhinged, but its good humour is infectious. With stop-motion puppets on a drawn three-dimensional background it recalls Paddington's adventures - however, they didn't contain anywhere near this quantity of near disaster, drunken bypassers, or flying squirrels.

There's a man, a woman, and a dog. When the man becomes annoyed a black cloud descends upon him, literally. They interact with the animation itself, wiping up to clear the screen. Events are thrown into action literally. A shoe hurled in haste sparks a series of little traumas, many of which start to test its ostensible goal of not being sad.

There's a terrifying medical bag, a fever dream of a singing frog, escaping soap, a spot of the old decapitation, and that vital moment where someone exclaims (albeit silently) "let's all have tea!".

Maria Mouat's film is more than a little out there. While it starts in relatively standard territory, a picnic in the garden, what happens as it progresses is wildly out of keeping with reality, but never inconsistent - cartoonish, if you will. The four credited animators have done terrific work, and one must wonder at the impulses that fed Vladimir Gasslev's script. Slana Ganelin has provided a discordant, almost jazzy, soundtrack, with the various characters often jumping straight into a justifiable jig.

Even if it weren't for the title in massive Cyrillic letters, it would be easy to identify this as a film from the Russian Federation. There are a fair few quirks within its tone and designs that are indicative. This is a characterful little piece, entertaining throughout.

Reviewed on: 28 Jun 2010
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A man, a woman and a dog experience unexpected animated adventures.
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Director: Maria Mouat

Year: 2009

Runtime: 13 minutes

Country: Russia


EIFF 2010

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