Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Stories of this sort are so often presented as tragedies that it's delightful to watch this very different take."

Unless you are one of our very youngest readers, you will already have gone through it at some point - that moment in adolescence when it's time to take a chance and experiment with flirting. For some it's more complicated than for others. Lasse Persson's playful and evocative animation explores the sexual awakening of a shy, spotty youth in a Fifties seaside town, where everything turns on the discovery of an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini.

This is such a gentle, charming story that it's hard to reconcile with the outrage expressed by Fox News at its appearance on a DVD used by schools in California. Presumably they had some notion that it would teach children to become transgender, when the intention was simply that it help to tackle prejudice; but it's really just as much about developing confidence, something every young person can relate to. It's one thing to dress up at home, but on the beach, in front of people, our young hero is afraid to come out of the locker. When he does, the warmth of his reception, with two beautifully drawn musclebound beach hunks immediately swooning, gives the classic song a really joyous feeling. Of course, he's not welcomed by everyone, and the bathing beauty who enjoyed all the attention beforehand is most displeased. There'll be trouble before the day is over. This doesn't make the in between time any less fun.

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Stories of this sort are so often presented as tragedies that it's delightful to watch this very different take. The Fifties world is beautifully recreated, right down to the colour palette and the terrifying mother who resembles a Gary Larson matriarch. This creates a nostalgic atmosphere which emphasises the eternal nature of the tale. It's a simple film, not overly ambitious, but a real charmer.

Reviewed on: 08 Oct 2010
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Bikini packshot
An angstful adolescent finds a new lust for life upon daring to wear a bikini.

Director: Lasse Persson

Writer: Lasse Persson

Year: 2004

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: Sweden


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