Head Over Heels


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Head Over Heels
"Its sure-footed direction, its invention and its heart are all infatuating."

Walter and Madge have been married long enough to feel they are trapped, living parallel lives - in Timothy Reckart's touching stop-motion short this is literally the case. In a beautifully realised house they co-exist - one on the ceiling, the other on the floor.

Made at the National Film & Television school, this is a student endeavour but as with all the school's output that's an indicator of fantastic quality. Reckart writes and directs but as with all animation the efforts of all involved are visible on the schreen. Madge and Walter's house is a wonder of wood panelling and pulleys, at once Escheresque and suburban, all Formica and fantasy.

Copy picture

The film sets out its rules and then plays by them - this divided living, romantic attachment complicated by gravitational attraction. It plays within them too, pictures adjusted on hooks, the business of hoovering, of simultaneous pancake preparation, and then it throws in a wrench and its passage delights. When adjustment comes it's touching, more so because it's not that perspectives change, but that mechanisms are found to cope with them.

Jered Sorkin's music suits the piece well, but the triumph is in the character and set design. The faces are down to earth, a kind of stylised ultra-realism, like a Howson painting in whichever arcane plasticine the breath of life is trapped within. Eleonore Cremonese's production design is noteable, the house that Walter and Madge share is note-perfect, even in its absurdity. Rayyah McCaul and Nigel Anthony supply the voices, but to be fair, and this speaks to the film's strength - it would work silently. Its sure-footed direction, its invention and its heart are all infatuating.

Eye For Film saw it in Edinburgh as part of the McLaren Animation strand, and since then it's picked up other festival nods. However, it's a genuine pleasure to note that Head Over Heels has an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short. If our recommendation somehow weren't enough, that's a fair signal that you should seek it out.

Reviewed on: 10 Jan 2013
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A couple who have grown apart - geometrically - try to rekindle their relationship.

Director: Timothy Reckart

Writer: Timothy Reckart

Starring: Nigel Anthony, Ruth Rayyah McCaul

Year: 2012

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: UK


Karlovy 2013

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