Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"There are moments where geometry creates something that's indistinguishable from magic."

Mamoon's look is at once so simple, light projected upon cut styrofoam blocks, and so complex, full of life, animated in the magical sense, that as soon as one sees it one is held, captive. The quality of its technical presentation reminded me of 2011 Bafta Short winner The Eagleman Stag, and though that film makes use of an even more limited palette and a much more looping structure there's some degree of similarity in their utter commitment to using exactly enough to tell the story, and no more.

Short films are sometimes short because of budget, but the best are short because they know exactly how to cut their cloth and waste nothing. Here, admittedly, it's polystyrene foam, cut by the hot-wire or craft knives of Leo Blackmuir and Lee Bowditch. Onto those textured surfaces shine lights, characters designed by Marylou Mao, animated by Phil Brooks and Ben Steer. Music from Matthew Wilcock contributes to the film, but it's the visuals that compel.

Copy picture

There are moments where geometry creates something that's indistinguishable from magic. Rather than delve too far into the technical details, suffice to say that it's excellent, and that animation studio Blue Zoo's website has a fascinating breakdown of the 'making of'. You'll know Blue Zoo's work if you've been to a Cineworld Cinema (though I prefer their Lego related stuff, especially the Lego Batman work for Cartoon Network). This is something that plays with the processes of animation, taking place in front of a camera with all the veracity of any Herzog documentary. It happened in front of a camera. 'Mamoon' means 'without fear', and that confidence is aptly displayed here. Deservedly nominated for a BAFTA, it's a further indicator of both personal and organisational talent. More than just a trick of the light, Mamoon is indeed a true delight.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2018
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Styrofoam blocks work magic.

Director: Ben Steer

Year: 2017

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: UK


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