Eye For Film >> Movies >> Stems (2015) Film Review
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
"Puppet making starts with materials I find attractive," says Ainslie Henderson, "things that have already had a life are lovely to put into puppets". At first in real-time, the animator's hands in shot, assembling the components of characters inchoate, then coalescing in stop motion into a touching piece of animation.
There are some lovely moments, a piano being built beneath the fingers of the player, a tentacular percussionist, but even as Poppy Ackroyd's music swells and a tiny big band is built and starts to play it there's reference to the "inherent sadness" of stop motion, and that's an appropriate emotional response.
It's beautifully constructed, pun intended. Ainslie's talent as an animator is apparent. His frequent collaborator Will Anderson was elsewhere screening an 'advert' for The Infinity Project, seeking to support independent animation by finding homes for characters now abandoned - in that light, the ephemerality of the lives of these little leaf-covered armature musicians gains an extra piece of poignancy, and extra little kick. As does the fact that the film won the McLaren award for Animation at 2015's Edinburgh International Film Festival.Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2015