The Moon Bird

The Moon Bird


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Starkly monochrome, like chalk on a blackboard, sometimes appearing a negative, it is not only the animation that is dark; this fairy tale from the Brothers McLeod might be from the pages of the Brothers Grimm. Beyond its striking visuals, it has a soundtrack with piercing choral tones, a discordant but lovely score, and a story that is frightening and magical.

A little girl, an orphan, is menaced by a witch, or something nastier - whatever the malovelent entity's identity, it's certain she means the lass harm, scrying in a cauldron before dispatching minions in the classic style. The cyclopean servitors of the sorceress are scary, so too the noises that she makes as she works her wizardry. After pursuing the girl, and with some use of magic tricks - not cards or rabbits, but supernatural misdirection - the dungeon is home to caged skeletons, and all looks lost for our heroine, but with the help of a glowing beetle there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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The little girl, Teardrop, isn't quite voiced by Ophelia Colver, nor are some of the witch's noises provided by Rachel Ferjani's language. That's not to say they aren't useful, important, or convincing. For all its simplicity there's a lot of effort in The Moon Bird, good character design, an affecting storyline, excellent music and sound work by the brothers McLeod with the aid of Mark Dean. As the sorceress swells with power she makes noises that sound a bit like Michael Bay's Transformers, but here it's terrifying rather than risible. The climactic duel is exciting, and feels like a key moment in some alternate mythology, the kind of folkloric moment that becomes a figure of speech. That timelessness, the feel of something genuine, is to the credit of all involved. The Moon Bird is original in appearance, but feels like the retelling of an unknown classic. It's very good too.

Reviewed on: 09 Jul 2010
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An orphan girl takes on a sorceress with the help of her magical feathered friend.
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Director: Myles McLeod, Greg McLeod

Writer: Myles McLeod, Greg McLeod

Starring: Ophelia Colver, Rachel Ferjani

Year: 2010

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010

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No Sleep Won't Kill You
Tad's Nest