The Tannery

The Tannery

***1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

In the woods, the music becomes strident, ominous. Pursued by a hunter, this fox isn't as lucky as the hero of of The Henhouse. However, despite its fate it keeps running, or, rather, its spirit does.

Iain Gardner's film posits a rather optimistic animist version of nature, with the 'souls' of various woodland creatures ascending as their mortal flesh returns to whence it came. Despite that, this is a rather bleak little tale, fitting for what may well be a Russian winter. Composer Nick Cook's music is well used, but the real quality is in Gardner's animation. A variety of almost painted textures are used, on a background that resembles rough paper. Sympathetic character design, all wide eyes and bright colours, helps, but the story itself is, well, haunting.

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At Edinburgh's 2010 International Film Festival The Tannery had the distinction of being screened twice, a happy accident of its production perhaps but also a sign of its quality. Visually distinct, it might have a simple moral but it's still a well-framed piece of work. With almost wholly animal action its willingness to resist anthropomorphism is to its credit. Gardner's film isn't quite unflinching, but for animation it comes pretty close to showing nature red in tooth and claw, or at least pastel blue in the afterlife. Gardner has worked as animator on a few films and directed a live-action short, but this is his first film wearing several hats. On the basis of this outing audiences should look forward to him doing so again.

Reviewed on: 09 Jul 2010
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A fox has a life after death experience.
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Director: Iain Gardner

Writer: Iain Gardner

Year: 2010

Runtime: 6 minutes

Country: UK


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