×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nine Nation Animation

First-rate compilation offers a filling multicourse meal for the discerning grownup toon fan.

First-rate compilation “Nine Nation Animation” sprawls not just in terms of geography but technique, theme, style and tone, offering a filling multicourse meal for the discerning grownup toon fan. Package has been playing runs of various length in U.S. rep houses, cinematheques, museums and other venues since late September; bookings should stretch well into the new year, presaging transition into home-format sales.

Distributed and curated by Gotham nonprofit the World According to Shorts (named after annual programs commenced a decade ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music), “Nine” reps that org’s first all-animation collection.

It starts off on a raffish note with Kajsa Naess’ Norwegian “Deconstruction Workers,” in which two hard hats (played by animate stills of two actors) debate the meaning of life — or whether there is any — while oblivious to society collapsing around them and their own mortal peril. Using a somewhat similar media mix to different ends is Robert Bradbrook’s Brit entry “Home Road Movies,” which starts out as a nostalgic look back at driving vacations that seemed wonderful in childhood, then turned a little sad as the kids grew old enough to realize the less-than-wondrous shortcomings of their aging dad (Bill Paterson, a live figure amid vintage advertising imagery).

Also ambitious in narrative terms are Patrick Pleutin’s French “Bamiyan,” which tells the history of Afghanistan’s Taliban-destroyed giant Buddha statues in rich, oil-painterly abstractions; and Jonas Odell’s 15-minute closer “Never Like the First Time!” in which four Swedish interviewees recall their first sexual experiences — by turns boastful, disappointing, traumatic and tenderly romantic — which are illustrated in four distinctly different ways, from willfully crude line drawings to collage.

Disparate as they are, these are all delights. Likelier to divide viewers are Turkish toon “Average 40 Matches,” a computer-animation vignette set to piano-roll Paganini that feels thin even at just three minutes; South Africa’s “The Tale of How,” an eccentric mix of Bosch-like graphics and classical chorale narrating a nonsense story that’s a good deal closer to Lewis Carroll than Tim Burton’s recent stab; and Croatian entry “She Who Measures,” whose grotesque landscape of futuristic conformism recalls the Zagreb school of the ’60s. That’s not a bad thing, although the slaves-of-consumer-marketing parable feels equally old and tired.

The two funniest works are back-to-back in the middle of the omnibus. Jonas Geirnaert’s Cannes prizewinner “Flatlife” is a Tati-like orchestration of slapstick destruction by a quartet of adjacent apartment dwellers. Its drawing style and military-percussion soundtrack are both perfectly simple and simply perfect.

There’s wilder fun in David O’Reilly’s Irish-German short “Please Say Something” (winner of a Golden Bear at Berlin), which chronicles stormy domestic relations over the long haul between an office-drone cat and its mercurial mouse spouse. Designed (sound included) like a primitive videogame, with the characters’ gibberish translated into subtitles, pic mixes neurotic modern-life banality and anarchic, sci-fi-tinged absurdity in a way that feels so brilliantly fresh, viewers might well wish for an immediate second viewing.

Nine Nation Animation

Animated

Production: A World According to Shorts presentation. Produced by Jonathan Howell.

Crew: Camera (HD, DV, DVD). Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, Nov. 9, 2010. Running time: 82 MIN.

Deconstruction Workers
(Norway)
A Mikrofilm production. Produced by Lisa Fearnley.
Directed, edited by Kajsa Naess. Screenplay, Kjartan Helleve. Camera (color, HD), Janne Hansen, Naess; music, Helleve; production designers, Cecile Ellefsen, Magnhild Winsnes, Ketil Bruun Andersen, Naess. Original title: Bygningsarbeidere.
With: Anders Mordal, Jan Gunnar Roise.

Average 40 Matches
(Turkey)
An Ortalama 40 production. Produced, directed, written by Burkay Dogan, M. Sakir Arslan. (Color); editor, Emre Yalgin; music, Niccolo Paganini. Original title: Ortalama 40 cop.

Bamiyan
(France-Belgium)
A Les Films de l'Arlequin presentation in association with Arte France of an Arte France Unite de Programmes Cinema production. Produced by Dora Benousilio.
Directed, written by Patrick Pleutin. Camera (color), Nicolas Pfeiffer; editor, Celine Kelepikis; music, Philippe Eidel.
With: Fatima Husseini, Mohamad Husseini, Ahmad Ali, Chen Dehong.
(Farsi, Chinese dialogue)

Please Say Something
(Ireland-Germany)
A David O'Reilly production. Produced, directed, written, edited by David O'Reilly. (Color, HD); music, Bram Meindersma, David Kamp.

Flatlife
(Belgium)
A Kask presentation. Produced by Jean-Marie Demeyer.
Directed, written, edited by Jonas Geirnaert. (Color); music, Ward Seyssens.

She Who Measures
(Croatia)
A Lemonade3d production. Produced by Ivan Ratkovic, Lado Skorin. Executive producer, Vanja Andrijevic.
Directed, written by Veljko Popovic. (Color, DigiBeta); music, Hrvoje Stefotic. Original title: Ona koja mjeri.

Home Road Movies
(U.K.)
A Finetake production for Channel 4 in association with Arts Council of England. Produced by Dick Arnall.
Directed by Robert Bradbrook. Screenplay, Ian Seller. Camera (color), Sam James; editor, Tony Fish.
With: Bill Paterson, Phelim McDermott, Arnal Anwar, Joseph Ariolt-Edwards, Tom Eilenberg, Rob Robinson, Gem Souleyman.

The Tale of How
(South Africa)
A Blackheart Gang presentation. Produced by the Blackheart Gang.
Directed by Markus, Ree, Jannes Hendrikz. Screenplay, Markus. (Color, Beta SP); music, Markus.
(English dialogue)

Never Like the First Time!
(Sweden)
A FilmTecknarna production. Produced by Susanne Granlof.
Directed, written, edited by Jonas Odell. Camera (color), Per Helin; music, Krister Linder; production designer, Odell. Original title: Aldrig som forsta gangen!
With: Mikael Brolin, Hanna Eklof, Rebecca Haridi, Jenny Holstrom, Torbjorn Jager, Johanna Karlsson, Frederik Ostling.

More Film

  • 'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Fashioned 1980s'

    'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Put a Decadent Twist on Opulent ’80s Style

    Set against the backdrop of London’s early-1980s cultural renaissance, British auteur Joanna Hogg’s exquisitely sculpted and critically acclaimed “The Souvenir,” which A24 has been widening in platform release for the past month, follows film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her gradually destructive romance with the magnetic Anthony (Tom Burke). “We didn’t want a film [...]

  • Anne Hathaway

    Crew Member Stabbed on Set of Anne Hathaway's 'The Witches' in England

    A crew member has been stabbed in the neck on the set of Anne Hathaway’s “The Witches” remake, which is being shot at the Warner Bros. Studios stages in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. The Hertfordshire Constabulary said in a statement that the victim was hospitalized and his alleged attacker was arrested. The two men are believed to [...]

  • paranormal-activity-1

    Paramount, Blumhouse Announce Seventh 'Paranormal Activity' Movie

    Paramount Pictures and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse are teaming on a seventh “Paranormal Activity” movie. Paramount chief Jim Gianopulos announced the untitled project Wednesday during the studio’s CineEurope presentation in Barcelona. Plot details are also under wraps. The franchise was launched with 2007’s “Paranormal Activity,” a micro-budget film about a young couple who had who moved [...]

  • Steve Buscemi

    Steve Buscemi Joins Judd Apatow's Upcoming Pete Davidson Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Steve Buscemi, Kevin Corrigan, Domenick Lombardozzi and Mike Vecchione have rounded out the cast of Universal’s untitled Judd Apatow comedy starring Pete Davidson. Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow and Pamela Adlon had been previously announced. Apatow is directing from a script he co-wrote with Davidson and Dave Sirus. The film is a [...]

  • Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in

    Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' for Netflix

    Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman will star in the movie adaptation of the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix. George C. Wolfe (“Lackawanna Blues”) will direct from a script by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the award-winning play by August Wilson. Other cast include Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Michael Potts. Denzel [...]

  • Crazy Bitches

    Why the CASE Act Will Empower Creatives to Fight the Horrors of Piracy

    Our horror film, “Crazy Bitches,” was released on Valentine’s Day 2015. We invested in an online marketing campaign that resulted in two times the industry clickthrough rate and 2.6M social media impressions in the week leading up to the release. So, we had reason to expect a successful return. What we didn’t count on was [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse LA

    Alamo Drafthouse to Open in Downtown Los Angeles in July

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is planning to open its first Los Angeles location with a “soft launch” in early July in the city’s downtown. The Texas-based chain, which has 38 locations, specializes food and drink service with unique programming. It announced Wednesday that the Los Angeles site, located at the Bloc, would offer an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content