International Shorts Program
When it comes to animation, there’s a big difference between the Americans and the Canadians. Americans go for the money, and Canadians go for the art. We Yanks appreciate the good graces of the Canadian taxpayers for financing our fun. They’ve financed a true work of art by Russian artist Alexander Petrov. Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea comes to life as a living impressionist painting, a swirl of color and pastel image. Each cell stands are a work of fine art, painted by the fingers of this great artist. One of the strongest images arises as the fishing village sets out to sea before sunrise. Stars burn bright above as individual fishermen move in their own pools of light. This is the story that defines existentialism, as the old man takes to the sea and catches a fish larger than the boat he sails. The fight takes days, and with sadness he must kill his brother the great fish. As he returns to shore, the sharks move in and eat his catch, leaving only the head to verify his triumph.
Another strong short comes from the diary of the London plague of 1665. As the pestilence rages, Londoners cower indoors for fear of this silent death. Stop motion animation of The Periwig Maker has business grinding to a halt, but a great supply of material comes on the market from the heads of the corpses buried in mass graves. Our long-faced protagonist watches the little red haired girl across the street lose her mother and then her own life. So sad, yet such a nice red wig…
Several short spots by Aardman Animation introduce the Angry Kid, a rubbery faced little blighter who has a little bone protrusion accident. When the local pit bull stops by for a snack, AK defends himself by biting off the dog’s ear. Completely cool.
My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts tells of one woman’s sacrifice in the Norwegian resistance movement. As shirt flattener to the royal household, she defends her homeland and helps drive the Nazis out by putting extra starch in their shirts. It sounds humble, but it’s the sort of small bravery needed to defend freedom everywhere.