Combustible Celluloid
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With: Roeland Wiesnekker, Catherine Janke, Aude Léger, Norma Sheahan, Olutunji Ebun-Cole, Trine Pallesen, Henning Moritzen, Tamay Bulut Ozvatan, Claudia Hubschmann
Written by: Kunio Kato, Konstantin Bronzit, Doug Sweetland, Ted Mathot, Valerie LaPointe, Justin Wright, Adam Foulkes, Christopher O'Reilly, Alan Smith, Reto Caffi, Philippe Zweifel, Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont, Steph Green, Anders Frithiof August, Dorthe Warno Hogh, Johann A. Bunners, Jochen Alexander Freydank
Directed by: Kunio Kato, Konstantin Bronzit, Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand, Doug Sweetland, Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes, Reto Caffi, Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont, Steph Green, Tamara Anghie, Tivi Magnusson, Dorthe Warno Hogh, Jochen Alexander Freydank
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Various languages, with English subtitles
Running Time: 130
Date: 03/19/2013

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Short and Sweet

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This year's batch of animated shorts is a good deal better -- and overall, shorter -- than last year's. First off, we have the heavyweight champ, Pixar's Presto, which may be the funniest short they have yet produced, though it doesn't really break any new ground. It depicts the struggle between a hungry rabbit and a magician. There's also the much-loved This Way Up, which screened as part of last year's Animation Show 4. It's a computer-animated tale of two long-faced undertakers who face no end of troubles delivering a casket to its final resting place. Konstantin Bronzit's Lavatory Lovestory is a lovely little black-and-white hand-drawn item, with fresh bursts of color at opportune moments. A lonely lavatory attendant imagines life with a boyfriend, until a mysterious someone leaves flowers in her tip jar! Kunio Kato's Le Maison en petits cubes is a sentimental stunner, truly beautiful with its shadowy, hand-drawn art. Living in a city with an ever-rising waterline, an old man builds another story onto his house, but drops his favorite smoking pipe. He rents a diving suit to find it and relives his life through the various, submerged layers of his house. I haven't decided on a favorite yet, but the three-minute Oktapodi may be it. It's a fast-moving, great-looking and hilarious chase as a heroic octopus tries to rescue his girlfriend. If I had to to predict a winner, however, I'd be stuck. I'd say that, right now, it's between Presto, This Way Up and Le Maison en petits cubes.

As for the live action films, I can't say I was thrilled to sit through yet another WWII/Nazi/Holocaust film with Jochen Alexander Freydank's Toyland, but the film surprised me with its playful use of time and its powerful conclusion. It's probably the most likely contender to bring home the award. New Boy is based on a story by Roddy Doyle, and it's nicely done, but a fairly obvious bit of message mongering. Manon on the Asphalt is an effective and detailed vision of life as seen through the eyes of a woman just hit by a car. And Reto Caffi's On the Line is an ironic, but equally mysterious story of an almost-love affair with a puzzler of an ending. I think my favorite is The Pig, the funny story of a hospitalized man who grows fond of a strange picture in his room. Despite their flaws, I'm mostly pleased with this entire batch.

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