The Short Animation Blogathon is here!
Two weeks ago, we announced it; now it’s time to follow through. All this week, we’ll be accepting submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org and posting links to your lists of favorite animated shorts. And what better way to start out the blogathon than with a live demonstration?
Andreas’s Hour of Short Animation
Let’s watch some cartoons! This is my attempt to mix a variety of styles, moods, and time periods into an hour-long mini-festival of beloved animation. Let’s see how well I fare…
- The Wrong Trousers (Nick Park, 1993, 30 minutes). All three of Park’s Wallace and Gromit shorts are absolute delights; they’re charming, ultra-British, and visually witty. But The Wrong Trousers is in a category of its own. It’s a master class in short-form screenwriting, it features the most heartbreaking dog/human relationship this side of Umberto D., and its meticulous chains of cause and effect capitalize so well on the unique powers of animation. I could seriously watch it day in, day out, on a loop.
- Frank Film (Frank and Caroline Mouris, 1973, 9 minutes). This Oscar winner compensates for its brevity with sheer density as it pours out a deluge of audovisual information about Frank Mouris’s life. It races from facet to facet, from childhood to maturity, through cars, food, sex, and socializing. Its breakneck visuals are complemented by Mouris’s deadpan narration, resulting in a painfully honest mini-macro-memoir.
- Feline Fantasies (Bruno Bozzetto, 1976, ~6 minutes). This one’s a chapter from Bozzetto’s Fantasia spoof Allegro Non Troppo. Set to Sibelius’s “Valse Triste,” it’s a dagger to the heart of every cat lover in the audience. It can be colorful and frisky, sure, but it’s also brutally tearjerking. In fact, I don’t know if I can keep writing about it without splashing tears all over my keyboard…
- Betty Boop’s May Party (Dave Fleischer, 1933, 7 minutes). After that emotional ordeal, you’ll want to watch something peppy. Thankfully, May Party is a dose of raw pep. It’s nearly plotless and has little to do with Betty Boop; instead, it’s a catalog of abuses, mutilations, and natural disasters turned into one big, frenetic, ritualized dance. And it’s hilarious.
- Quasi at the Quackadero (Sally Cruikshank, 1975, 10 minutes). Sporting a heavy Fleischer Bros. influence, Cruikshank’s cult cartoon is as compulsively rewatchable as it is incomprehensible. It’s a tour through a series of impossible fair attractions—a thought illustrator, dream reader, past life viewer, time machine, etc.—courtesy of man-child/duck Quasi, his wife, and her robot paramour. Between this fundamental weirdness, the idiosyncratic line readings, and the hyperactive animation, Quasi is a sort of wacky, acid-drenched Double Indemnity that doubles as a tribute to animated shorts past and future.
I’ll wrap up with the first of our submissions. It’s “5 Best Lego Stop Motion Horror Films” by Bodhi of Old Horror Movies. I was only vaguely aware of the “brickfilm” genre before this, and Bodhi’s list is a great introduction. These block-by-block, shot-by-shot recreations are a testament to the low-budget imagination of some dedicated horror fans. So check out those videos, and stay tuned for updates throughout the week!