Festival of Animation | Chicago Reader

Festival of Animation

This varied collection of shorts, put together by an organization based in La Jolla called Mellow Madness, represents an improvement over the International Tournee of Animation in terms of overall quality. A greater interest in the hallucinatory describes part of the different emphasis, although the selection is no less international: films from Hungary, Canada, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, the USSR, and the U.S. are included, and the styles vary from the near abstract (Sara Petty's lovely Furies, about two undulating cats) to the political and notational (Jonathan Amitay's Oh, Dad) to School of Chuck Jones minimalism (Andrew Stanton's Somewhere in the Arctic) to jeering punk (Christopher Simon's Hello Dad, I'm in Jail) to top-heavy narrative (Eunice McCauley's Special Delivery and Andrew Stanton's A Story, the latter a nightmarish version of TV kiddie-show muck). Some of the cartoons here suffer from overexposure (isn't it about time to give Bambi Meets Godzilla an extended rest?), but otherwise the overall quality is unusually high, and for sheer, unadulterated weirdness, Sing Beast Sing—by the auteur of Bambi Meets Godzilla, Marv Newland—is a standout.

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