Magical Journeys of Discovery | Chicago Reader

Magical Journeys of Discovery

Short films and videos, many of them about accepting or overcoming obstacles. In Nils Apans's Latvian Spring (2001) several angry and confused snowmen witness their own demise as winter winds down, while a bemused rabbit swipes their carrot noses for a quick snack. From Canada, Magic in the Air is the latest installment of Co Hoedeman's “Ludovic” series, inspired by his childhood teddy bear. While playing at a park, the fuzzy fellow is harassed by a bully and then becomes smitten with a female teddy bear; Hoedeman's puppet animation sometimes threatens to become cloying, but he has some notion when to pull back on the more maudlin aspects of his story. Dace Riduze's Latvian Up and Down (2001) is a hilarious bit about a tiger desperately trying to tend its carrot garden while an irascible mole wreaks havoc from below ground. When the garden finally collapses from the mole's furtive tunnel digging, a posse of rabbits makes off with the carrots. And Johnnie Semerad's quirky Josh W. (2001), about a bicycle-riding boy who accidentally swallows a bug and then develops a voracious appetite for insects, uses swatches of shadow and light to portend a bit of bad luck for the hero. Five shorts from Sweden, Canada, and Germany complete the program. 69 min.

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