Sundance Film Festival Animated Shorts 2014 | Chicago Reader

Sundance Film Festival Animated Shorts 2014

Death is a recurring subject in these short animations, which range from the poignant to the downright tasteless. The standout, unsurprisingly, is Don Hertzfeldt's It's Such a Beautiful Day, the third chapter in a remarkable series that began with Everything Will Be OK (2006). Here the everyman Bill struggles to hang on to his memories as his mind deteriorates; visually this may be the most ambitious thing Hertzfeldt has ever made, incorporating live-action footage and jarring photographic effects. Almost as affecting are Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels's Oh Willy, a French-Dutch puppet animation in which an elderly man retreats to the mountains after his wife dies, and Julia Pott's Belly, a British hand-drawn cartoon that follows two brothers on a traumatic trip to the beach. The lowlight is Stephen Irwin's The Obvious Child (no relation to the indie comedy), a disorganized shocker that presents cutesy storybook characters amid images of hellfire and dismemberment.

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