Whilst staggering under the weight of the research for my dissertation (stop motion VS CGI) I came across this strange little gem, maybe a little unpolished, but none the less charming for it.
It reminded me of a mix of ‘Mary and Max’, ‘Courage the cowardly dog’ and Tim Burton’s ‘Vincent’ rolled into one backwards little short, all pyjamas, long faces and silence.
I loved how it transported me back to my childhood days of ‘Are you afraid of the dark?’, and the dark tones with beautiful creepy realistic eyes made it all too interesting not to look into further- I was comforted a little too much by the fact that his chubby hands were made from what seemed to be bandages- my own little stop motion puppet was made with bandages for hands- it was the best I could find for him under the circumstances- but he is for another time..
I’d not heard of this animator before, or seen anything he’d done- Bruno Collet works on a number of French films, and has done some wonderful things- unfortunately, I couldn’t find all that much on him, but did find the film below, a wonderful portrayal of war, done all in grey, sticky looking clay.
If war was a material I think that Collet found the right one. Soldiers in the trenches sometimes made art from the clay of the walls of the dug-outs, sometimes to beautiful effect.
The mud they lived in, the mud they fought in and sometimes, tragically returned to, was reflected so poignantly in this animation, the maggots in the food they left behind, a reminder of the places they have gone to, and where they will never return from.
Although depressing and dark, it was actually quite touching, and very honest- so well built and beautifully shot.
It reminded me of a short film that won awards at the Bradford Animation festival the year just gone.. I never got to see all of it, but would very much like to some day, again, French but made by the animator Anna Budanova- like the last short, made all from one medium, but this time brown paper- the sepia tones making it look like the letters and photos sent from home at the time, the same ones that heal the physical wounds of the paper soldiers, the same way they healed the mental ones of the real soldiers at the front.
After spending these last couple of hours trying to avoid my dissertation writing, my latest post ended up just like my trawling essay- long and strangely leading onto different random things, in an everlasting lane of linking animations and wonderful ideas.
I think I need to sleep on it all.