Reviews

The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows

 

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I caught the Animation Show of Shows again, now in its 19th annual installment and it was as delightful as always. There were several films that stood out to me such as “Our Wonderful Nature: The Common Chameleon” by Tomer Eshed and “Everything” by David OReilly. However one film that I found especially captivating was “Min Börda” (The Burden) by Niki Lindroth Von Bahr.

In the film, we’re presented with vignettes of anthropomorphized animals, toiling away at various menial jobs. They each break into song, but their veil of drudgery is hardly lifted. They solemnly highlight the contours of their stilted existences, while seemingly welcoming an oncoming apocalypse. They await the day that burdens are lifted from their shoulders and all that ails them vanishes away.

The sentiment has universal appeal as many of us often find ourselves in an inescapable rut. I found personal resonance, as someone grappling with the tenuous balance of conflicting responsibilities. It can often seem as though there is no relief in sight. The prospect of a doomsday delivering that relief is a tragically alluring concept.

It’s films such as this that make the annual Animation Show of Shows special. A showcase of unique voices often left unheard, whose messages can resonate with anyone, no matter place of origin. I look forward to seeing what gems await in the 20th show!

As a bonus, I’d like to share my review of the previous year’s screening:

“The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows, recently held at the SCADshow theater, was my first attendance of the event. I’m always eager to see new and interesting films, especially films with personality. The Animation Show of Shows had this in spades. Not since the days of “Liquid Television” have I seen a collection of films that step outside the box and set it on fire.

A few of my personal favorites were “Afternoon Class” by Seoro Oh and “Bøygen” by Kristian Pedersen. “Afternoon Class” was an immensely entertaining short featuring a boy locked in a pitched battle with himself to stay awake. It’s crisp, colorful art style is seconded only to the hilarious “heavy head” running gag. The nosedives he takes onto his desk turn his head into a kaleidoscope of pain. His plight reminded me of my own struggles against the sandman, burning barrels of midnight oil to complete my student film.

My next highlight is the film “Bøygen.” This short was an abstract piece inspired by a creature from Scandinavian folklore known as The Boyg. It’s described as a formless or pervasive obstacle, problem, or enemy. Though it is also known as being serpentine in appearance. It is this characteristic that predominantly finds its way into the film. Each scene is a menagerie of slithering forms that swirl and churn in a basin of chiaroscuro. The Boyg is the embodiment of an obstacle, but the visuals nevertheless gave me the impression of creation. Appropriately enough, adversity is often the mother of inspiration.

These were, of course, just a sample of what The Animation Show of Shows had to offer. The wellspring of weirdness went much deeper. I highly recommend checking out any screenings that come to your area. As an animator and avid theater goer, there’s simply no replacement for seeing animated films on the big screen. My first attendance certainly won’t be the last.”

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