The Milwaukee Film Festival brings you seven strange, dark and heartfelt international shorts, premiering Tuesday night at Fox Bay Cinema.
Amid the Shorter is Better selections of the MKE Film Festival stands Let’s Get Animated, a collection of eight mature, international shorts that will make you reflect deeply and feel wounded in the heartstrings.
Oh Willy is certainly a stop-motion standout, with astounding detail and emotion. Burlap, felt, and other furry textiles create a muffled and surreal world. No words are spoken—the wind whistles in the woods, triumphant music sounds, and Willy finds a way to cope with his mother’s death in the strangest fashion.
Palmipedarium incorporates a dark pastoral landscape, following a young boy on his first duck hunt with his father. Afterwards, he discovers a strange creature in the backyard, and the following (silent) narrative juxtaposes the stark setting against the imaginative faith of childhood.
I am Tom Moody expertly navigates the mind of an anxiety-ridden man who relentlessly fights with his inner dialogue. The stop-motion claymation is heartbreaking, simple, pitch-perfect. You may laugh out loud at Tom’s pain, but you’ll slap your hand over your mouth for doing so.
The shortest short at five minutes, Bird Food calls to mind the Pixar shorts that open their blockbuster hits. It’s bouncy and silly and presents a goofy problem that snowballs out of control. The difference is that your kid would be slightly traumatized by the dark twist.
Venturing into the dreamlike mind of lonely writer Filip, Boles takes care in creating a mundane, realistic atmosphere turned surreal. The claymation easily allows for fantastic occurrences, while tending to the emotions of the characters without seeming cartoonish. It’s presented in Slovenian with English subtitles.
Both Irish Folk Furniture and Marcel King of Tervuren accompany their animated stories with interview-like narratives. A sense of life on the quiet countryside envelops both films. Irish Folk Furniture uses that flickering-film charm to regale the journey of refurbished hutches and flour bins. Marcel King of Tervuren has lush, splashed colors to keep your eye entertained.
Shorts: Let’s Get Animated, also including the short film Jonah premieres at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, October 1 at Fox Bay Cinema Grill and shows again at 5 p.m. Thursday, October 3 at the Downer Theatre and at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 6 at the Oriental Theatre. WARNING: some content may be inappropriate for children. Tickets are $10, $9 for students/seniors available online or on-site, while supplies last.