1991 Festival of Animation
1991 Directed by Various.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 23, 1991
Unlike such previous animation festivals as the International Tournee of Animation and the Outrageous Animation Festival, this new 'toon showcase seems to barrel along at a powerful pace, never leaving you looking at your watch as you wait for “the good ones.” New distributors Spike & Mike are far more choosy in their selections and consequently, there are fewer animated demo reels, music videos and inscrutable foreign one-shots. Instead, this Festival brings with it a decidedly loopy sense of black humor and a few of the most twisted short films ever seen. David Bishop's “Mother Goose” opens the show and also sets the tone of the film as it brings the innate horrors of several of those old crib-tales to horrible life. “Simon,” a short piece by current Disney-ite Robert Lance, follows the peculiar trials of a boy with no nose and just how he manages to redeem himself in the eyes of prejudice. There are two or three showpieces here, as well, the best coming from renowned Italian animator Bruno Bozetto (Allegro Non Troppo). His oddly titled “Grasshopper” is an 8 1/2 -minute study of the rise and fall of every major civilization on the earth; it's the sort of animated film that should be required viewing for politicians and anthropology majors, but then again the politicians probably wouldn't get it anyway. “Rug Rat,” from the team of Klasky/Csupo (producers of The Simpsons), is the original pilot piece for the animated show on Nickelodeon, and traces the pre-school adventures/high jinks of a group of infants out to discover the mysteries of their household bathroom. The animation by Peter Chung and Libby Simon is wonderfully warped, with all manner of crazed camera angles (i.e. from inside mouths, toilets, etc.) and skewed notions. There are other great bits in this Festival, such as Gabor Homolya's “The Western,” which takes the standard Dodge City gunfight and then deftly knocks it out of cliche and into the Twilight Zone, but I've only got so much room to work with here. Suffice it to say that this new collection of animated works far outdoes its previous competitors, and, for once, there really is never a dull moment.