Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In 1999, in the tiny theatre that housed One Reel, Seattle's annual short film festival (on the grounds of the Bumbershoot festival), the house lights darkened, and I watched what is probably the finest short film ever made. More clocked in at a mere 6 minutes. But the sad, uplifting, depressing, and utterly transcendent experience has stuck with me for years.

Mark Osborne's film about a nameless clayman toiling in obscurity in a dusty, colorless world was, and is, certainly a towering achievement in the field of stop-motion animation. It was a the first short film shot in the IMAX format, and it won dozens of awards at film festivals and received rave reviews, including an Academy Award Nomination.

But that probably would have been about the the end of More's happy existence, were it not for iFilm. Osborne decided to upload his short film to the burgeoning web-video medium, and More immediately became a fan favorite all over again. It was the site's most popular film, and is listed in the Top Ten of IMDB's list of best short films, to this day.

Wordless, the film is set to New Order's instrumental waltz Elegia, written in honor of the late Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division. The song's haunting melodies match perfectly with the film's relentlessly affecting visuals.

You can watch the film online at the creator's web site, or elsewhere (I've embedded the YouTube version at the end of the post), but the film is also available on a special edition DVD, with commentary tracks, making-of documentaries and additional short films.

You might think all this attention for a 6-minute animated film is a bit much. Watch the film. You'll see.

Pseudonym: Watched it last night. Wow. It sort of reminded me of a few things that deserve blog posts all their own, but yeah, it was terrific. The notion of claymation has gone from being completely novel, to one of the only ways to animate something, to being completely novel again. Even films like Flushed Away - which are in CG - attempt to emulate the claymation style of animation since it has such a cozy fond feeling for people. As the current generation ages and remember no time without CG, it will become, I fear, obsolete, a relic of the past like a Nickelodeon today.

I should probably have discussed the film, but I'll leave that to you.


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Herbert M. Reed said...
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