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Director: Bruno Bozzetto
Release Date: 1983
Rating: ★★
Review:

Sigmund © Bruno Bozzetto‘Sigmund’ is a very short cartoon, commissioned for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The cartoon consists of one scene in a blue room in which a bespectacled little boy imagines himself as the sport stars he watches on television. The little boy’s imagination is shown by metamorphosis: we watch him change into the sport stars, growing with every metamorphosis.

‘Sigmund’ is a sweet short, but neither memorable, funny or one of Bozzetto’s best.

Watch ‘Sigmund’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Bruno Bozzetto
Release Date: October 31, 1968
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Vip mio fratello superuomo © Bruno Bozzetto

‘Vip mio fratello superuomo’* is Bozzetto’s second feature, and it a great improvement on his first (‘West and Soda‘ from 1965).

The designs are bolder, the pace is higher, the timing sharper, and the story more original. The film starts rightaway with a hilarious history of the VIP superheroes through time. It then introduces our heroes, the superhero SuperVIP and his weak little bespectacled brother, MiniVIP. They end upon an island where a super-villain plans to turn mankind into brainless consumers.

The result is a very nonsensical superhero story, told to a great effect, with the minimum of means and very limited animation.  It also shows Bozzetto’s aversion against consumerism, a theme he would expand upon in his masterpiece ‘Allegro non troppo’ (1976). Unlike that latter feature, ‘Vip mio fratello superuomo’ remains virtually unknown. This is a pity, for this funny film deserves a wider audience.

Watch and excerpt from ‘Vip mio fratello superuomo’ yourself and tell me what you think:

* also known as ‘My Brother Superman’

Director: Bruno Bozzetto
Release Date: 1967
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Una vita in scatola © Bruno BozzettoThe title of this cartoon can be translated as ‘life in a tin can’ and this is an apt title.

In this cartoon Bozzetto reduces a man’s whole life to several minutes. The main character’s life takes place in and between depressingly tall grey buildings. He is only allowed brief episodes of sheer joy: during is boyhood, when he falls in love, and when he becomes a father. These short episodes are depicted by colorful pictures of nature, accompanied by lyric music.

‘Una vita in scatola’ must be Bozzetto’s most perfectly timed cartoon, and it is his first real masterpiece.

Watch ‘Una vita in scatola’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Osvaldo Cavandoli
Release Date:
 1991
Stars:
 La Linea
Rating:
 ★★
Review:

Trazom, A.W. © Oscar CavandoliTrazom, A.W. Is W.A. Mozart spelled backwards and it’s Cavandoli’s hommage to the composer.

We watch La Linea dressed like an 18th century composer playing Mozart’s K545 sonata on the grand piano. Meanwhile he encounters several animals and people.

Unfortunately, the cartoon is slow, repetitive and rather unfunny. La Linea’s irresistible voice is hardly heard and this cartoon lacks the brazen humor of the earlier entries. And it completely pales when compared to classic piano concerto cartoons like ‘Rhapsody Rabbit‘ (1946) or ‘The Cat Concerto‘ (1947).

‘Trazom, A.W.’ is available on the DVD ‘La Linea 3’

Director: Osvaldo Cavandoli
Release Date:
 1974
Stars:
 La Linea
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

La Linea episode 1 © Osvaldo CavandoliLa Linea is an Italian television series, which takes graphic design, introduced by UPA to the animated screen, to the max.

The first of all La Linea shorts defines the complete series: it consists of numerous unrelated gags around the jabbering little man Linea, who lives in a 2-dimensional world, consisting of only one white line, of which he is part.

This cheerful, but temperamental guy has some characteristics that return in every single episode: First, he talks an Italian-sounding sort of gibberish, provided by voice actor Carlo Bonomi. Second, he always walks to the left of the screen. Third, he always encounters at least one interruption of the line during his walk. Fourth, he frequently argues with his off-screen creator, of whom we only see his hand drawing things for the little guy. And Fifth, our hero has also has an intoxicating laugh, which is heard at least once.

All designs are extremely stylized, yet perfectly recognizable, and beautifully animated. The backgrounds are monochromic, changing from green to red to blue etc. All these elements make this series such a classic, even though most of the episodes are completely plotless, and only last about 2 minutes.

In this particular episode La Linea encounters a turtle, a television set, a tap and a woman. He plays golf and takes a rollercoaster ride. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s fun. Franco Godi’s music in this particular cartoon is more present than in the following ones, using a tune with voices instead of the instrumental background music of later cartoons.

Watch ‘La Linea episode 1’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘La Linea episode 1’ is available on the DVD ‘La Linea 1’

Director: Bruno Bozzetto
Release Date: October 1, 1965
Rating: ★★★
Review:

West And Soda © Bruno Bozzetto‘West And Soda’ has a classic Western story: an evil villain is after the land owned by the lovely Clementine. Luckily she is rescued by our cool hero, Johnny, who doesn’t talk much, but who can shoot!

‘West and Soda’ is Bruno Bozzetto’s first feature film and unfortunately, it shows. The Italian animator is at his best in short, well-timed pantomime gags, and he clearly has difficulties with this longer medium. Neither the animation nor the designs are particularly appealing, and the feature suffers a little from its length. Generously mocking almost every aspect of the classic western, ‘West and Soda’ is as silly as it is predictable. Luckily there are many throwaway gags to keep the viewer laughing from time to time.

However, Bozzetto’s comic genius really shines through in two offbeat scenes, in which Bozzetto does what he does best: like his funny short ‘I Due Castelli’ from 1963, these two scenes use a fixed long distance perspective, pantomimed action and a perfect timing, with hilarious results. The first of these two scenes shows us several failing attacks of ferocious ants on Johnny, who is buried up to his head in the desert. The second depicts the villain’s attempts to drop a huge rock on our hero.

Watch the ant scene from ‘West And Soda’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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