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The Dutch Kaboom Animation Festival, a 2019 fusion between the original Klik! and Holland Animation Film Festivals, has started yesterday. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the festival is completely online, with few real-time events, allowing the viewer to complete his own program out of the more than 300 shorts and features. More on the festival, which can be watched in ‘total’ for a mere €14,99: www.kaboomfestival.nl.

The advantage of this is that one can make notes immediately after watching a film, the disadvantage, of course, is that making notes and blog posts means watching fewer films. I’m curious how I’ll balance this act. Anyway, I’ve chosen not to browse too much, but to watch complete programs of films. Yesterday I saw two of the seven Shorts in Competition programs: No. 1 and No. 7. This post will be about No. 1, which consists of eight brand new and very different films:

Kkum
Kangmin Kim
South Korea, US, 2020
★★★★
In this intriguing black and white film Kangmin Kim tells about four dreams his mother had about him. The result is a gentle ode to the film maker’s mother, which stands out for its original looks and technique, using stop motion animation of simple, angular shapes out of Styrofoam.

On est pas près d’être des super héros (And Yet We’re Not Super Heroes)
Lia Bertels
Belgium, Portugal, France, 2019
★★½
Animator Lia Bertels illustrates the musings of nine children on growing up with poetic images, mostly in blues. Her images are very beautiful, but also associative, and often only remotely related to the voice over texts. Unfortunately, the images are less interesting than the text, and add little to it. In this respect one must judge this film a cinematic failure.

Dayfly
Baoxingchen Yi
China, 2020
★★★★½
‘Dayfly’ is a strikingly beautiful film on life and death, using the mayfly as a central metaphor. Baoxingchen Yi exploits an extraordinary array of styles and techniques, even live action, and shows a stunning command of metamorphosis and perspective animation. Also noteworthy is her creative use of split-screen techniques, and the moving, melancholy soundtrack. The result is a surprisingly idiosyncratic film to come out of China.

Shapes.Colours.People. And Floating Down
Peter Millard
UK, 2020

Simple painted faces change into abstract shapes and back, in hard primary and secondary colors, accompanied by a hectic soundtrack by the film maker himself, which is more interesting than the repetitive images. Clocking just over three minutes this film feels three times too long.

Little Miss Fate
Joder von Rotz
Switzerland, 2020
★★★½
In ‘Little Miss Fate’ a man tries to reach his girlfriend in time, but God decides otherwise. But then God’s cleaning lady takes over… This is a rather strange, quite surreal comedy in a unique underground style, with a fitting synthpop soundtrack by Philipp Schlotter.

Invade
Man Sze Wong
Hong Kong, 2020
★★
Abstract images, made with charcoal accompany the progressive rock music of More Reverb. The images are mostly fuzzy, organic shapes, but at times we can see squares. Unfortunately, the music is far more interesting than the images.

Cherry on the Cake
Chloé Farr
Belgium, 2020
★★★★
‘Cherry on the Cake’ is a very strange and highly original comedy. Farr’s visual style is completely her own, but the animation is clearly based on that of vintage video games, with fitting sound effects and dialogue in text balloons.

Ties
Dina Velikovskaya
Germany, Russia, 2019
★★★½
In ‘Ties’ a young woman leaves her parents in Russia to live on her own in Berlin, but she remains tied to her parental home… literally. This film seems to want to say something about being connected to one’s parents and to start a life on one’s own, but unfortunately remains stuck in a nice, but one-dimensional gag. Much more interesting is the film’s visual style: the characters and objects in ‘Ties’ are animated in 3D pen, a technique I’ve never seen before. These animated images blend in cleverly with the real 3D wire objects, and are truly awe-inspiring.

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