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Director: Rosto A.D.
Release date:
June 10, 2011
Rating:
 
★★★★
Review:

One of the most virtuoso and most idiosyncratic animated film makers ever to emerge from The Netherlands was Rosto (real name Robert Stoces). His films ‘(the rise and fall of the legendary) Anglobilly Feverson’ (2002) and ‘Jona/Tomberry’ created quite a stir, the latter winning the Grand Prix Canal+ prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In these fantastic films Rosto mixed live action, puppetry, and computer animation into a seamless mix. Moreover, they showed a unique if erratic voice that was completely its own.

‘The Monster of Nix’, Rosto’s most ambitious project, is no different. The film lasts half an hour and took six years to make. The short is essentially a musical with a rather post-modern tale-biting story, vaguely reminiscent of ‘The Neverending Story’. The film stars a boy called Willy (based on Rosto’s own son Max and aptly voiced by Joe Eshuis), who lives with his grandmother in a small village, surrounded by woods. Short after the film starts, Willy can’t find his grandmother. Even worse, many villagers have lost people and things, so Willy goes on a quest to seek his grandma and to find the evil monster behind this, finding strange creatures like Virgil, a giant swallow with human hands for claws and the woody “langemen” on his way.

‘The Monster of Nix’ boasts collaborators like Terry Gilliam (voicing a wood ranger), Tom Waits (voicing Virgil) and The Residents (performing two songs), as well as high production values. As expected from a Rosto film, the visuals are very strange, but compelling and overwhelming, seamlessly merging live action and animation to a unique mix. There are several rock music references, which are also typical of Rosto’s style, and there’s a spooky atmosphere akin to Tim Burton.

Rosto even composed the songs himself. Unfortunately, his score is more weird than attractive, and his story isn’t entirely convincing, either, reaching a rather dead point half way, never to recover entirely. But because of its unique atmosphere the film is well worth a watch.

Sadly, Rosto died in 2019, only fifty years old. His death is a grave loss to the Dutch animation world.

Watch the trailer for ‘The Monster of Nix’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Monster of Nix’ is available on DVD

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