THE FANTASTIC ANIMATION FESTIVAL (1977)
Article 2582 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-30-2008
Posting Date: 9-7-2008
Directed by Dean A. Barko and Christopher Padillo
Featuring the voices of Spike Milligan and Paul Frees
Fourteen award-winning animated shorts are presented.
Almost all of these animated shorts feature some fantastic content, ranging anywhere from the border fantasy element of the more abstract cartoons such as “French Windows” or “Cosmic Cartoon” to the more overt fantastic elements of “Nightbird” or “Moonshadow” (a cartoon inspired by both the Cat Stevens song of the same name and the artwork on the album that contains it, “Teaser and the Firecat”). Some of them seem to be parables or message films of a sort; an untitled clay animation piece involves a character who encounters laughter whenever he tries to evolve, and imitation when he succeeds, “Room and Board” involves a baby locked in a room trying to figure out a doorknob while quickly aging into adulthood and into old age, and the eye-popping “Mountain Music” has a definite ecological message. The more famous and familiar works are after the intermission; the ubiquitous “Bambi Meets Godzilla” is pretty hilarious the first couple of times but is now too common to have much impact; “The Mechanical Monsters” (the Dave Fleischer Superman cartoon from the forties) is the only traditional cartoon here, and, though entertaining enough, it is too anomalous in these surroundings. The high point here is at the very end; “Closed Mondays” is a famous clay animation short about a drunk who stumbles into an art gallery and finds the pieces coming to life; it’s still startling, memorable and fascinating even though I’ve seen it several times before. The surreal “Mirror People” gets quite horrific on occasion. All in all, this is an interesting animation compilation, though it does suffer a little from lack of focus.