As part of the 2013 Short Film Marathon at the 35mm cinema in Moscow, a mostly Russian audience was treated to a selection of some of the best short animated films from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. For the uninitiated into Scandinavian films like yours truly, the originality of these films came as a bit of a shock. In terms of a certain humanness and ingenuity, they are closer to what is going on here in central and eastern Europe than much of the animation coming out of the western European countries and the US. Here is an attempt of one author to describe in words four of the films he saw:
Min Bestemor Beijing
Norway 2008, 10 min. Directed by Mats Grorud. As somebody who has witnessed the destruction of old Beijing in the name of progress, this animated film was particularly interesting for me. The whole story is told through the wrinkles on a grannyâs face. Superb.
Finland 2009, 8 min. A lonesome xylophone player finds a viciously growing tumour under his arm, in his attempts to get rid of it he discovers that it has some unusual qualities, and becomes his friend. When the man inhales a cigarette, the tumour, which now has an expressive face and personality, exhales. The story is about loneliness, friendship, the emptiness of the city and ends with an unexpected twist. The film was created as a simple class exercise at Finlandâs Turku Arts Academyâitâs not even a graduation film, but the charm of its bizarre story got it a spot in Annecy 2010.
Alien Repair Guy
Norway 2012, 12 min. Directed by Ãystein Moe, Alexander Somma. This film tells the age-old alien origination of the human race through quite astonishing 2D and 3D animation. Earthâs control box gets broken. For the alien caretaker, what seems like just another day at work, ends up something completely different.
Denmark 2000, 10 min. Directed by Trylle Vilstrup. A bird looking for love tries blind-dating. Drawn in a satirical, highly amusing way, the film demonstrates how powerful animation is as a tool for parody. It reminded me of the tough Teddy Boyâ 1960-70s in Northern England, when a bird could be a luv bird.