Next month, the 14th London International Animation Festival returns to the Barbican. From December 1st-10th there are 200 animated shorts and features from around the world which have been programmed to play. Also due to appear at the festival are a lot of guests who will take part in Q&As and presentations. There is a wide range of materials and techniques used in the making of these films from animation to CG, hand drawn to sculpture and puppets. Content-wise, focus is placed on the on-screen representation of women. There is a lot of Japanese content on offer including Cleopatra which was picked up by Third Window Films for distribution in the UK. Quite fittingly, there are a lot of animated films created and directed by women from Japan.
Here’s what’s on offer:
December 02nd: Amazing Animations for 0-7 year-olds
This is a selection of short films aimed especially at children and so there’s a surprise for Japanese film fans who take a gander at this strand of the programme because a famous director of horror and yakuza movies is in this part:
Keep on Rolling (2016, Dir: Takashi Miike, 5 mins)
An ambitious dung beetle can’t stop rolling poo. He perfects the art with every round thing he comes across.
December 02nd: International Competition Programme 1: “From Absurd to Zany”
Gokurosama (France 2016 Dir: Clémentine Frère, Aurore Gal, Yukiko Meignien, Anna Mertz, Robin Migliorelli, Romain Salvini, 7 mins)
This was animated by students at MoPA Computer Graphics Animation School in France and it features a Japanese director and setting for its story.
Early morning in a Japanese shopping centre, a shopkeeper gets stuck. To help her, her young employee decides to cross the shopping centre with her.
Osamu Tezuka’s Animerama was a trilogy of films based on classic tales from history. The titles were 1001 Nights, Cleopatra, and Belladonna of Sadness and some say they were the first feature-length anime movies directed towards the adult market due to mature content. Belladonna of Sadness had recently been restored and gone on tour around the world and now Third Window Films has picked up the distribution rights to Cleopatra and 1001 Nights. Here’s a trailer for Cleopatra which will be at the festival:
Cleopatra is a very much unknown Japanese anime from 1970 made by “The Godfather of Manga” Osamu Tezuka along with director Eiichi Yamamoto. It has never been released in the UK. Cleopatra was a part of a series of adult anime films called Animerama, made at Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Production animation studio from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Cleopatra takes a look inside Tezuka’s sketchbook with a series of doodles that touch upon the history of Cleopatra but include digressions into science fiction, broad (and often tasteless) comedy, many whiplash stylistic breaks, and blunt sexuality.
December 03rd: International Competition Programme 4: “Playing With Emotion”
This section features films about emotions such as love and hate, sadness, anxiety, and confusion.
Summer’s Puke is Winter’s Delight (2017, Dir: Sawako Kabuki, 3 mins.)
Painful events become memories over time. This deliriously explicit film is truly demented, but with a serious core buried deep within its delightful insanity.
First Hand Memories (Dir: Haruka Umemura, 5 mins.)
A girl looks at her surrounding world through a roll of toilet paper.
December 04th: International Competition Programme 6 “Below the Surface”
This section is all about experimentation and reinvention in animation.
Starting Over (2016, Dir: Mika Seike 8 min)
You fall down every time before you reach your goal. At each fall, the glass you held shatters, and everything starts all over again. But there are things you can only discover through repetition. The answer lies within yourself.