Monday, 11 February 2013

Little Postman

Quite a few of these short animations get showcased on the Nintendo 3DS, but this is the first one I've felt compelled to comment on individually. I had the notion to do a compilation post one day, but this one needed a few more words.

A Polish animation with money from the kinds of bodies that make arthouse fans pay attention, including that country's Canal+, it deals perhaps inevitably with the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. It aims for profound and moving but lands on rather mawkish in a remarkably similar conceit to Disney's recent Paperman- albeit of course far less light-hearted – but what it does manage is a great beauty.

The short was made by BreakThru Films, not to be confused with Atomic Betty’s Breakthrough Films, but one of the two studios behind the Oscar-winning Peter and the Wolf short, which beat out such extremely strong competition as Madame Tutli-Putli and Aleksandr Petrov’s My Love – the latter of which shares with this its hand-painted quality.  Its style is nothing if not ambitious: the story of a sweet little boy scout who acts as the only form of communication between the oppressed peoples of occupied Warsaw, only to be blown up yet still manage to send his letters to their recipients in the few moments of afterlife that remain to him, is quite brilliantly told as if through animated graffiti. The boy appears on walls and billboards, leaving a trail behind him, as do the bomber planes and the fantastically-rendered explosions. The twisted form of the barricade that results from the explosion is seemingly a reference to the studio’s feature-length The Flying Machine, as is the rather obvious use of Chopin, and indeed I now read that this is in fact one of 25 short films made to accompany that project.

If I see more, I may have to add to these impressions, or it may be that this entry becomes an anomaly. But enough impression was made on me by the striking visual style that even out of context, I wanted to write something.

I think this also stands as the shortest piece of animation I’ve reviewed yet. Will it be outdone by She and Her Cat?

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