Thursday, 26 November 2015

Les Sommets du Cinéma d’Animation 2015

reviews by Nancy Snipper

Genius of animation and poignant messages within these powerful films

I had the pleasure of watching several shorts that showcased in this international festival that features 135 films from all over the world.  Each of these films – some in 3D and 2D – brought to life creations brimming with originality and power.

 In The Master, a sweet dachshund dog has to endure the home wrecking of a chimpanzee who escapes from his small cage. The owner of these two animals is nowhere to be found. The ending is devastating. This dark film was directed by the “mastermind” Riho Unt from Estonia.

 The Race was an exceptional film that ingeniously presented the myriad of ways that circular forms are used and incorporated into people’s lives: clocks, machines, telescopes, games, religious events and symbols and so much more created a visually compelling kaleidoscope of forms which seemed to meld into one another. This black and white masterpiece was directed by Michael Le Meur from France.

The stunning music of Arvo Part was used in Squame. Directed by Nicolas Brault, the film cleverly showed marbleized fragments of forms imploding and exploding into forms that coalesced and emanated from the human body.

Marzavan by Vergine Keaton was a touching stop animation short about retracing a woman’s heritage as she returns to her roots in Armenia. She is Greek Armenian in search of her past. As a displaced person, traveling over mountains and into valleys, she finally revisits her home and sees her mom rocking her in the cradles where she sleeps. Touching with appropriate pathos that visually translated into tonal shades of brown and grey, this 9-minute film made a big statement.

Auto Portraits was so humorous. A car is singing Que Sera sera. She ahs a filmay and soon cars start multiplying until no more oil is left in the world, and they end of in the trash heap. This film is Oscar winning.

The opening film was the astounding feature The Magic Mountain– directed by Romanian genius, Anca Damian. Using layering and 3D and 2D multi-media techniques, the film vividly recounts the story of Adam Jacek Winkler, an amazing Polish climber intent on saving the world from Russians. He was only two years old when he lost his family during the 1940 Katyn Massacre perpetrated by the Communist Red Army. Determined to go to Afghanistan to fight with the Mujahieen, he embarks on a treacherous journey through France. His gola is fraught with perilous situations which on more than one occasion he nearly loses his life. The incredible aspect to the story was how the director showed the life of the brave Afghani fighters raging against the weather’s harsh elements, hiding in caves, starving and yet successfully beating the Russians in a long protracted war. We see this and hear it via Winkler (voice narration in French by Crisope Miossec). 

Ms. Damian even traveled to Afghanistan to do research. She was able to show 50 years of this period in history and the role the hero played in it. It goes all the way up to 2001. This is a multi-award-winning feature that is poignant and the visuals are amazing.


Piano was one of my favourite shorts. A sexy woman is trying to move her piano down the sidewalk towards her apartment. She slinks, she does contortions to move it, she even strides it. Meanwhile the janitor of the building where she lives is called down to an old woman’s apartment to unblock the kitchen sink. The old woman is sweet on him, as we see her offering him a heart-shaped cookie. We follow him into his own apartment to see he has stacks of these cookies. He finally musters the courage to bring her flowers and ask her out, but she has slipped on some spilled olive oil and appears to be dead. The piano lady has tried to open the old lady’s sliding glass door and gets her hand caught. Everything seems to be chaos until the piano on the sidewalk starts playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, and everyone is revived. There are many other humorous details in this film that truly make this  gem  – directed by  Kaspar Jancis – a force in the genre, proving once again, the Estonia’s animators are leaders in animation.

La 14e Edition des « Sommets du Cinéma d’Animation »

The 14th Edition of “the Summits of Animation”

Du 25 Au 29 Novembre 2015 au / From November 25 till the 29, 2015 at the Cinémathèque Québécoise

Les Sommets du Cinéma d’Animation est un festival international consacré à l’animation sous toutes ses formes, du patrimoine aux nouveaux médias en passant par la production actuelle. Pendant cinq jours, Montréal vas vibrer au rythme de l’animation! Uniques au Québec, les Sommets célèbrent une forme d’art qui a historiquement fait connaître le Québec et le Canada dans le monde entier.
The Summits of Animation is an international festival dedicated to animation in all its forms, heritage, and new media through current production. For five days, Montreal vibrates to the rhythm of the animation! Unique in Quebec, the Summits celebrate an art that has historically brought international recognition to both Quebec and Canada.  

Plus d’informations / for more information:
Twitter: @sommetsanim


Bande Announce / Trailer
Réalisation, dessins et animation / Direction, drawings and animation: Félix Dufour-Laperrière
Conception sonore / Sound design: Olivier Calvert
Batterie / Drums: Anhtu Vu
Production / Production: Cinémathèque Québécoise
Chronique d’événements/films vus / Chronicle of events/films seen:

Dans l'ordre vu défilement vers le bas la plus récente en bas de page
In order seen scrolling down – most recent at bottom of page:

Avant / Before

World of Tomorrow, United States / États-Unis 2015, 16m5s, Don Hertzfeldt
Une petite fille est contactée par son future éloignée elle-même.
A little girl is contacted by her distant future self.

Sonámbulo / The Sleepwalker, Canada 2015, 5m, Theodore Ushev
Ceci est un voyage surréaliste animé à travers les formes et des couleurs inspirées par le poème de Federico Garcia Lorca « Romance Sonámbulo ».
This is an animated surrealistic voyage through forms and colors inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem ‘Romance Sonámbulo.’

Squame, Canada 2015, Première Mondiale / World Premiere, 4m, Nicolas Brault
Squame explore l’enveloppe sensible du corps, la peau. L’animation de ses squamations éphémères, réalisée grâce à des moulages en sucre, évoque des paysages fragiles s’ouvrant sur des mondes à la limite de l’abstraction. Entre artéfacts archéologiques et observations macroscopiques, les frontières friables de ces corps humains se dérobent à notre regard. Filmer en 3D
Squame explores the sensitive shell of the body, the skin. The animation of his ephemeral squamations, achieved through sugar casts evokes fragile landscapes opening on worlds on the edge of abstraction. Between macroscopic observations and archaeological artifacts, crumbly borders of these human bodies eluding our gaze. Filmed in 3D.

The Race, France 2015, Première Nord-Américaine / North American Premiere , 16m, Michael Le Meur
Condamnée à croître, jamais satisfaite, l'humanité accélère et se précipite dans une course folle. Et si cette fuite en avant n'était pas le fruit de notre libre arbitre, mais le résultat des mécaniques qui gouvernent l’univers? Filmer en 3D à couper-le-souffre.
Condemned to grow, never satisfied, humanity accelerates and rushes into a wild race. What if this headlong rush wasn’t the product of our free will, but the result of mechanics that govern the universe? Filmed in breathtaking 3D.

Auto Portraits, Canada, 2015, 5m, Claude Cloutier
Une Chevrolet Bel Air 1957 interprète une version ironique de la ballade Américaine « Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) ». La calandre de la vedette devient une bouche enjôleuse, d’où s’échappent les rimes rassurantes de la chanson, tandis qu’un chœur d’automobiles l’accompagne en une chorégraphie spectaculaire. 
Satire grinçante de la puissance pétrolière, Autos Portraits est une comédie musicale à grand déploiement, alors que le cinéaste et bédéiste Claude Cloutier caricaturant l’insouciance contemporaine face aux périls qui menacent la planète.
A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air interprets an ironic version of the American ballad "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)". The grille of the star becomes a beguiling mouth, from which escape the reassuring rhyme of the song, while a accompanying choir of automobiles into a spectacular choreography.

Caustic satire of oil power, Auto Portraits is a musical blockbuster, as cartoonist and filmmaker Claude Cloutier caricaturing the contemporary recklessness in dealing with the dangers threatening the planet.

5 Shades of Solitude, Singapour  / Singapor 2015, Première Nord-Américaine / North American Premiere , 9m, Qing Sheng Ang
Un homme éprouve cinq nuances de la solitude – la dépression, la nostalgie, le déni, la divergence et l'ennui –  à différents moments de la journée, alors qu'il est frappé par le vague souvenir d'une jeune fille qui a occupé son cœur.
 A man has five shades of loneliness depression, nostalgia, denial, divergence and boredom at different times of the day when he is struck by the vague memory of a girl who has held his heart.

Marzevan, France 2015, Première Nord-Américaine / North American Premiere, 9m, Vergine Keaton
 Aux derniers jours de sa vie, une vieille dame avec un mémoire troublée entrevoit l'histoire de ses origines. Commence alors un voyage vers la terre ancestrale, où les souvenirs et l'imagination s'organisent peu à peu.
 In the last days of her life, an old lady with memory troubles has glimpses of her actual origins. Thus beginning a journey to her ancestral home, where her memories and imagination gradually come to light.

Le Repas Domical, France 2015, Première Nord-Américaine / North American Premiere, 14m, Céline Devaux
C'est Dimanche. Pendant le repas familial hebdomadaire, Jean les observe. On lui pose des questions maladroit et embarrassant sans écouter les réponses, et on lui donne des conseils sans les suivre, on le caresse et on le gifle, c'est normal, c'est le repas dominical.
 It's Sunday. During the weekly family meal, Jean observes them. They ask awkward and embarrassing questions without listening to the answers, and give him advice without following it; they caress and slap him, it's normal, it's the Dominican meal.

My Heart Attack, Canada 2015, Première Québécoise / Quebec Premiere, 14m, Sheldon Cohen
Tout a commencé avec un appel téléphonique affolé dans un parc pour chiens, suivi par une montagne russe d’émotions empreinte d’humour ironique et de réflexions philosophiques. Pendant que tout le monde tente de sauver un chien souffrant d’un arrêt cardiaque, Cohen se doute qu’il est peut-être, lui aussi, en train de subir un petit infarctus. Et comme dans tous les portraits stéréotypés de la vie conjugale, cela agace bien sa femme.
It all starts with a frantic phone call from a dog park, followed by a emotional roller coaster ride of ironic footprints of humor and philosophical reflections. While everyone is trying to save a dog suffering from cardiac arrest, Cohen suspects that he too, may be undergoing a small heart attack. And, as in all stereotypical portraits of married life, it annoys his wife.

Isand / The Master, Estonie / Estonia 2015, 18m, Riho Unt
Popi le chien et Huhuu le singe attendent leur Maître qui, un jour, n'est pas rentré à la maison. Ils doivent apprendre à vivre ensemble bien qu'ils soient très différents. La vérité est souvent plus illusoire qu'un rêve et plus horrible que la réalité.
 Popi the dog and Huhuu the monkey are expecting their Master who, one day, doesn’t return home. They must learn to live together although they are very different. The truth is often more illusory than a dream and more horrible than reality.

Erlkönig / Le Roi des Aulnes, Suisse / Switzerland 2015, / Première Nord-Américaine / North American Premiere , 5m, Georges Schwizgebel
Un père porte son fils malade à travers la forêt à cheval. L’enfant croit de voir le Roi des Aulnes qui le séduit et l’effraie. D’après Erlkönig, le poème de Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, avec la musique de Schubert et Liszt.
A father carries his sick son through the forest on horseback. The child believes to see the King of Alder trees who seduces and frightens him. Based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's poem Erlkönig with the music of Schubert and Liszt.