"Don’t worry, it’s just animation, it has no real effect on people"

It’s  always a treat to finish the summer with a serious blast of animation at LIAF, which gets better and better every year.  It’s lovely to catch up with old friends from near and afar and see so much great work.
The best films of the festival are shown on the last night, voted by the judges and audience votes, so it can lack the balance of a curated screening. This year the screening included some extraordinary works, but they were, without exception, expositions of bleak subjects (where were you Jonathan Jones?), they were, with one exception male, and they were all pretty long.  Get Real by Evert de Beijer immersed the viewer in a demented biro scribbled computer game, the characters and design were pretty unique. David O Reilly ‘s External World (quoted in post title) was perhaps my favourite because it’s so nuts, all the characters are completely revolting to each other, greedy, acquisitive or in the grip of a little drama, but it is also clever and thoughtful in it’s way, embracing both the past and future of animation without concession. The spectacular new work by Blu, Big Bang, Big Boom is impressive, the film visits the same subject as in Ishu Patel’s Bead Game (1977), but the canvas is Berlin, not beads.  The technique has developed since the first film Muto, in that there are some interactions with objects and the environment, and in some cases people too.  The excellent stop motion animation Bobby Yeah! was there too!  Congratulations to Robert Morgan for winning Best British Animation.  I did feel truly sick and wretched by the end, all that corned beef and toenails, and poor old deranged and innocent Bobby, who is egged on to acts of extreme violence by the lure of a red button that he can’t seem to resist. YEAH!

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