I’ve been kinda slow, but I’ll be catching up with the review posts on the over 10 shows I went to during the Festival(!). My hope is that it may help somebody find more information about a film they’re going to see, or give people some titles of things to go look for.

Taipei Competition 3
Taiwan Competition 3

The Sword into Tomorrow
This is also known as Tomorrow Step on the Sword in the full program guide, which is fantastic Engrish right off the bat. Basically, this is a very detailed, very well lit and polished 3D CG short about a tubby, smily ninja guy who wants to steal a scroll from some tomb, and has to fight a skeleton demon. The action is great as are the effects, but the whole film comes off as kind of dull as it has no real story to it. Well, okay, it has a story, but it’s so forgettable that it does nothing to support the rest of the work done on the piece and leaves it flaccid.

I liked this a lot – it’s about a boy who tries to help a rabbit fly across a chasm to get to a field of carrots. A lot of why I liked this is the fact that while it uses a paper-cutout/handicraft appearance to the animation, it still manages to be humorously bloody with its comedy. In other words, the appearance and feel lends itself to kids animation, but the content isn’t. Awesome.

The City of Oblivion
The first artsy piece of the show, it’s about an umbrella thrown away by a girl who has purchased a new one, and its nighmarish descent into awkward parallax animation and a world of discarded object creatures that work hand in hand with the loud music to give you a feeling of uncertainty and unease. It’s interesting, but I wouldn’t watch this before going to bed – you’ll dream some bizarre shit. Oh yeah, it’s supposed to be an environmental message too, so stop throwing away creepy umbrellas with buckets for heads, ok?

On a Diet
This was a hand drawn animation that was both detailed and stylized in a fat sort of way about the different things people do to lose weight and what they do when they diet. Short, focused, not bad. Kinda Plympton-y in some ways.

The Woman with Pearls
ARTSY FARTSY GET! This was a surreal piece about a woman who continuously splits pearls from her body, and the bird creatures that covet her pearls and stalk her as a result. This was a long piece, and was (from the following interview) intended to symbolize women’s fear of growing old. I would suggest knowing this before watching it, as you’ll get more out of it this way and you’ll be less creeped out by it.

Secret Piano
Another piece from Word Fisher Animation Studios (like the 2 in the last show), this one is about a boy who loves to play on his toy piano. His mother notices this, and buys a real piano for him, but there’s something about it that scares him. I liked this one a lot as it had a memorable story, sound that worked to enhance the story, and the animation style is both cute and expressive at the same time.

Grandpa & Bicycle
I saw this one previously in the animation segment of the Taipei Film Festival earlier, and it still retains its badassness – it’s simply a cute story about a Grandpa who goes apeshit on a bike trying to deliver his granddaughter’s forgotten wallet to her. The animation style is like cut out pieces of paper layered on top of one another, and it’s very well done. One thing I liked is that during the interview, the director said that his goal for the film was simply to tell a story. He’s done that, and I’d recommend looking for this short.

Childish Love
Though this film was kind of rough in terms of animation and general appearance, not to mention the fact that the kid’s face looks MESSED UP, it’s very good in delivering its message about domestic abuse, which is a problem in Taiwan right now to boot.

2007 The Auntie Tiger
This is an animated interpretation of a Chinese folk story called “Tiger Aunt”, which apparently goes like this: “There is a tiger aunt that visits children from time to time, and when the children go to sleep, she eats their fingers.” Kinda like a Candyman story for kids or something. Well, this animation shows a girl baiting and then savagely beating Auntie Tiger, mercilessly, enough to make you feel sorry for Auntie Tiger. I think this is pretty much like if you become vegetarian, then somebody waves a perfectly done filet in your face then beats you about the face and neck with a Datsun. Well animated, but kind of messed up.

Another long, kind of artsy piece. The character’s faces are kind of rough, and the animation is a bit rough as well, but everything seems put together reasonably well. This is one of those “coming to terms with the death of {important person}” shorts. A bit long, but I’d say it was good.

This is a short short about shaving…..HEY! NO! NO! BAD READER! BAD! How could you think of something like that! Look, so it’s named “Beaver” for some Engrish reason, but it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT! JEEZUS! Look, it’s about a guy whose facial hair keeps growing and he…hey, are you even listening? WTF? HELLO, MCFLY! Ok, it’s about his repeated efforts to shave his ever growing face, and it has a nice 70′s sparkle-fresh design to it, it looks like it’s too smooth, and it’s kind of short and a bit forgettable aside from the graphic design. Did you get that? Good.

Black Scissors
This one was pretty awesome, though I take issue with some of implied meaning of the short, in terms of “well, why the hell’d he do that?!”. Basically, a boy discovers a film reel that shows the events of his recent life in it, and a pair of scissors. Whenever he cuts a frame from the reel, that event becomes erased from history – it never happened. The look of the film is quite good, and the story’s put together pretty well – I like the concept, and I’d suggest looking for it.

Imagine taking a cel-shaded animation, and then thickening the lines by about 5-50 times and then giving everything a watercolor appearance, which also means that you remove almost all disernable detail from a shape. I know this was done to make the animation look like old Chinese watercolor paintings, but it’s kind of overdone. Also, the frame rate is too high, making the animation too smooth(looks “computery”), and doesn’t jive with the feel of the film. It’s okay in a cultural-neat sort of way though.

That’s all for now! I’ll post more later, including stuff on the Q&A session that followed this show.