In the year 746, during the Tang Dynasty, a banquet is given in the Imperial City in honour of Emperor Li’s favourite concubine. An unsatisfied craving, suspected infidelity and fevered imagination lead Yang to bitter excess, which not even the luscious lychee can appease.
In this short animation, Oscar®-winning director Chris Landreth (Ryan, 2004) uses a common social gaffe—forgetting somebody’s name—as the starting point for a mind-bending romp through the unconscious. Inspired by the classic TV game show Password, the film features a wealth of animated celebrity guests who try to prompt our beleaguered protagonist to remember his old pal's name. Finally, he realizes he must surrender to his predicament and jump head-first into his subconscious to find the answer.
This short animation is set to the words of poet Hélène Dorion. In the film, a man and a woman's love for each other rivals only their affection for the written word. Literature accompanies the murmur of their lives and the harmony of their feelings. Filmmaker Félix Dufour-Laperrière’s imagery parallels Dorion’s words to articulate the familiar cycles of longing, loss, and desire.
This short animated documentary tells the story of 2 Chinese Canadian women making their theatrical debut playing “comfort women” in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Jia Tsu Thompson and Mary Mohammed spend long hours rehearsing at Mu Lan Teahouse in Halifax, where they read their lines over and over, sip tea, and recount buried stories of war. As they diligently practise together and at home, they come to have their own personal catharses. Fusing activism and performance, the film honours the thousands of girls and women from Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines who were forced into sexual slavery—into providing “comfort” to soldiers in the Imperial Japanese military during the 1930s and ’40s.
This short animation takes a look at the redemptive power of food, wine, music and love through the eyes of our protagonist, Chuck. A husband and father, Chuck is jovially cooking dinner and listening to Chopin when his wife Sylvie spontaneously invites a group of boisterous colleagues over for dinner. The festivities begin to spiral out of control, and Chuck must find his way through a planned diner à deux that has turned into pandemonium. Filmmaker Bruce Alcock follows the fine tradition of beloved food films such as Babette’s Feast, using the preparation of a meal as a vehicle for exploring the grand themes of love and life through simple yet evocative line drawings.
Gloria Victoria unfolds on the still-smouldering rubble of a furious 20th century, propelled by the exalting “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (No. 7). Resembling a military march with bolero overtones, the music sweeps over imagery of combat fronts and massacres, leading us from Dresden to Guernica, from the Spanish Civil War to star wars. It is at once a symphony that serves the war machine, that stirs the masses, and art that mourns the dead, voices its outrage and calls for peace.
This short animation adapted from a short story by Heather O’Neill, who also narrates the film, follows three fallen angels seeking companionship in Montreal’s red-light district. The survivor of traumatic childhood experiences, Johnny is a handsome thief who finds himself drawn to Mia’s fragile beauty. Both have a soft spot for Johnny’s best friend and partner in crime, Pinky. But when one of Pinky’s endearing quirks sets off a tragicomic chain of events, Johnny plots his revenge with methodical detachment. Peopled with characters living on the margins of society, this film casts light on the frailty of human relationships. The film features hand-drawn pencil and pastel animation rendered in stereoscopic 3D.
This animated short presents a dilemma faced by a couple every time they go out to eat. Will their culinary differences douse the flames of romance, or will love prevail? Set to a rollicking doo-wop song by Canadian songwriter Alexander (Zander) Ary, the film brings Lynn Smith's gouache paintings to life as she animates directly under the camera. This short is a tasty comic narrative that skips along an array of tantalizing dishes. Vocalists Susie Arioli and Zander Ary each bring a unique interpretation to this funny, charming song.
The NFB’s 76th Oscar®-nominated film.
How many obsessions can one family have? In Joanna Quinn and Les Mills’ Affairs of the Art, we reconnect with Beryl, the working-class heroine who not only reveals her own obsession with drawing but exposes the addictions of her eccentric family, which include pickling, screw threads and pet taxidermy.
Flawed is nothing less than a beautiful gift from Andrea Dorfman's vivid imagination, a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. She deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all.
This film is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding, a time-honoured way of rendering scenes while pointing the way to the dramatic arc of the tale.
This animated short is a story about the eternal search for home. Hollow Land begins, as all such searches must, with the dream of utopia. Solomon and Berta are two seekers who arrive—their treasured bathtub improbably in tow—in a land that promises respite from their many journeys. From the first optimistic moments after their arrival, to the final haunting scene at sea, Hollow Land captures the state of being displaced—whether by circumstance or by choice.
In the vestibule of a hospital room, a young boy waits to see his dying mother. The clamor and spiralling movements of bodies around him intensify, forming a grotesque circus—a cacophonous circle that pushes the child back, depriving him of one final touch of his mother's hand. Using rotoscoped drawings suggestive of charcoal sketches, as well as 3D and object animation techniques, The Circus compels viewing with its unsettling realism. Colour is employed metaphorically to subtly express the promise and the memory of maternal affection. Nicolas Brault's highly personal film, suffused with poetic modesty, casts a poignantly sincere gaze on the heartbreak of a child facing the fearful, mysterious experience of his mother's death.