Nine Nation Animation: Virgins, Dodos, and Cigarette-Smoking Matches

Categories: Film and TV
If nothing else, "Nine Nation Animation," which opens at Coral Gables Art Cinema this weekend, proves that there's a lot more to the animator's art than either the cutting-edge ultra-realism of Pixar or the flat functionality of sitcoms like The Simpsons. The nonet of brief films on display in the latest anthology from The World According to Shorts offers a virtual catalog of the tools available to the animator--stop-motion, CGI, rotoscoping--with the techniques often combined in a single imposing display.

But while each film has something to recommend it--the mordant wit of Deconstruction Workers, the witty nostalgia of Home Road Movies--virtuosity too often trumps communication, with the mind-bending visuals propping up unproductively abstract narratives.

So for all the advanced technique on display, best-in-show goes to the most low-fi of the lot, Jonas Geirnaert's Flatlife. The title is a triple pun, referring simultaneously to the lives of the film's apartment- (or flat-)dwellers, the banal nature of those lives, and the two-dimensional technique of the animation. Splitting his screen into four adjacent squares, Geirnaert cannily charts the inter-apartment annoyances that result from the supposedly private activities of people co-existing in too-close proximity to one another, a situation all too familiar to anyone who's ever lived in an apartment building.

--Andrew Schenker

Here's the full lineup of shorts:

Deconstruction Workers (Bygningsarbeidere)
2008, Norway, 6 minutes, Dir. Kajsa Naess, Color, In Norwegian with English subtitles
Summary: Two construction workers have a serious discussion about life.
Norwegian Short Film Festival - Grand Prize
Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival - Official Selection
Uppsala International Film Festival - Official Selection
Flickerfest International Short Film Festival - Official Selection

Average 40 Matches (Ortalama 40 çöp)
2007, Turkey, 3 minutes, Dir. Burkay Doğan & M. Şakir Arslan,  Color, No dialogue
Summary: A group of matchsticks come to life and work together to satisfy their craving for cigarettes.

2008, France/Belgium, 14 minutes, Patrick Pleutin, Color, In Farsi and Chinese with English subtitles
Summary: In 632 AD, the Chinese monk Xuanzang discovers the statues representing Buddha in the valley of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. In 2008 the children of the valley tell us the myths about the tragic destiny of these statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Please Say Something
2008, Ireland/Germany, 10 minutes, Dir. David O'Reilly, Color, English subtitles
Summary: A troubled relationship between a cat and mouse set in the distant future.
Berlin International Film Festival - Golden Bear (Best Short Film)
Ottawa Intl. Animation Festival - Best Narrative Film
Annecy Film Festival - Special Distinction


2004, Belgium, 11 minutes, Color, Dir. Jonas Geirnaert, No dialogue
Summary: Hanging a painting on the wall, building a house of cards, doing the laundry, and watching TV:the most innocent and harmless actions in the daily lives of four ordinary people. But of all the bad luck, these people had to live next to each other.
Cannes Film Festival - Jury Prize, Best Short Film
Angers European First Film Festival - Prix UIP Angers (European Short Film)
Tampere International Short Film Festival - Audience Award

She Who Measures (Ona koja mjeri)  
2008, Croatia, 7 minutes, Dir. Veljko Popoviç, Color, No dialogue 
Summary: Are we truly free? Are our desires truly our own or merely imposed products of the society we live in?
Annecy Film Festival - FIPRESCI Award
Aspen Shortsfest - Animated Eye Award
Days of Croatian Film - Jury Prize
Tabor Film Festival - Best Film
Zagreb World Festival of Animated Film - Special Recogntion

Home Road Movies 
2001, United Kingdom, 12 minutes, Dir. Robert Bradbrook, Color, In English
Summary:No longer restricted to Zone Three of the local buses, our dad took us on motoring holidays of a lifetime. The real-life story of a shy and awkward father who desperately wanted the family car to make him a better parent.
Aspen Shortsfest - Jury Award (Most Innovative - Animation)
Ottawa International Animation Festival - Grand Prize
Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival - Best Animated Short
Uppsala International Short Film Festival - Special Prize of the Jury
Cleveland Film Festival - Best Animated Short

The Tale of How
2006, South Africa, 4 minutes, Dir. The Blackheart Gang, Color, In English
Summary: The story of the Piranha birds-or Dodos, as they would be known to you.
Annecy Film Festival - Special Distinction
Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival - Canal+ Award

Never Like the First Time! (Aldrig som första gången!)
2006, Sweden, 15 minutes, Dir. Jonas Odell, Color, In Swedish with English subtitles
Summary: An animated film based on documentary interviews, where four people get to tell the story of their first time.
Berlin International Film Festival - Golden Bear (Best Short Film)
Cork International Film Festival - Prix UIP Cork (European Short Film)
Almeria International Short Film Festival - Best Screenplay   

Location Info


Coral Gables Art Cinema

260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, FL

Category: Film

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