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Features Screengems

Screengem: The tin of sweets in Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988)

Childhood sweets are happy memories. They’re treats from loving parents, for being good, for being loved. It’s wartime in Grave of the Fireflies, but a tin of sweets cherished by a little girl is an image that transcends culture and time. That the sweets are later replaced by her ashes remains one of cinema’s cruellest, […]

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Brilliant Failures Features Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Congress (Ari Folman, 2013)

Simply scrolling onto The Congress’ official website gives a very accurate depiction of Ari Folman’s feature. One is presented with an outlandish, gyrating mosaic of film clips; enough to make anyone recoil at its unrelenting visual assault. The colours are all too vibrant and little sense can be made of the story being told. The […]

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Features Thousand Words

Spotlight: Animal Kingdom

Cleaver Patterson and Kieron Moore pull out their binoculars for a close-up look at some of the movies where the animal kingdom takes centre stage. NATIONAL VELVET (1944) Dir. Clarence Brown When young horse fanatic Velvet Brown first sets eyes upon a magnificent gelding she calls The Pie, she falls in love and dreams of […]

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Features Four Frames

Four Frames: Tetsuo’s transformation in Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)

A cautionary metaphor for the dangers of unchecked power, or just a slice of Japanimation at its most ass-kickingly spectacular? Whichever way you look at it, the influence of Akira, the 1988 anime cult favourite, endures persistently. A nightmarish sci-fi yarn of motorcycle gangs and child psychics, of terrorists and telekinesis, amidst an imposing post-apocalyptic […]

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Features Thousand Words

Thousand Words: Go-Motion animation: it was all just a blur

I can’t help thinking that, for anyone born in the 1980s and subsequently raised exclusively on a diet of post-Jurassic Park creature realisation, the cinematic work of stop-motion maestro Ray Harryhausen must seem as archaic as Victorian magic lantern shows. What then would they make of Go-Motion, the near-forgotten transitional fossil of animation techniques that […]