I’M HIP (USA 2023) ***½

Directed by John Musker


The short I’M HIP tells a super kool cat that is totally hip - so hip that a totally new song and musical numbers are designed format by its director John Musker,  shows the cool cat (literally) fancies himself as the hippest in the room.  The gags come at a rapid pace and are all synchronized to the jazzy tune by co-writer and vocalist Dave Frishberg.  The short contains spirited colourful palettes and musical numbers that are fun to watch from start to end,  there is no story or narrative but who really cares as the short is entertaining just as it is.  Musker is known for working as half of the team that helped revolutionize Disney animation as co-director of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and many others. This short confirms his talent for entertaining audiences.


LETTER TO A PIG (Israel/France 2022) ****

Directed by Tal Kontor


An extremely effective and emotionally animated short down largely in what looks like charcoal sketching tells about Haim, a Holocaust survivor who reads a letter to a classroom he wrote to the pig who saved his life. A young schoolgirl hears his testimony in class and sinks into a twisted dream where she confronts questions of identity, collective trauma, and the extremes of human nature. The film is divided into parts.  A venerable man, the survivor of Shoah, confessing his experience in a time of Nazi period, reading behind the students a letter to his saviour.  Teens reactions.  A girl is developing, in her thoughts, with imagination and sensitivity, the narrated story of old Haim. The teen reactions are mixed and one disturbing reaction stands out is one boy who makes fun of the whole matter and as a result, is sent out of the classroom.  This underlines words in Haim’s letter that humans are more inhuman than pigs, whom he first was taught to be disgusting and dirty till the one who took him in at the sty and treated him as one of his own,.  The third part is the most surreal while bringing the short to its conclusion.



Directed by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess


This 13-minute short is an ode to the body's five senses delivered by a man, Coy (voiced by Tim Blake Nelson, THE BALLAD OPF BUSTER SCRUGGS) with little time left to enjoy them as he is now in his senior years and serving time.  The five senses of smell, hearing, touch sight and taste are talked about as well as which sense goes first upon death.  Why is the short called ninety-five senses?   Because perhaps humans are endowed with a hundred senses only fire of which we experience when alive and the other ninety -five during the life after.  “That is a nice thought,” voices Coy at the end of the short.  It is a contemplating piece animated by 5 different animators, each for each sense, voiced with a stern accent as Coy (Nelson)is a hillbilly who claims that he has never used a cell phone inches life, the effect of which destroys sight.


OUR UNIFORM (Iran 2023) ***½

Directed by Yegane Moghaddam:


In the film, an Iranian girl recalls school-age memories through the wrinkles and fabrics of her old uniform, quite literally. Rather than using paper, canvas, or a digital medium, Moghaddam painted directly on the cloth used for making school uniforms to tell the story of a character who dreams of a better future.  The director is against wearing the hajib, emphasizing that outside of Iran, they can wear and do practically anything the girls want.  Also, the girls paint lipstick on the lips of an Ayatollah painting.  Schoolchildren wear uniforms for a major part of their lives.


PACHYDERME (France 2021) *****

Directed by Stéphanie Clément


When the short opens, the colours immediately remind one of the famous Van Gogh paintings.  This short is a meticulously crafted and ultimately most beautiful and nostalgic look at a child’s memories.  “I don’t like to be left alone.” says the 9-year-old girl, Louise left at her grandparents' for 10 days.  During the 10 days, the audience is whisked to a wonderful fairytale land of childhood memories that include both fascination (butterflies), fear (of monsters at night and eyes on the ceiling) staring at her and beauty.  At the same time, this little girl i growing up, as her grandfather removes the stabilizers of her bicycle for the very first time. The short is narrated by the adult Louise as heard in the voiceover throughout the short putting perspective to the story.


THE WAR IS OVER! (UK 2023) ***½

Directed by Dave Mullins


In an alternate WWI reality, a heroic pigeon delivers messages across the battlefield, from one side to the other. The messages are exchanged by two soldiers on opposite sides (British and German), who, unaware of who their opponent is, are playing a game of chess against each other, each move transmitted by a carrier pigeon,  As the fighting and the game both escalate, they continue to exchange their chess moves, delivered by this brave pigeon, that flies amidst bomb explosions.  The beautifully crafted and moving short is inspired by the Music of John and Yoko that features John Lennon and Yoko Ono's peace anthem "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)".  A relevant piece considering the wars between Russia and the Ukraine, Israel and Hamas that are presently going on.  The short emphasizes the message that there are no winners in any war, only casualties like the poor innocent pigeon.


WILD SUMMON (UK 2023) ***

Directed by Karni Arieli and Saul Freed



A natural history fantasy film, following the dramatic lifecycle of the wild salmon in human form.  Narrated by Marianne Faithful WILD SUMMON is an epic story of nature that all children should be told in one form or another - and this animated short intends to do so by humanizing the take of salmon spawning.  Salmon are born and travel to the sea but eventually travel back upstream against incredible odds to their place of lay new roe.  Dangers include Predators birds, and bears but worst of all mankind in terms of pollution that kills sea life.  The salmon are animated as human figures with pink wetsuit flippers and goggles that swim through the water complete with limbs.  One of these is tagged by scientists to study the breeding patterns.  The short is largely narrated with a voiceover that explains the entire spawning process. The shot is as informative as it can be but one still wonders the reason the filmmakers have decided not to represent the salmon and salmon.


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