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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Simple but appealing

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
28 January 2004

A man approaches a chair to sit down but finds that the chair is unwilling to be sat on. The man persists and a difficult game of approach and withdraw begins.

Sometimes the simplest ideas make for very effect shorts. With one man and a chair in it's cast listing, this short is a wonderfully amusing little love story (of sorts). The film is basically a mix of stop animation with the live action of the male character. The chair effectively moves around the screen, jumping or running quite fluidly. At times the stop motion is very evident but it is surprisingly effective at times - I mean, I couldn't merge the real character with the animated chair, could you?

The actual tale of love is mostly hidden behind the simple, yet amusing action, however it is still meaningful. Everyone plays this sort of game or has done at some point; it may not amount to physically chasing a partner around the place but the essence is the same.

Overall this is quite an enjoyable little short. Its very basic and simple appearance and plot conceal, but don't totally hide a warm heart just under the surface.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Splendid use of stop-motion animation and live action

9/10
Author: Robert Reynolds (minniemato@hotmail.com) from Tucson AZ
23 January 2001

This short is an extremely effective use of the stop-motion technique of animation blended with live action footage about a very determined chair and a young man who wants nothing more than to sit and read. I personally negotiated a deal with my chairs: if they perform some basic function, they can remain. If not, they either pay rent like I do or they leave. So far, it seems to be an equitable and acceptable arrangement for all concerned. Most recommended.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's amazing how much personality they gave the chair!

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
18 December 2008

This is a very unusual short film about a man and a very strange chair! When he tries to sit in it, it moves away and eventually the man chases the chair in a vain attempt to catch it. However, after he accepts this and just sits on the floor, the chair returns and begins bothering him--wanting the man to accept him but STILL not sit on him! This is all very strange but the film makers manage to milk a lot out of what they've got to work with--and that is a man, a tiny plain set and a chair. Using stop-motion and their imaginations, they manage to spin a tale that actually kept me watching it--and you wouldn't think a chair film could do this! Plus, it sure helped that the film ended so well.

Clever, strange and totally unique--this short from the Canadian National Film Board is well worth seeing.

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A CHAIRY TALE {Short} (Claude Jutra & Norman McLaren, 1957) **1/2

6/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
21 February 2014

When I attended that Norman McLaren retrospective at London's National Film Theatre in 2007, I recall being disappointed on missing out on this short – since Leslie Halliwell deigns to give it a favourable ** rating in his "Film Guide" – although, at this point, I do not recall if that omission was because I was not going to be in London at the time of screening or because it was not included in the retrospective in the first place.

At any rate, now that I have caught up with it via "You Tube", the end result was rather underwhelming because, although the central situation – that of a man not being allowed to sit down to read by a rebellious chair – is agreeably surreal, it is also terminally one-note. Watching the man chasing the chair around in and out of camera shot and, at one point, having the chair actually stand still to watch the beleaguered man running around in circles as in a Tex Avery cartoon, seeing him grappling with the chair on the floor like someone engaged in a wrestling bout and, best of all, ultimately sitting down on it when in a stationary horizontal position on the floor, is decidedly amusing for a while. But, once the theme is stated, unfortunately nothing different is really done with it throughout its 10-minute running time and the invention does eventually wear thin. The multi-lingual opening credits trick is reprised from NEIGHBOURS (1952) but here serves no discernible purpose.

For the record, this short was co-directed by Claude Jutra – the man behind MY UNCLE ANTOINE (1971) which is hailed in some quarters as the best Canadian film ever made and has also been given a DVD release via The Criterion Collection; incidentally, competing against A CHAIRY TALE in the Best Short Subject Oscar category was CITY OF GOLD (1957) which I will be getting to presently.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Some good moments, but overall just mediocre

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
14 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"A Chairy Tale" is a 10-minute short film by Oscar winner Norman McLaren and with this movie here he got help from Canadian filmmaker Claude Jutra who stars in this film and also co-directed. This black-and-white film was nominated for an Oscar, but did not win. It is basically the eternal battle between men and chair. Chair does not want to be sat on, but when man finally agrees and sits down on the floor chair is jealous that man won't spend any time with him anymore. So yeah, what exactly is this? Performance art, comedy, animation? A bit of everything probably, but nothing really extremely to my liking. The best moment was maybe when chair moves in from the right again and hopes to get attention from man. I read that Ravi Shankar made the soundtrack for this film. It is okay I guess, but I am certainly a bigger fan of his daughter. As for "A Chairy Tale": Not recommended. Creative yes, but not awards-worthy. A forgettable watch.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Love requited

8/10
Author: Varlaam from Toronto, Canada
12 June 1999

It is perhaps illuminating to note that this amusing tale of an unnatural affection was made by two of Canada's most creative closeted homosexuals, Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra. The outcome here is a happy one, a union between man and chair.

"A Chairy Tale" was the closest that the great Norman McLaren ever came to a homoerotic film until he outed himself in his final effort, the quite overt "Narcissus", made in 1983, a gentle Canadian answer to the more confrontational works of the likes of Kenneth Anger and Derek Jarman.

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