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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This PBS series got me hooked on animation!

10/10
Author: Robert Reynolds (minniemato@hotmail.com) from Tucson AZ
17 December 2002

This series ran for three seasons on PBS and, like the overwhelming majority of the shows produced for that network, was of excellent quality and had to have been assembled by people who had a love for the subject matter. The shorts that ran on the series ran the gamut from deathly serious ones like Sisyphus (a Hungarian short) to the delightful short Great (a British Academy Award winner) and every possible spot on the line between. Work from all over was featured, from The National Film Board of Canada, the Eastern Europeans, the United States, the United Kingdom, ranging from shorts done for children to things like Closed Mondays by Will Vinton. Different animation styles, from 2-D hand drawn to puppet and Claymation, were featured. The intent was simply to showcase the best short animation available to PBS. The usual suspects-Warner Brothers, Disney, MGM-weren't featured, but they didn't need the exposure. These shorts did and finally found something approaching the audience they deserved.

It's been 25 years since this first came on the air and more than 20 since it ended. Some extraordinary things have been done in the intervening years. It would be wonderful if perhaps PBS or someone would put together a show similar to this in concept to give animation like this more of an audience these days. No matter. Thanks to this show, I discovered a whole side of animation I barely glimpsed before, here and there and for that I'll always be thankful. I wish I could see some of these again,though.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

some of the best TV ever

10/10
Author: Bou from United States
31 March 2007

Praise be for the IMDb! I've been trying for years to remember the name of this series correctly, and some other user mentioned it in his memories of _The Man Who Had to Sing_, one of the shorts from this remarkable series. I was already a fan of animation, but I had become aware of non-US films only a few years before the International Festival began to air. Suddenly I was catapulted into the many films of the NFB, of Zagreb Films, of the UK producers, and so forth. The material was so rich, varied, and surprising that missing a single airing was never an option in our household! As the above-mentioned user noted, I still sing the poor little man's "ya, ya, ya, ya-ya" song decades later. I still remember the one-minute adventures of Maxi Cat and fall into fits of snickering. I still, at least once a year, try to learn the name and authorship of that amazing line-drawing animation that traces the rise of "civilization" since the demise of the dinosaurs--a marvelous ending that one has, that I'd never dream of revealing here even with a spoiler alert! When one hasn't seen a snippet of works in some 20 years, then such recollection really says something about quality.

I once wrote to PBS (getting the words in the series name out of order), asking if this wonderful series was available or ever would be, and the person who answered had no idea what I was talking about.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Finally! The rediscovery of a lost treasure!

10/10
Author: morticia021358-1 from United States
23 January 2010

I, too, could not remember the proper title for this series, and had it not been for reading of the death of Jean Simmons, I would never have thought to seek it out( I had confused her with Jean Marsh ).

I grew up during the '60's and '70's, when all three NY networks and one of the independent stations broadcast Saturday morning cartoons. As I got older and my tastes changed and matured, I began to turn to decidedly darker animation to keep up with my social circle, but how many times can you view "Fritz the Cat" before you fry your remaining brain cells?

Then, I stumbled across "The International Festival of Animation" one evening, and man, was I hooked! I have a collage of images running through my head of the various submissions from all over the world, my personal favorite being a short entitled "Ersatz". They were all fascinating and mind-blowing and even educational ( I discovered that "ersatz" means "substitute", and armed with this bit of trivia received extra credit during a vocabulary quiz in English class ).

Note to poster Bou: Don't feel discouraged about the PBS staffer who didn't know what show you were asking about. It's a safe bet that individual was too young to remember the program ( I'd hate to think the person was too lazy to check; I myself have always found PBS staff to be very helpful and diligent in their researching skills ).

If PBS isn't going to release it on DVD, then they should re-broadcast the series. I'd happily watch it again.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable selection of international animation

Author: Rosabel from Ottawa, Canada
25 July 2000

This programme was an always interesting, innovative smorgasbord of international animation. It was my first glimpse of European animation, and made foreign animated films available to a much wider North American audience than would normally have seen them. These are the sorts of movies usually shown once a year at repertory cinemas in the larger cities - for them to come on television regularly was quite an achievement, and an example of public television programming at its best. My favorite films were the Canadian NFB shorts, but there were many other memorable and often disturbing films included. Jean Marsh (along with her partner, Grover the Muppet) was a fine choice as presenter, at the height of her recognition in North America for her recent performance on "Upstairs, Downstairs".

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Found

Author: walkers77 from United States
15 July 2011

I have wondered for years what this show was. I had tried off and on for years to find it on Google but did not enter the right key words. I thought Jane Curtain was the host so that messed me up till I stumbled on to the name Jean Marsh yesterday and it triggered my brain. The reason I tried to find it was because of a film on the show about a mosquito who finds a sleeping man and builds an oil like derrick on him to pump blood. He sells the blood and a town is created. Then things go haywire after the gambling and brothels appear. The man stirs in his sleep and the skeeters all run to church. Had a cool ending. Only found two people who saw it but none could remember the name of the show. It was on public TV I believe (Seattle area). Have searched online for that mosquito film with no luck.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Caterpillar

10/10
Author: anonyarena from United States
28 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One animated film I recall being fascinated with as a child was something I seem to think was entitled CATERPILLAR and it was from an Asian country, possibly Japan or Hong Kong I would imagine. In this beautiful cartoon, a young boy plays harmonica for a cute dancing caterpillar (the little tune he played was wonderful) and is discovered by adults who throw this boy and caterpillar on TV and turn them into a media sensation. The caterpillar is exploited commercially, even to the point where they manufacture toothpaste which resembles the caterpillar as it is squeezed onto the toothbrush. Eventually, the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly and flies away. It was an excellent cartoon and I would love to see it again someday. I've never gotten that catchy harmonica tune out of my mind, and this cartoon made a big impression on me for its beauty. Another cartoon that made an impression in a different way was one that I suspect must have been one of the first computer animations ever. A gluttonous man eats and eats until he is morbidly obese, and continues eating so much that he even grows extra mouths on his body in order to consume food faster. Then, painfully thin and starving children appear and stare at his obese body with horrorfully hungry eyes. One boy reaches for the man and bites him, and then the boy and the rest of the starving children swarm all over the obese man to cannibalize his body. This one scared the bejeezus out of me as a child, but I never forgot it, and for me it remains one of the most powerful and frightening artistic statements about starvation I've ever seen. I do not remember the name of that film though, nor what country it originated from. I agree with the previous reviewers that PBS should re-broadcast this series or make it available on DVD. It had so much amazing stuff that you never could see anywhere else unless you were able to get yourself to obscure animation film festivals.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I Remember This!

10/10
Author: bagelj from United States
15 April 2007

This was a fantastic series on PBS! It was one of those shows you would watch on a rainy weekend and there was nothing else to watch on television. I was drawn to this show on such an event. It had some wonderful animations from some very creative people. I was once inspired to be an animator myself because of the show, but certain career choice put me in the other direction. I was a kid watching this and Jean Marsh was like a babe then to me. The last show I remember watching was Jerry Stiller an a very young Ben Stiller talking over the kitchen table about the many different types of fruit. When the walked away the fruit became alive and created mischief in the kitchen. I also remember Count Bakeula and Bakenstien. Very funny. I do wish these were all on DVD.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

needs to be on DVD

10/10
Author: (loop66@charter.net) from California
4 September 2012

I too loved this show and watched it religiously on PBS in Los Angeles. I too was haunted by some of those shorts and two are mentioned by previous reviewers. I found this one: La Faim(Hunger) - Peter Foldès on youtube -- http://youtu.be/Vw5fi0iFBDo That one haunted me for all these years! Like a bad acid trip! and someone posted it!

Now the mosquito one, I need to find that NOW! I don't know the name but remember it vividly. I thought it was from Italy... The mosquito city that is born from the pipeline of blood on the finger of the sleeping human! The ending is the best!!! I still remember... but not the name! ha! HELP!!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

LOVED this show!!!

10/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
14 March 2011

I was in high school when this came out. It played on PBS here (the US). Out of idle curiosity I tuned in one night and LOVED it! Up till then the only animation I knew was from Walt Disney, Warner Bros. or Hanna-Barbera. I thought animation was just kiddie stuff. Boy was I wrong! The stories here were not aimed at kids (some were but not all). They were aimed at general audiences but didn't speak down to the audience like animation at the time did. It assumed you had a brain and knew how to use it:) The stories were interesting and thought-provoking and it introduced me to all different styles of animation from all over the world. It made me realize that animation could appeal to adults AND children. Also Jean Marsh was a wonderful host. She was a beautiful woman and her voice was very soothing and pleasant to hear. I haven't seen it since it went off the air and don't think I want to. Usually childhood memories DON'T live up to expectations. Still--I have great memories of this show and enjoyed it very much.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Important series for animation history

Author: Jack_1515
16 November 2009

I first remember being exposed to this wonderful series in the summer of 1978. I was barely a teenager at the time, so I admit the lovely Jean Marsh and her muppetesque co-host were targeted just for my age group, and a good thing too!

Yes, as the other comments indicate, there were animated shorts from various Western and Eastern European countries, including England and France, as well as Canada, the Czech Republic, and even Russia, if I recall correctly. And yet, that is just the point - I still recall so much of it after all these years, from Monty Python's Terry Gilliam's short, "The Miracle of Flight" to a bizarre French, or possibly Belgian (forgive my recollection, it's been 30 years!), piece about a blood-sucking mosquito who sets up shop in a man's nose. This series must be a treasure trove of mid-late 20th century animation and as a historical document should be released on DVD for that reason.

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