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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Noirish Animated Short

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
4 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Once again, this modern-day animated short is different, both in looks and in content.

We see stop-motion animation of wooden mannequins

and we get narration as if we were watching some late 1940s film noir. It's pretty interesting.

A man (the narrator) is fascinated with a contortionist who performed with the Patranski Brothers Traveling Circus. One night the girl couldn't unravel from "an intricate sailor's knot." The narrator notes that "Magda" has a look of panic on her face, so our hero rushes from his seat and unties the girl, saving her. The crowd loves it and the owner of the circus hires our man as a new "shill." The couple become very close as well.

They make his heroics in the circus tent a nightly part of the act. However, the "cheapness,"" as he puts it, of the fake heroics ruins the relationship of the two participants and the story ends suddenly. It's like, "huh....that's it?"

I loved the look of this animated short, especially all the neon and film noir look to it, but the story ends unsatisfactorily, in my opinion. Still, it's pretty interesting and I definitely enjoyed watching it. I would just like to have seen a better ending.....or would it? Maybe that's what you get with "noir" story.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of my favorite animated films! Brilliant animation and sound design.

Author: joanna-57
20 February 2007

One of my favorite animated films! Brilliant animation and magnificent sound design combined with elegant, simple puppets and beautiful design. I love the bittersweet narration too. Few animated film have this kind of poignancy and emotion. Chel White is a great filmmaker.

Making a puppet film with wooden artists models was a great idea. There are lots of subtle sound effects that support the movements of the puppets, like the sound of springs stretching, creaking and sproinging that you hear when you twist those wooden models. It gives the film a haunted, eerie quality. The gorgeous production design convincingly delivers the sense of a dark carnival.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good but... incomplete.

Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
22 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This animated short is featured on the Animation Show Vol 2 DVD, and was not, as I remember, included on the Animation Show 2005 tour. It was a nice little extra to have, though, as it's visually appealing and fits right in with the other works involved in this collection.

It's the story of an affair told through faceless marionettes... a circus-goer and a contortionist who fall in love after the contortionist ceases up and the fan saves her and her subsequent career. The two of them then begin touring together as he's implicated into the show, but the two of them begin to begrudge their relationship under the pressures of the working relationship.

It's a decent short and filled with a combination of circus-style-surrealism and a little film noir. The only problem with it is that it ends like a crash and seems very incomplete. The work done on it is very good but it feels like the intro to a much larger and stronger story.

Perhaps it is. I'd certainly love to see this thing increased to something like feature length, or at least expanded upon.


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Well observed and delivered bittersweet piece on commercialization of art

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
29 March 2017

There must be an element of the personal in this film from Chel White. The plot is a sort of romance between a contortionist and a member of the audience who becomes fascinated by her. It is played out in very simple and nostalgic style, with wooden marionettes animated by stop- motion. The dry voice-over from the lead character sets a tired tone which contrasts nicely with the more fanciful setting of the circus, and the wonder of the act. It takes the viewer there in the end, as the story sees a moment of nature beauty that is appreciated in the moment, is stretched out for profit and commercialized to the point where it loses the spark of creative spontaneity that it had in the first case.

The film delivers this well, and leaves a bittersweet memory to the film, but doesn't hammer it to the point where it becomes bitter in itself.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It's okay...

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
29 July 2008

This is one of the animated shorts from THE ANIMATION SHOW: VOLUME 2. Most of the shorts in this DVD collection are rather poor because very few are funny and the emphasis is much more or art than entertainment in this second installment. For better films overall, see VOLUME 1.

The characters in this odd film are artist's wooden dummies that move thanks to stop-motion. These jointed characters, as you probably know, are very pose-able but also lack faces and fingers. This posability is important in this film because it's about a wooden dummy who falls in love with another one who is a contortionist with the circus.

Of all the shorts in this compilation, this is perhaps the one that falls in the middle for me. It's not among the best nor the worst. It certainly is creative, but the story itself is only fair and the animation looks as if it was relatively simple to make compared to most animated films.

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