Animations: they’re not just for kids. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the programme of the 60th London Film Festival, which includes some of the most progressive, fascinating hand and computer-generated films in recent years. Here are 5 of the top animated movies showing at this year’s festival – with a few child-friendly picks in there for good measure…
5. Ethel & Ernest (dir. Roger Mainwood)
Raymond Briggs is not only one of this country’s best loved illustrators, he’s also an astute and very funny storyteller. In one of his most renowned works, he tells the tale of his own parents. A working-class London couple in the mid-20th century, Ethel & Ernest must navigate the constant challenges of the years of conflict and those that followed, while raising their son Raymond. It is 34 years since The Snowman melted hearts across the world; let the Briggs magic (and the voices of Brenda Blethyn & Jim Broadbent) wash over you again in what is sure to be one of the most heartwarming stories at LFF this year.
4. My Life As A Courgette (dir. Claude Barras)
Every year a film emerges from festival season to claim the rather reductive & unofficial Best Animation Of The Year moniker. General consensus has made My Life As A Courgette the one to watch for 2016, and it seems with good reason. Written by Girlhood director Céline Sciamma, this is an invigoratingly stop-motion tale of Icare – Courgette to you & I – and his new orphanage, complete with friends, foes, and possibly even a first romance. Stop-motion has produced some pretty & profound successes in recent years; the delightfully titled My Life As A Courgette looks set to be the next of them.
3. Tower (dir. Keith Maitland)
Nowadays, a mass school shooting is greeted with a weary familiarity and, in America, cultural division between those who value life, and those who value guns. But it wasn’t always this way. In Tower, Keith Maitland takes an unflinching look at the first American school shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966. Using rotoscopic animation alongside collected audio and video footage, he brings a horrific day back to life but also shows the bravery and love that arise whenever tragedy occurs. Surely a vital film.
2. Your Name (dir. Makoto Shinkai)
How on earth do you follow in the footsteps of Studio Ghibli, the world-renowned animation company who’ve not only made cinema classics but also feature in this year’s LFF? With a film about the first comet in a thousand years over Japan, of course. For Mitusha and Taki, it is the trigger for their dreams of each other, and for a sci-fi adventure as dark as it is beautifully rendered. Respected director Shinkai is breaking new ground of his own – this is the first animated film to appear in the Official Competition at London Film Festival.
1. Rock Dog (dir. Ash Brannon)
Rock Dog is a film about a dog who can play guitar.
That’s a dog. Who can play THE GUITAR.
You don’t need any other reasons to see this.
So, can you picture yourself heading to any of these artistic beauties? What kinds of animation would you like to see more of at film festivals? As ever, comment below or get in touch at @dreamdepends!