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Askew Review 15

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CARTOON NOIR (First Run Features) Animation Compilation. 81 minutes. NR. Fans of artsy fartsy animation will surly enjoy this video made up of 6 shorts from around the world.  First up is a 5 minute black and white clip about a cat and his love for the moon. Next is “Club of the Discarded” which is about an old warehouse filled with discarded mannequins. The mannequins are happier than pigs in slob until a crateful of “new age” mannequins are dropped off. The two groups go at it like cats and dogs. The next two, “Ape” and “Gentle Spirit,” I just didn’t get. I am not good with all that symbolism crap. “Abductees” brings together five NY based individuals experiences with being abducted by aliens. Finally, “Joy Street” is a 24-minute ride with a severely depressed woman who attempts suicide. You’ll be surprised at who saves here.
        As far as I’m concerned, the highlight of this cartoon comp is “Club of the Discarded.” Although not intended to scare, this short, which is puppet animation, absolutely freaked me out. I will suffer from countless nightmares due to this baby. I honestly believe there is something eerie about mannequins anyway, but these mannequins are down right frightening. Made by Jiri Barta in 1989, “Club” depicts the differences between the Soviet raised generation and the new western style rebellious crowd in the Czech society. Also worth noting is the ever depressing “Joy Street,” made by American Susan Pitt, and “The Story of the Cat and the Moon.” The art work in “Gentle Spirit” is phenomenal, but I missed it’s point completely. The other shorts are ok, but I really don’t feel like explaining all the symbolism crap they project. I probably misinterpreted them anyway. If you’re looking for humor, go away. If you’re looking for cool animation with a meaning, this one’s for you ol’ chap. Umm, I just had visions of those mannequins again. Someone please hold me, please…- Denis Sheehan


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