short film review

Reviews and news about short films, short film festivals, reviews, links and guides to short films online,images from short films,directors,writers,cinemaphotographers. Copyright 2005, 2006 by Allan Maurer. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Con-Can, an International Online Short Film Festival

Con-Can is yet another online venue which accepts short films for its annual film festival. Short Film fans can also view entries from the current and past festivals.

It's a well designed site featuring the work of international directors particularly heavy on Japanese and other Asian, but also Russia, Germany, the UK, and Australia, among others. The site offers a Japanese version.

"Robota" (see photo) is an offering from the 2nd Con-Can Festival of shorts. It gets a four star rating from viewers. Director Marc Beurteaux films Lego robots using stop motion animation techniques. Canadian Beurteaux won first prize for his previous film, "Tous Les Deux," at the Morbegno Film Festival in Italy in 2002.

"Robota" tells its quirky little story quickly and manages to include two robot battle scenes, one of Lego dinosaurian robots our wheeled hero bets on and the robot melee afterward which owes as much to Warner Brothers as to Ray Harryhausen (who used the same stop-motion technique in his 50s-70s classics such as Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers and Jason & the Argonauts.

The whole thing has an oddly futuristic feel, more "Blade Runner" than "Star Trek" because it's dark, but convincing in a strage way. The humor is decidedly clang-bang thank-you Robby-the-Robot, but it made me laugh several times and I bet an audience gets some real real guffaws when this is show on the screen. There's even a few sorta-scary special effects. The ending is perfect, not entirely predictable, and offers a real conclusion perfectly logical within this Lego robotland logic.

Beurteaux has talent, although in the time it takes to build Lego robots, go through the laborious stop-motion technique of shooting tiny movements so that a minute of motion on screen may take hours to film, as well as coming up with a script this good, he could probably shoot a feature. We hope he sticks with the shorts genre for a while, though. This is among the better animations we've seen this year.

21 on our 24 frame scale for "Robota."


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