An Animation Quintet

Tomorrow the famed Studio Ghibli is to announce their next full length feature film. Following up Miyazaki's Ponyo, will it be Paku-san's (Takahata Isao) long longed for comeback film? Or perhaps will it be by their new director about whom producer Suzuki told some time ago (rumoured to be Yonebayashi Hiromasa)? Well, the latter might certainly be the case as two days ago Suzuki noted the director is 36 years old and that his animating skill is the best in Studio Ghibli. He didn't expect to be become a director, but nowadays though Miyazaki often sits next to him to encourage him. Either way, more news tomorrow at GhibliWorld.com, but for now it's a good excuse to spice up this Twitch-o-Meter with the animated flavor of five random works worth checking out.

Summer Wars
This ToM won't reside in the land of the rising sun though, as Hosoda Mamoru's latest work Summer Wars is the only Japanese film in the list. It probably has not been seen by many yet, but Summer Wars definitely is the full length animated feature film that brought me the most enjoyment this year. Having seen it on a small screen in a JAL airplane, it made that much impact on me. Furthermore, people always ask me about "the next Miyazaki" and Hosoda might very well be the one to follow him up. To be released on DVD and BluRay in Japan on March 3 2010, this is a film to see.

Please Say Something
David O'Reilly's groundbreaking contemporary 3D short about a troubled relationship between a cat and a mouse set in the distant future won the Cartoon d'Or 2009 and Golden Bear for best short at the 2009 Berlinale. That wasn't so strange. At first sight it might not be that appealing, though at a better look it's clear Please Say Something is something special. Next to being funny and sad, O'Reilly brings something that is so simplistic and weird,but still immensely realistic. Sounds confusing, but to find out what that means just watch it at O'Reilly's website.

Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage
Bastien Dubois's Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage is a lovely short told in the form of a travel notebook following the steps of a Western traveler who is brought face to face with the Malagasy customs and rituals. Painting and computer work have been perfectly integrated with the most important idea behind it to discover a country through the eyes of a painter. Quite the trip indeed.

Father and Daughter
Of course those interested in animation have seen Michael Dudok de Wit's moving short about a father that says goodbye to his young daughter who grows old keeps longing deeply for her father, but being Dutch (like Michael Dudok de Wit) this work just screamed to be part of this list. The way it manages to convey feelings without showing facial details is remarkable. Haven't seen it? Watch it, as it is simply a poetic classic. And while you're at it follow it up with Dudok de Wit's Le Moine et le Poisson as well.

La Vieille Dame et Les Pigeons
Academy Award winning Les Triplettes de Belleville was a treat and Chomet's currently in post-production The Illusionist will probably be as well, but what about La Vieille Dame et Les Pigeons? This wonderful 25 minutes bad taste short about a starving French gendarme desperate for food and dressed up like a pigeon to try to trick an old lady into feeding him is well animated and rather funny, but perhaps not known by a lot of people. If you run into it, then just buy it and enjoy it like others have. It may be hard to find though.

To further get in the mood, check out three random but great animated shorts online:
- Madame Tutli-Putli
- The Danish Poet
- The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello
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