FNC 2017: Animated Features Spotlight

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for Cinetalk.net

There are many animated shorts and features at the 2017 FNC. Two full-length films worth noting are Mutafukas (Shoujirou Nishimi, Guillaume Renard), and Tehran Taboo (Ali Soozandeh).

In Tehran Taboo, if you’re a woman, you will always need a man’s written validation to make any serious life decisions. So, you landed that great job! Your husband must sign a waiver giving his permission for you to work. So, you want a divorce but your husband is in jail and high? Still, his written authorization is obligatory.

This is the lifestyle in Iran. Soozandeh’s insight into the male dominated society reveals things outsiders may not expect. Sure, it’s socially acceptable to smoke shisha and cigarettes, but is it commonly known that students and starving artists smoke weed just like in North America and Europe? Young adults can’t go to a nightclub without recreational drugs and promiscuous sex. Is Iran’s society then, so different than others? Well, there are some glaring differences. Public hangings are legal. Holding hands in public with the opposite gender if you Continue reading

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Fantasia 2017: Cocolors (Japan, 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Blind faith in the reality of an outside world pushes Cocolors’ protagonists ahead in a mission to see what they’ve been told that they cannot. Toshihisa Yokoshima’s animated gem constructs a dystopia where children still act like kids despite their full-body protective gear, and the frailness their society’s inhabitants have inherited. Living underground after a natural disaster, Aki tries to bring hope to himself and everyone around him, but his words fall flat. His friend, Fuyu (re)invents the traditional Japanese art of woodblock printing. He is missing just one special ink color to complete his piece. Alas, it only exists “out there”.

Fatalism is pit against naive optimism in a toon shaded digital animation world (toon shading creates flat color areas – similar to woodblock printing techniques – instead of rendering objects with 3D volume). Set to a lovely score by Abe Ryudai and Hirose Kiyoshi, Cocolors premiered in Japan as a multimedia performance where Continue reading