ANIMAZE 2015 - Notable picks from the Death and Horror block

Unless you're the adventurous type, the concept of dying and fear may sound like a very morbid, depressing, and emotionally triggering combination to see on the silver screen. 

In the world of animation, portraying something as taboo can also open doors to expressing ideas that are creative and cool. As seen in the following selected picks represented in ANIMAZE's Death and Horror block, everything doesn't have to be floundered into the obscenity of darkness to appreciate an often overlooked but inevitable fact of life. 

'Sale Gueule' (Broken Face) from Canada (Quebec)

What would you do if you were stranded in a lighthouse all your life, and be welcomed with a new companion set out to replace you? 

Sale Gueule explores the sporadic human emotion surrounding the lonesome job of a lighthouse keeper on the brink of death at every unsolicited moment. This locally produced animated film by Alain Fournier evokes the spirit of the maritime life as it tells us the story of a stubborn lighthouse keeper through the eyes of a newly trained apprentice set out to replace him. Set in the post-World War I Atlantic seas, the ambience is a throwback to a much more simple and quiet past that has a ton of unpredictability - especially when this pair of protagonists figure out how to fight a pesky creature in the middle of a month long deadly storm, and to find out that the anticipation of an end - whether his shift is over, or his own demise, is at the core of a lighthouse keeper's dark soul. 

What makes this stand out is the ability to bring out the beauty of life out of the darkness, whether that is the detailed animation, the minimalist style of narration, or even the ambient score that's put together. With a goal to touch your soul and make you feel slightly uncomfortable with monsters that spontaneously come along, Sale Gueule is definitely a feast for the eyes and a one-of-a-kind adventure worth exploring with together. 

'The Sinners' from Belgium

Remember that time when Adam and Eve used to live together in oblivious harmony inside the Garden of Eden? How about that time when she was tempted to take a bite of that apple offered by that conniving snake? Remember how all hell broke loose - according to that infamous entry found in the book of Genesis? 

The Sinners gives us an in-depth blow-by-blow account of the consequences around Eve's curiosity to take the so-called bait - as seen from the eyes of what is perceived to be three young descendants - three women in three different historical periods living their own lives but being faced with challenges. Things will feel confusing at first, but stick around towards the end to understand everything (didn't we just tempt you to see it, eh?).

Briskly paced and narrated in a non-linear fashion, this film be both perceived is both a satire and critique to the way mainstream society has treated women throughout history. Hailing from Belgium and spearheaded by Gerlando Infuso, this quarter-hour long eclectic animated piece is presented in a full, luscious, and colorful stop-motion animation glory that aims to spark your curiosity and maybe even a deep conversation about womanhood. 

The Sinners is something that will definitely feed your curiosity - just don't forget that you might find yourself be tempted for something else too in the end. 

'Deadly' from Ireland 

Does dying peacefully have to be as fearsome, sad, and solitary as Death's gnawing claws visit the front porch of your retirement home? 

Hang onto your scythes everyone, you might want to reconsider your options after seeing this light-hearted short that shows the more brighter side of living (and leaving) life with fulfilment. After all, can Death's raison-d'etre isn't limited a mere creature that sucks your soul out with a vacuum cleaner into the abyss of the mysterious afterlife? 

Sounds like a deadly (an Irish slang for cool) idea isn't it? 

A film that warms your heart and sparks a few chuckles on the side, Aidan McAteer directs the eight-minute long film Deadly. Backed up with a superb Oscar-billed voice acting cast, and sprinkled with good ol' friendly Irish humor, this animated short documents the life of Boney, a miserable creature doing his rounds at a retirement home, and his endless encounters with an eclectic old lady named Bridie. Witty, feisty, and always looking for adventure, the retiree finds ways to keep the unhappy marrowbone-head distracted with her wishes and perhaps subconsciously build a genuine lasting friendship that transcends life and death in itself. If this was a morbid animated sitcom with a delightful outlook on living, then this would have probably been a great pilot episode. 

Showcased in good old hand-drawn animation with light pastel colors and a unique and cozy signature Irish vibe, this film is definitely not a typical DIY guide for how to retire in conspicuous contentment, but more of a genuine way to live up life to its fullest no matter how dire, depressing, or downright down your situation is. Deadly is a pocket full of sunshine and genuine love boxed in a house full of grim and dim. 

Indeed, that definitely sounds deadly.


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