The official opening of the Festival, which took place on a Monday evening at Kinodvor, once again served up a varied cornucopia of animated films.
Rosto's The Monster of Nix (2011) is a slightly unusual (and Rosto's only) children's film. In his introductory speech, the author himself pointed out that children are the ones who truly know how to watch films. Unlike adults, who use their "head", children watch with their heart. As a segment of the audience, they are therefore able to feel the whole bizarre nature of a film – both on the outside and the inside. And The Monster of Nix is indeed a film you need to watch with your heart. The film tells the story of little Willy from Nix, a place where one day something mysterious happens. Villagers start disappearing, including Willy's grand-mother. The ensuing chaos forces Willy to undertake a journey. He finds himself in a forest, trying to locate his grand-mother. On his journey, he meets many unusual beings which represent a visual intertextual link to other Rosto films. While Willy's quest to find his grandmother reminds us of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, the story later literally rises to the occasion. Instead of the Wolf, Willy meets a glutinous raven who steals glistening story eggs. While the young hero is trying to find his grand-mother, the whole world around him is disappearing into white, the story drawing to a conclusion. As the raven reveals – everyone is alive only as part of one of a myriad of stories. They therefore need a new egg – a new story where they can live on. While the raven has all the cunning of a wolf, Willy possesses enough childhood innocence to successfully bring his story from end to start – back to the story about the grand-mother. The Monster of Nix thus goes beyond the simple label of a "children's film"; using his signature style, Rosto gives a little wink to everyone who knows how to look with their heart, creating magical storyboard metatexts of life.
The other films of the evening were in a stereoscopic (3-D) format. The second feature was a very interesting silent film called Krikerkrakel(Mirjam Baker, 2014, RCA), which is part of the European Student Competition Programme. The film takes advantage and tests the limits of stereoscopic animation in a game of black-and-white spots of silence.
Ghost cell (Antoine Delacharley, 2015), a film made by the well-known Autour de Minuit production company, took the stereoscopic format to the brink and back. The audience member feels as though they have entered a model of Paris, superbly made up of small dots and lines which then magically transform into human entrails and organs. The latter then converge into organs which belong to the city itself, breathing as one large and single body.
The evening was concluded by two NFB treats, two classics from one of the fathers of animation, Norman McLaren. The Godard of animation already made experimental forays into stereoscopic techniques in the 1950s. Now is the time (1951)and Around is around (1951) are full of McLaren's signature colourfulness and sound, manually scratched onto the film. The Master also made miracles in 3D!
The adequately colourful evening thus unfurled the sales of this year's Festival. But don't forget, there's a whole week to go. So why not drop by and see the wonderful worlds opening up on Animateka's screens?
Lovro Smrekar and Anja Banko