Animafest 2017 Feature Film Grand Competition, scheduled to take place between 5th and 10th of June is presenting nine visual treats from China, Japan, US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Korea and Belgium.
The selection includes a touching family/love fantasy of Robinsonian origin and environmental moral, from the globally acclaimed Studio Ghibli, Red Turtle, directed by the Oscar winner and Animafest Grand Prix winner Michaël Dudok de Wit. The latest film by this renowned Dutch animator earned him another Oscar nomination and its irresistible tropical colours will undoubtedly attract Animafest's audience of all tastes in animation.
Another Oscar nominee was My Life as a Courgette by Claude Barras, a film about bitter-sweet life in a children's home, an impressive stop motion piece. Beaming with heart-warming emotions and childish pranks in the face of a difficult situation, with joyful messages of togetherness and vitality, My Life as a Courgette is also a family experience. Another Robinsonian film, however set in an abandoned coastal town, is Louise by the Shore by Jean-François Laguionie, known among Animafest's audience by the truly remarkable and spectacular imagery of The Painting, screened in 2013. Laguionie's captivating pastel colours this time tell a story of an old lady reminiscing on her life in solitude and enjoying nature and conversations with her dog.
The Girl without Hands, a screen version of Brothers Grimm's fairy tale by Sébastien Laudenbach, boasts animation as one rarely meets in feature-length works – layered and diverse, in terms of characters often reduced and sketchy drawing looming over the colourfully richer Fauvist backgrounds. In This Corner of the World by Sunao Katabuchi, based on the namesake manga, is the right choice for anime lovers. Set in Hiroshima and Kure before and during the Second World War, this anti-war film will give a quite original, yet familiar experience to both laymen and anime connoisseurs.
The Chinese black humour gangster neo-noir film Have a Nice Day, arriving at Animafest straight from Berlinale's official selection, is a real treat for all the lovers of genre film. This is a critical comment on present-day China shrouded in the poetics inspired by Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, the Coen brothers and Won Kar-Wai. The Korean entry My Dogs Jinjin and Akida (dir. Cho Jong-duck) is a family film about serious topics like adoption, alcoholism, superstition and fundamentalism, but despite that it does not lack in humour, warm colours and childhood adventures.
After Cheatin', shown in 2015, the master of indie animation, two times Oscar nominee and a big friend of Animafest, Bill Plympton returns with his eighth feature animation Revengeance, made together with Jim Lujan. As usual, Plympton's completely hand-drawn idiosyncratic caricature style tells the story of a former biker and wrestler, now an American senator who involves a clumsy nerd Rod in his dirty business. The American soil, this time Midwestern, is also where a defiant farmer family lives – the one in Where It Floods by American director Joel Benjamin.