The year I finally got around to getting to go to Leeds International Film Festival and picked two specific films that I needed to see. It is still on with many great films to offer but I focused on these two films specifically because of my dissertation and for general research and interest. The films I focused on were ‘A Town Called Panic’ and ‘Wolf Children’.
Here are the first paragraph of the film synopsis from the LIFF website and then the two films trailers, if you’d like to find out more or see the rest of the description on the website, the links are below the synopsis.
“A Town Called Panic is a wonder to behold – a giddy, wildly inventive, surreal and laugh out loud film with an exhilarating and infectious energy that bursts off the screen. In order to recover their house Horse, Cowboy and Indian go on a journey of epic proportions, travelling to the centre of the earth and trekking across frozen tundra to discover a parallel underwater universe. A heartwarming, uplifting and delightful animated film experience – check out the directors’ wonderful new family film Ernest and Celestine screening in Official Selection this year.”
“Wolf Children is the long-awaited new anime from Mamoru Hosoda, director of LIFF favourite Summer Wars. When Hana falls in love, it feels like a fairy tale. She starts a family and has two beautiful children – Yuki (Snow), a girl, and Ame (Rain), a boy. But the family harbours a secret: their father is a ‘Wolf-Man’ and his affliction is passed on to his children. After he passes away, Hana takes their children to grow up in a village by a forest where they must choose between becoming human or wolf. Hosoda has crafted another captivating anime with a gripping, moving story and breathtaking animation.”
Two completely different films in style, story and origin but both amazingly fun, immersive and beautiful in their own way.
A Town Called Panic has a very difficult story line to explain due to the fact that it’s so wild and playful but, for me, never lost my interest or was put off by how ‘random’ it was. I don’t want to go too much into either of the films storyline although I know how important they are to the actual film and animations but I don’t wish to spoil anything or ruin the excitement as there should be!
But even though A Town Called Panic is a stop motion made with what looks like children or display toys that don’t have armatures, they create more sets of the same cast to allow them to move. They don’t change the model every frame, which adds a lovely hand-made and child like animated style, but they do change them for key frames and a few extreme movements depending on how serious or clear they want to make the movement. When talking to Annabeth about my dissertation, I was looking for a film that doesn’t focus on the 12 principles of animation or something that purposely neglects them. Whilst watching the film though I noticed that even as a stop motion animation that is quite unique, it still uses the main principles of animation, such as squash and stretch, that I have focused on through discussions with animators and personal research.
Wolf Children is a brilliant animation were you can see the influence from Studio Ghibli but its own style and ‘cheekiness’. With very strong characters, the whole film was lovely and really took its time to show every moment clearly and thoughtfully. I really enjoy the pace and care over the animation and timing within the animations that seems to be missing from a few animations today. My favourite moments of the animation, and something I’m defiantly going to watch over and over again, is the transitions between the children being humans to wolves, in particular the transformation when they’re children and they shake their face to change. The ‘hype’ over the film was defiantly well worth it and both films are a definite must see.