Posts Tagged ‘“Negative Space”’


“DEAR BASKETBALL” (USA, 5 minutes)  A-

Having pretty much ruled the world of sports, NBA great Kobe Bryant now seems bent on dominating the world of arts.

Directed by Glen Keane, “Dear Basketball” is based on a prose poem written and read by Bryant and animated through spectacularly effective pencil/charcoal illustrations.

It’s a love letter from Bryant to the sport that inspires him and made him world famous: “I did everything for you. That’s what you do when someone makes you feel as alive as you do.”

This isn’t some sort of ego rant; it’s a deeply personal meditation on Bryant’s inevitable retirement and his belief that while the body may take a beating the spirit keeps on ticking.

Grown men will weep.

And having a soaring John Williams musical score doesn’t hurt, either.

“NEGATIVE SPACE”  (France, 5 minutes) B

Animating what appear to be stop-moition papier mache figures (most likely they’re computer generated), Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata’s short centers on a father-son relationship built around packing suitcases.

A father who travels often bonds with his son over the fine art of packing; the kid gets so good that Dad allows him to prepare his suitcase before departing on a business trip.

As the boy grows into manhood the ritual of efficient packing becomes a major factor in his life.  Some fathers pass down religious faith or a love of baseball; why not folding clothes to create negative space?

“LOU”   (USA, 7 minutes) B

The schoolyard bully is a familiar trope in film and literature, but we’ve never seen a take like that offered by Disney/Pixar’s “Lou.”

Directed by Dave Mullins and Dana Murray, the dialogue-free film centers on a big kid — think a mini Jack Black — who makes life miserable for the other kids in his class.

But this dorky bully gets a pointed lesson from a fantastic creature that assembles itself from items in the lost-and-found box.

Sounds weird, and “Lou” is almost impossible to describe with words. But in the end it reveals what we already knew: behind most bullies there’s a hurt and lonely kid blindly striking out.

“REVOLTING RHYMES” (UK, 29 minutes) B

Roland Dahl’s book of poems offering a sort of “Fractured Fairy Tales” approach to Mother Goose is the basis for this amusing but overlong effort from Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer.

It’s all very British, beginning with an encounter between a proper woman and a trench coat-clad wolf in a quaint suburban tea shop.

This episodic entry throws together characters from various yarns — Snow White and Red Riding Hood, a family of wolves, and a pack of pigs who operate a banking institution.

Dahl’s wordplay is as clever as ever, but the storytelling runs out of steam about halfway through.

“GARDEN PARTY” (France, 7 minutes) B+

The camera drifts through what appears to be a posh California home, but something’s wrong.

The swimming pool is full of leaves and debris, a meal sits uneaten and decaying on a table, and there appear to be bullet holes in the marble columns flanking the entryway.

The only living things in Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon’s wordless effort are the frogs and toads that have taken over the place.

What the hell is going on?

“Garden Party” provides and answer — well, sorta — but the real attraction here is the unbelievably detailed photorealistic animation. It’s flabbergasting.

| Robert W. Butler

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