Few art forms are better suited to entertain today’s short-attention-spanned society than the animated short film. Sometimes funny, sometimes abstract, and almost always thought-provoking, these nugget-sized pieces of cinema are easily digestible, and so short that even the worst ones are palatable. Serving up this week’s portion of short animation is the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, which brings the best of 2007’s Ottawa International Animation Festival to its showspace on Thursday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m. The screening is free, and here are five reasons to attend.
1) I Met the Walrus: In 1969, a 16-year-old kid named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room with a tape recorder, and the Beatles star gave a thoughtful interview about war, peace, and more. This five-minute film replays that conversation, and illustrates the relevant points with fluid, inquisitive line drawings.
2) John and Karen: Matthew Walker’s cute, well-paced, three-minute study of relationships shows the often arbitrariness of disputes between friends, told through a tea meeting between a male polar bear and his female penguin friend, both quite domesticated.
3) Teat Beat of Sex: A little bit lewd but a lot bit honest, these three super-short cartoons speak frankly about sex, from the perspective of a promiscuous woman with an Eastern European accent. We learn size does matter (but not in the way you think) and that masturbation prevents bad marriages.
4) Golden Age: Another series of super-shorts, this hilarious collection tells the unknown where-are-they-now stories of pop culture’s sideshow stars, such as the Marching Gumdrop, who was one of the Lobby Gang during drive-in theater intermissions; Kongobot, the Japanese toy with a gorilla head and monkey body; and Lancaster Loon, the breakfast cereal pusher who went off the deep end.
5) Waif of Persephone: This 12-minute cartoon blends pagan fairytales about springtime and hell with a Smurfs-like plot and Ren & Stimpy-ish animation. We follow a trio of forest elves who plant a flower, grow a nymph, lose her to the underworld, and then make a bad deal with the devil and president to get her back. The classic soundtrack only makes it better.