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Kropka reports from the 2020 Annecy Festival and selects his top pick from animation shorts competition.

Despite the impossibility of watching the films on the big screen, watching the paper planes flying through the screening room, listening the "animal sounds". Lapin! Lapin! And, of course, the priceless introductions of  artistic director Marcel Jean.  Annecy 2020 online edition has been a pretty good experience. I think it could be a good idea to incorporate into the physical version of the festival. Especially for all of us who cannot attend the event every year.

The official short film competition preserves a high level and a careful selection, trying to keep the fragile balance due to the amount of techniques, stories and visual proposals. But, I don't know why, this year I had the feeling that the programs were not a strong as in the past years. Maybe the lack of feedback with colleagues? Since talking with friends and colleagues gives us a better dimension in our own perceptions. The lack of a nice wine and chat near the lake...? Anyway...

I could only watch the official short film competition, the perspectives film competition and the Off limits competition.

Among my favorites to win in the official short film competition, are:

Meat, by Kamila Kater. Why? Because it is a brilliant reflection about the politics of the body. The limits that are imposed in any way by the fact of having a female body, its complexion and skin tone. Narrated by several women giving their testimonies and structured like the different stages of the meat, rare, medium rare, etc.... This film is as necessary as it is powerful.

Passerby, by Pieter Coudyzer. Why? It is a very complete film, from the conception of the idea, the technique and the narrative. It is one of those films that captivate because they show a piece of life in an unconventional but fearfully strong way. A little gem.

Happiness, by Andrev Zhidkov. Why? Because it is a journey to the feelings of happiness that are sought day by day and sometimes that searching leaves us with a bittersweet taste. With a technique and a color palette that express the motivations and desires of happiness of the character, the film plunges us into states of emotions rarely expressed.

The Physics of Sorrow. What can I write about Theodore Ushev's last film that hasn't already been written? Beyond the technique used, and its surgical precision in rhythm, The Physics of Sorrow is an allegation of the creation, imagination and life in its wonderful chaos. The dance scene is already in the history of the best animated dances scenes in the animation, at least for me, just besides Marta Pajek (Impossible figures and other stories II) and Viola Sowa (XOXO) films. The Physics of Sorrow is one of those rare films that became a cult film as soon it was released. It is the artist's statement for future generations.

My Galactic Twin Galactic. Shasha Sirvsky is a tireless artist creating animation that challenges us with his figurative, dynamic and fluent style. The animation takes on a Copernican sense when Sasha animates. His stories are always fresh like a breath of fresh air. This time he dares to deconstruct his own narrative form based on the pure instinct. But does he succeed? One of his best films without a doubt.

I Barnabé, by Jean-François Lévesque. It is an impeccable stop motion that masterfully blends comedy, magic realism and the metaphysics of faith. Delightful film.

Genius Loci, by Adrien Merigeau. The simple geometric shapes become a flowing narrative about the search for identity. The Bohemian atmosphere in constant transformation and the fine art design makes it a visual pleasure.

Purpleboy. This multi-award-winning film is aesthetically beautiful as its narrative proposal. Also the topic has not been too explored like Alexandre Siquiera does. One of my favorites films from last year, it has undoubtedly become an animation reference with social content without sacrificing aesthetic quality. The scene of the ants exploding has already stayed in my memory, possibly forever.

Special mentions: Murder in the Cathedral, A mind sang, Homeless Home, Average Happiness, Something to remember, Time o' the signs, Machini, The town and No, I don't want to dance.

The Perspectives section has been very strong this year. Almost all the films managed to touch me in one way or another. Every film should win a prize, but we all know that life is everything except fair. Among my favorites to win are.

Up Here, With the White Gods, by Jalal Maghout, Alexander Lahl, Mike Plitt. The film is a brutal and fine portrait of racism based on true events. The film uses the best of the animated art to delve into the old problem of modern slavery. The history, the narrative tone, the colors, enhance this animation that explains that fascism and racism has never gone away. Heartwarming and powerful.

Just a guy, by Shoko Hara. Animated documentary that talks about the experience of 3 women who started a relationship with the serial killer Richard Ramirez. It is a film that shows us how banal and dangerous is to relativize the acts of a killer until he becomes a pop icon.

White Paradise, by Xavier Istasse. Infamous story about a father who murdered his eight-year-old son Corentin. The animation focuses on what may have been the boy's narration before the murder. It is a difficult story that manages to make the hair stand on end by the actions of the father before and at the time of the crime.

Eclosion, the legendary Mexican animator Rita Basulto, gives us an animation about the non-existence inhabited in each one. Using, as always, her powerful imagination to draw creatures that are born, transform, hide and make everything on the screen mutable. She always manages to plunge us into the creation of her strange but enjoyable atmospheres.

Annah the Javanese girl, short animation about a little girl sold to the painter Paul Gauguin to be used as a model and maid. Delicate and sad story that makes me think until when the developed countries will stop seeing merchandise instead of humans who come from looting and underdeveloped countries.

In the Off limits section, my favorites to win are: 4: 3, Collapsing Mies, Pulsator, Serial Parallels and Black.

Unfortunately, I have not finished watching all the programs from the graduation competition. So, I cannot give any words about it, yet. Miss you friends.

contributed by: Kropka

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