Socialist Worker

Award-winning animation is beautiful

Issue No. 2718

AWay

AWay (Pic: Vimeo)


Away

Directed by Gints Zilbalodis

In cinemas from Friday 28 August

Away is a film from the prodigious Gints Zilbalodis, who wrote, designed, animated and scored the whole thing himself.

Half of the point of this is just to revel for an hour and ten minutes in the fantastic landscapes Zilbalodis has dreamed up. The lush detail in these contrasts with the paired-down, impressionistic, cartoonish drawing in the foreground to create a ghostly effect.

It all feels like an experimental video game. The lead character, a nameless, voiceless boy, has to journey across an island to find a way home.

It’s a stripped down version of the “hero’s journey”—where the central figure embarks on an adventure, overcomes a crisis, and ends a changed person. It’s also a fairly obvious metaphor for life.

Everything the boy encounters, and every part of the landscape, seemingly exists to coax him along a path he has to go down.

And all the while he’s followed by a colossal shadow he’s mostly running from, but also has to confront.

Away won the Zilbalodis Contrechamp prize at last year’s Annecy Festival.


Mangrove

Directed by Steve McQueen

Due to air on BBC in early autumn

Rarely does a trailer from a BBC drama create such a buzz of excitement as last week’s taster for the film Mangrove.

The brilliant director Steve McQueen is best known for his films Hunger, 12 Years a Slave and his recent hit, Widows. 

He has now finished work on a new five-part series called Small Axe.

Mangrove is the second part of the anthology that aims to document the lives of black people in Britain.

The film takes up the story of protesters in 1970s Notting Hill who marched on local police stations in anger against police harassment. Nine march leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot. The group later became known as the Mangrove Nine.

McQueen said he was sharing the promo to “commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing ‘evidence of racial hatred”.


Superfly

Directed by Director X

Out this week on Netflix

When soul legend Curtis Mayfield agreed to write the score to the original version of this film, he thought it was about the way poverty and drugs were impacting on black Americans.

But when he saw the unedited footage, he was horrified to find it was a glorification of pimps and dealers. He then set about writing a soundtrack that completely undermined the premise of the film.

What on earth would he think of this remake, which is available on Netflix from this week?

The glammed-up world of the “players” is emphasised by showy sequences and sex scenes—just as in the original. 

But this time there’s nothing in the soundtrack to even the score.


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Reviews
Fri 14 Aug 2020, 17:02 BST
Issue No. 2718
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