In a world drenched with all kinds of short-form animation, from YouTube to Adult Swim (not to mention Pixar’s deadly pre-feature shorts), it’s a sweet surprise that Spike and Mike can move beyond “Sick and Twisted” and with “New Generation Animation” find twenty shorts from the past few years to showcase in a fairly cohesive program of work from around the world (plus Bill Plympton). To describe the premise of most of the short-short work (which is short on the violence and gross-out and higher on the artful scale) almost gives away the punch, but I was impressed by the lived-in city details in “Pigeon Impossible,” in which a bagel-craving pigeon could possibly cause an international incident. In another short, a forest-animal jazz trio wails endearingly while a cartooned black-and-white nun suffers all kinds of indignities and dismembering in Juan Pablo Zaramella’s “Lapsus.” There’s what is likely the first Key lime-pie noir, and Arthur de Pins’ very French, mirthfully murmorous “The Crab Revolution,” also boasts scrappy, scratchy pen-and-ink imaginings. My favorite beast of the bunch may be Mike Roush’s “The Hidden Life Of the Burrowing Owl”: cruel perfection as a quiet bird plots tragic violence against lovely desert sunsets. 73m. (Ray Pride)
“Spike and Mike’s New Generation Animation” plays Saturday and Sunday at the Music Box. The trailer for the program and full listing is below.
MISSED ACHES (Joanna Priestley, USA, 4 mins.)
STILLWATERS (Andrew Ford, Canada, 3 1/2 mins.)
FOR SOCK’S SAKE (Carlo Vogele, France, 5 mins.)
LAPSUS (Juan Pablo Zaramella, Spain, 4 mins.)
YULIA! (Antoine Arditti, France, 6 mins.)
WESTERN SPAGHETTI (PES, USA, 30 sec.)
KEYLIME PIE (Trevor Jimenez, Canada, 3 mins.)
CRAB REVOLUTION (Arthur De Pins, France, 30 sec.)
STRANDED (Derek Evanick, USA, 8 mins.)
SANTA: THE FACIST YEARS (Bill Plympton, USA, 3 mins.)
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF THE BURROWING OWL (Michael Roush, USA, 5 mins.)
ELEVEN ROSES (Pedram Goshtabspour, Canada, 5 mins.)
OKTAPODI (Julien Bocabeille, France, 2 mins.)
KFJG #5 (Alexie Alexeev, Hungary, 2 mins.)
A TOWN CALLED PANIC: CAKE (Aardman, Belgium, 5 mins.)
DOG WITH ELECTRIC COLLAR (Bronwynn Kidd, Australia, 5 mins.)
GHOST OF STEPHEN FOSTER (Matthew Nastuk, USA, 4 mins.)
QUIET LOG TIME (Breehn Burns, USA, 1 min.)
SLIM PICKINGS (Anthony Lucas, USA, 5 mins.)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.