LEUNIG ANIMATED: DVD
Michael Leunig, one of Australia’s most popular cartoonists, provides the basis for 50 x 1 minute animations created by Freerange Animations (Andrew Horne and Deborah Szapiro) who chose model animation “Leunig’s work should not be taken into the flat, bright world of toons.” The disc presents each animation as a self contained short film, complete with end credits. They can be viewed in sequence like a single movie, or by one of the thematic groupings: Whimsy, Melancholy, Playful, Ironic, or Bliss.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Michael Leunig’s bug eyed, big nosed characters are well known for capturing the dissonances of life. He says in the notes to this DVD set, “they tend not to have explicit meanings. They are there to evoke enjoyment or rejection, or be toyed with.” Laconic, poetic, ironic….all these things are true of his cartoons, and the animators have captured that essential Leunigness in these animations.
This is a DVD for people who feel life, who respond to suggestion and who understand the importance of images as conveyances of ideas and feelings. Sparse narration by Sam Neill eliminates the need to read, and the use of colour adds magicality.
If you love whimsy, try Whistling in the Building; feeling a little ironic? Start the day with How Democracy Actually Works (Sam Neill at his driest, most deadpan), followed by the story of the Supermarket Trolleys (with graphic depiction of trolley sex). And it’s all in beautiful crisp digital vision and sound.
On Disc 2, you’ll find a handful of the most unusual outtakes, and a doco which comprises interveiws with producer Bryan Brown, executive producer Roger Donaldson, animator Deborah Szapiro, Michael Leunig himself (some of it at his home & studio) and others. Included is footage from the making of the animations, and sometimes sidetracks into the whimsical world for which Leunig is known and loved.
Published December 12, 2002
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LEUNIG ANIMATED: DVD (G)
CAST: Narrated by Sam Neill
DIRECTOR: Andrew Horne
RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen; Dolby 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: documentary (Disc 2)
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman/AV Channel
DVD RELEASE: November 13, 2002