The Cat Piano - Oscar Animated Shorts 2010 #1



Country: Australia
Website: http://catpianofilm.com/
Director: Eddie White and Ari Gibson
Writer: Eddie White

Summary:
The Cat Piano is the first in a series of looks at the ten films that are currently shorlisted for the Oscar for Best Short (Animated), a list that was released at the end of November and will be whittled down to five nominees come February. For those that missed the pre-amble to this you would perhaps find it best to take a quick scan over this article from last week.

Co-Directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson, The Cat Piano is basically a poem written by White and read by musician Nick Cave, brought further to life with animation and music. The narrative of the poem centres around a noir-like city of singing cats where our protagonist (who is, in true noir style, a chain smoking writer) begins to witness the dissappearance of said cats culminating in the vanishing of one particular beau he had his eye on, driving him to action.

In terms of style, The Cat Piano is all hand-drawn and moody noirish colours, blending together different, deep, shades of blue with occasional flashes of light in the darkness from yellows or whites. I suspect I'll probably say this about all of the nominees but in it's own way, it really is beautiful and the first few scenes where Cave's lyrical juggling sets us up in the cat's musical but sparse world are a joy.

Towards its middle (just because these are short films doesn't mean they don't have structure!) it feels like The Cat Piano might lose its way a bit and perhaps there is a hint there that White had to extend his poem just a tad to make it long enough to class as a short film. Also, for me, Cave's voice isn't compelling enough to hold this kind of weighty soliloquay (he's no Richard Burton) and there were times when the emotion of what was happening just wasn't quite conveyed in his voice.


Chances: The presence of Cave will do this no harm as he has shown himself to be award worthy before with the score and script for The Proposition picking up a few nods in his native Australia. I do seem to remember some technicality barring him from being nominated last year for The Assasination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford score although, I might of got that confused; either way, he was definitely mentioned at some point. The fact that it is a coherent and highly styalised story and is the first to be available for free online mean it might also have the weight of the public behind it.

Distribution: Available (legally) on YouTube and therefore, embeded here...

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