At the last Miniciné, the audience were treated to the topical La Haine, a gritty French film exploring civil unrest in the suburbs of Paris through a day in the life its 3 protagonists. Umbra , a hand drawn animated short film by Malcom Sutherland which presents a hellish circular nightmare which leaves you feeling truly disturbed (watch here) but the highlight of the programme was, for me, stop motion animation Joy.
Being a Leeds based blog you might think it’s down to bias but this Armley-made short really deserves the spotlight. With the tagline “Trying to forget someone you loved is like trying to remember someone you never met” , Joy follows the lonely daily routine of an elderly man, Harold, following the death of his wife, Joy, in a freak accident.
Wherever Harold goes his scrapbook isn’t far behind, he takes the it to the place where Joy died, he sits with it through lunch, he even takes it to bed. Charting their lives together through wedding photos, cinema stubs, holiday snaps and letters the book documents a rich, romantic companionship which ultimately imbue it with an almost corporal quality. However, when you sweep away the seductive sentimentialy you realise the book’s presence serves only to highlight Joy’s absence and therefore the cause of Harold’s lonliness and you can’t help but wish it didn’t exist.
The animators manage to portray lonlieness and sadness on Harold’s plasticine face remarkably well which in combination with the affecting (if a little repetitive) original score results in a real emotional impact. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more work from the Armley due behind this short.