PERSISTENT PERIL’S FAVOURITE ANIMATIONS – TEXT LUKE TIERNEY
Animation is incredibly personal in style, just look at Persistent Peril, who’s style is so distinctive you instantly know a film is theirs. Colour and sense of humour dictate their story telling, two things we love here at Word Is Cheap. Each and every music video that comes out is a treat you want to last just that bit longer whether its a guy getting over his ex or a being playing a global game of The Sims.
We caught up with Persistent Peril members Sam Bourner, Gareth Jones and Ginny Jones to find out what they love from the animation world much like we have loved their work.
‘It’s Such A Beautiful Day’ directed by Don Hertzfeldt
Sam Bourner: I’ve unintentionally gone with a stick man themed double bill, so…
*Warning: This paragraph may suffer from excessive use of hyperbole if you’re not a fan of Don Hertzfeld*
“Bill looks out at the water and thinks of all the wonderful things he will do with his life”
If I was tasked with picking just one film from this decade for a stranger to watch, it would be ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’. I could wax lyrical about this film for days, it’s just perfect. Across three perfectly glued together chapters/shorts, we follow stickman Bill as he wrestles with his memories/mind/illness, from the mundane contradictions of everyday life, to thoughts on the universe and beyond. The films ability to go from being devastatingly sad, to monumentally uplifting and emotionally affecting, is uniquely it’s own. A profound and beautiful film. Hertzfeldt deserves to be talked about in the same league as Lynch, Kaufman, Malick and Kubrick. A existential masterpiece!
‘In The Air Is Christopher Gray’ directed by Felix Massie
Sam Bourner: When we set up Persistent Peril in 2011 ‘Keith Reynolds Can’t Make it Tonight’ was one of the first shorts Garth and Ginny showed me, and since then i’ve loved the work of Felix Massie. The humour in his writing shares a gene or two with Hertzfeldt, but is also uniquely Massie. ‘In the Air…’ is an ambitious step up from ‘Keith Reynolds…’ both visually and in it’s storytelling. it’s a glorious mixture of a love story, a look at suburbia and family, and is gloriously, darkly, funny. It’s a deceptively simple film, but there is so much attention to detail in the animation. What makes Massie’s films stand out though is his exquisite sense of humour, and the scripts knowing references to the ideas of the ‘coming of age’ story are hilarious. No amount of lemonade can cool my love for this short!
A special mention to Simpsons 1-9, Ratatouille, Cyriak, Grant Orchard, Hey Arnold!, Waltz With Bashir, David O’Reilly, and many many more…
Blur – ‘Good Song’ directed by Shynola
Gareth Jones: Nuts, love, and the best on screen leaf blower appearance, help to make Shynola’s ‘Good Song’ music video top of any list for me. David Shrigley’s wonderful scribbles, beautifully brought to life by Shynola, look naive but move like an animators dream. Its poetic love story between Fairy and Squirrel is incredibly funny, and oddly sweet. The story kind of finishes a third of the way through, with the gutsy move of using the sound fx to cut over the song, almost ignoring the track entirely, it’s inspired
‘Catch Me If You Can’ Titles Sequence directed by Kuntzel + Degas
Gareth Jones: No title sequence has ever really captured the style, drama, and magic of the film that follows like this. Using a great mix of traditional hand crafted stamps and digital fun, to keep the spirt of the mid-century sequences above all other factors. Creating a narrative through a title sequence really inspired me, and its pretty evident in my student film ‘The Mystery of Pig City’, which is essentially a title sequence without any titles. It’s restraint and simplicity is why it remains the go-to reference point of motion designers today (plus I love Spielberg).
‘Walt Disney’s Robin Hood’ directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Ginny Jones: Although created after Walt’s death in the midst of the companies ‘dark years’, I would be amiss to not include this anthropomorphic romp through Sherwood Forest. Yes, many of the scenes are reused from other films, and the story lingers a little too long in the middle, but Robin Hood has some of the best animation from Milt Kahl’s long and impressive career. It was this film that made me aware of the medium at the young age of 6, and so began a life long ambition to work as an animator. It’s also one of Disney’s finest examples of anthropomorphic storytelling, which I’m delighted to see continue in films like the upcoming Zootopia.
‘Please Say Something’ directed by David O’Reilly
Ginny Jones: Garth and I were first made aware of David O’Reilly’s amazing talents when we saw him speak at a Pictoplasma conference in Berlin, back in 2007. His work really blow us both away. Before seeing Please Say Something I believed that a for an animated film to be taken seriously, it had to be at least 6 minutes long, done in water colour and be about ‘issues’. David’s films were concise, smart and demonstrated more depth emotionally in 60 seconds then anything I had ever seen before. I had found a type of directing I could relate too.
If it was Milt Karl’s beautiful animation that lead to me becoming an animator, it was David O’Reilly’s unique approach to filmmaking that drove me to becoming a director.