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Fears of the Dark
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It has been hailed as the most visually stunning and unsettling anthology in modern animation history: Artistic director Etienne Robial brings together six of the world s leading comic and graphic artists Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Richard McGuire, Pierre di Sciullo and Lorenzo Mattotti to each create a black and white journey straight into the realm of fright. This is their stark and naked world of phobias, nightmares and shadows, of strange noises, slimy bugs and dead things. It s a creepy, kinky, sometimes funny and always scary ride inside what makes our skin crawl and keeps us awake all night. The lights are off. The fear is real. Do you dare watch it alone?
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I will start this off by saying that I love both Charles Burns and Romain Slocombe probably a great deal more than is healthy, so when I saw both names attached to this short (85 minutes) animated French movie, it was a no-brainer that I'd be watching it eventually. And while on some levels it's satisfying, it did feel as if it could have been better, or that what's here would have worked better on the page than it did on the screen.
We are given a number of little stories here, all framed by two different devices (one a narration about fear from a highly neurotic woman, another a wordless animation about an aristocrat and a pack of dogs he's trained to hunt humans). Burns' story appears first, and it's the best of the lot, soaked with Burns' own sexual neuroses that made Black Hole such an amazing read a few years ago. Marie Caillou's adaptation of Slocombe's story follows next, and to her credit, Caillou kept the stark, distressing tone of Slocombe's work intact. (Any Whitehouse fan will know it from the very first frame.) To a one, however, the stories are badly-paced, and while there are some really wonderful tricks in the animation in places, overall it seemed kind of crude. I'd recommend this only for established fans of the artists in question (along with Burns, Slocombe, and Caillou, you also get hits of Blutch, Pierre di Sciullo, Richard McGuire, Jerry Kramsky, Michael Pirus, and Lorenzo Mattotti, though the last only in a directorial capacity); others are likely to be either bored or annoyed. ** ½
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This film is definitely not for everyone. It can be labeled artsy-fartsy, pretentious, intellectual, etc.Read more