bashir2_lrg1.jpgThe sixth edition of Anilogue film festival is coming to town on November 27th. Actually, it is coming to two towns now, as the festival takes place both in Budapest and Vienna. The opening event takes place in Budapest’s Uránia National Film Palace, with the premiere of the long awaited masterpiece from Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki. Though Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is principally meant for those young enough to ride public transport for free, neither the Tokyo anime crowds or the Venice festival juries could resist its magical charm, flamboyant visuals and amiable story.

The feature program includes some non-kindergarten films, too. Take New York animation maverick Bill Plympton’s brand new film Idiots and Angels for example: a story of a guy who accidentally grows wings but has difficulties with turning into an angel. Or check out Ari Folman’s much acclaimed Waltz with Bashir – an animated drama about Israeli soldiers in the Lebanon war. And then there’s Nina Paley’s Annecy-winning movie, Sita Sings the Blues, which is said to be the greatest break-up story ever told. It’s actually two break-ups in one: the epic Ramayana and a present-day breaking-up-by-email story, accompanied by Annette Hanshaw’s heartbreaking songs from the 20s. Following the path from America to the Middle East to India, the festival also serves up two brand new Japanese animations, the visually explosive big screen version of Evangelion 1.0, and a unique anime-musical titled Piano Forest. And finally, to truly get away from the kindergarten, Anilogue will give us Dead Space, probably the bloodiest zombie animation ever made.

ia_031.jpgAnilogue’s call for the best European animated short film produced more than 500 entries this year. A 32-strong selection of competition shorts are in the final round and the winner will be announced in Vienna’s Filmcasino on the evening of December 3rd. The seven days of Anilogue 2008 also includes the Toons&Tunes workshop with comparative screenings of Walt Disney and Fleischer Brothers studios from the early 1930’s and actual hands-on composing sessions with the composer and workshop leader Nik Phelps. You’d also be a badly drawn fool if you missed the year’s most awarded animations in the World Panorama, and of course the seven-hour-long cartoon marathon that is Animated Night. Your life is dull – animate it at last!

(Thanks for this article to Budapest Funzine!)