Bite-sized animations that will make you think, laugh, and cry

Whilst the coronavirus crisis has meant that live-action film production has all but ground to a halt, there’s one area of the entertainment industry that has been able to adapt and keep going throughout the pandemic... animation.

Our recommendations this week are a tribute to animators everywhere, as well as a recognition that even with all the free time many us have been gifted during lockdown, sometimes you just don’t have the attention span for a full-length feature.

So, with that in mind, here are five of our favourite bite-sized animations that will make you think, laugh, and cry. All are linked by the loose theme of the connections we forge with each other, and touch on relationships, family, and memories – things we’re all thinking about a lot during lockdown.

1. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Short at this year’s Oscars, Hair Love is a heart-warming, quietly ground-breaking short about an African American father trying to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

2. Sticking with Oscar winners, 2012’s Paperman was the first animated short by Walt Disney Animation Studios to win an Academy Award since 1970. It’s a beautifully drawn black and white tale about a 1940s New York office worker’s meet-cute with a young woman, aided by some lively paper planes…  

3. For proof that Makoto Shinkai (Your Name, Weathering with You) can work his distinctive cinematic magic even in short form, look no further than Someone’s Gaze. This heartfelt near-future set tale is about a young woman’s shifting relationship with her parents.

4. Another science fiction, World of Tomorrow, by Don Hertzfeld is a brilliantly bonkers short that tells the story of a young girl visited by a future clone of herself. Hertzfeld built the film around audio recordings of his four-year-old niece drawing and playing – shaping her spontaneous reactions and questions into this mind-bending, twisted and hilarious short.

5. The House of Small Cubes is a beautiful Japanese short about an elderly widower living in a house surrounded by water. As the floods around his house worsen, he’s forced to add additional levels to his already towering structure. One day, after accidentally dropping his pipe to one of the submerged lower levels, memories of the past come flooding back as he swims down through the layers of the house to retrieve it.  

Most of the recommended animations are available to stream for free on YouTube.

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on 21 May 2020.


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