Written by Yara
As some may have noticed by now, I’m obsessed with animation, especially stop motion. This week, Vanitas did an amazing list with feature film animations and now I’m here to show that you don’t need 90 or 120 minutes to tell a complex and well-rounded story. Here is my list of 10 amazing short animated films, and the best part is that you can watch most of them for free on Youtube and Vimeo.
PS: A friendly reminder, these numbers do not state the order of preference.
- Adam and Dog (2011)
This graceful film shows the beginning of the everlasting friendship between humanity and their most faithful companions… Dogs. This was the movie that really awaken my curiosity and love for short animated films; the symbolisms are evident and the imagery is quite pretty.
- Vincent (1982)
This is Tim Burton’s first short animated film and right from the beginning, you realize his peculiar and remarkable aesthetic. It’s the story of Vincent Malloy, a 7-year-old boy who loves horror stories, his idol is the legendary Vincent Price and his favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. The references to Price’s movies and Poe’s stories are everywhere.
Vincent has an autobiographical hint, the story is a poem written by Burton himself and narrated by his eternal hero, Vincent Price. Later in his life, Price considered this work to be one of the most gratifying things he ever did.
- Backwater Gospel (2011)
“The Undertaker is coming”
It only takes this sentence to send a whole town into the most primal desperation. Take the children out of the living room because this animation is a crude and cruel tale of paranoia, ignorance and the utmost fear.
This story starts with a song sang by a heretic right at the church’s door during the Sunday mass. While the priest distils his sermon, the heretic notices the omens that announce the arrival of the Undertaker and everyone knows that, when the Undertaker comes, he never leaves by himself.
With a very sharp and terrifying animation style and clever parallels, Backwater Gospel is an experience that you will never forget.
- The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)
On a lighter note… This short animation is a charming and adorable story of a man who finds a library of flying books. This is a literary travel that will warm the hearts of bookworms and casual readers alike, an lovely 3D animation about creativity, writer’ block and the power of books.
- Sanjay’s Super Team (2015)
Also another animation with a hint of autobiography. The writer and director, Sanjay Patel, shows the audience the life of a little imaginative a boy that refuses to concentrate on his prayers while his favorite superheroes are fighting crime on TV. However, with his brilliant creativity, Sanjay imagines the Hindu gods Vishnu, Durga and Hanuman as heroes fighting the evil Ravana.
Very colourful and with a fantastic naivety, this short animated film is a delightful experience.
- Bear Story (2014)
Bear Story is a Chilean animated short film with the story inspired by the director’s, Gabriel Osorio Vargas, grandfather who was imprisoned and forced into exile for two years during the dictatorial regime that last from 1973 to 1990. This movie is filled with symbolisms and delicate nuances and I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s basically the story of a bear that tells stories on the street with the help of a barrel organ.
- The Blue Umbrella (2013)
Pixar is known for giving life and human features to inanimate objects (and for creating feelings with feelings!). In this charming short animated the audience follows a cute blue umbrella in its search to find a singular red umbrella in the midst of a crowd of black umbrellas.
I dare you not to go “aaaww” by the end of the film.
- The Biggest Flower in the World (original: La Flor Más Grande del Mundo) (2007)
This Spanish animation is an adaptation of Portuguese writer José Saramago’s short story A Maior Flor do Mundo. A Claymation mixed with 2D paintings, this films tells the story of a boy who goes to the word’s end in order to prevent a flower from dying. At first, this animation style might seem a little rough of the edges but the more you watch, the more you appreciate the story, the soundtrack, the colours, every single aspect and starts to realize the beauty behind the roughness.
- Feral (2012)
A boy raised in the wild is “rescued” by a man who brings him back to civilization. Trying to survive in this new environment, the boy tries to adapt, but something inside him will always be feral.
This is such a delicate work that I was mesmerized right from the first minute. The drawings are beautiful and the colour contrast creates a baroque atmosphere that keeps your eyes wide open from beginning to end. Very “artsy” film.
- The Sandman (1991)
No one will ever know how happy I was to find this film while building this list. I first watched this movie when I was nine or ten, in one of those sleepless nights where I escaped my comfortable bed to sneak in the TV room to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because of the main character’s features, I grew up thinking that that was the “Moonman”. Several years after that, I was trying to find this movie, but, because I’d mixed up the names, I simply couldn’t find it ANYWHERE! I started to ask everyone about it and no one seemed to know it; at a certain point, I just assumed that I had dreamed or imagined the whole thing. But last night… Last night I found it.
This is a classic adaptation of the Sandman mythical story; we see a boy being told by his mother to go to bed, however, while the boy is sound asleep an eerie figure lurks in the shadows.
A creepy tale with hints of German Expressionism and a soundtrack that will give you goosebumps for the rest of your life. (and make you obsessed for 15 years)
That’s it for today!
I would like to make an honorable mention to Teeth (2016), Alarm (2009) and French Toast (2010); also great short animated movies.
Have you seen one of these? What do you think about short movies?
Share your thoughts on the comments and see you next time!
Please, bring a cappuccino.