If it’s one thing I’ve always loved to draw, it’s bugs. They fascinate me endlessly with their big eyes, their small, fat bodies, and all their little protrusions of antennae, wings, proboscises, and legs. Have you ever wondered what buggy battles might ensue over your picnic scraps? Look no further than Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants – a lovely 3D animated feature from France, directed by Thomas Szabo and Helene Giraud.
I went to see Minuscule at the 2014 New York International Children’s Film Festival. Each year, this wonderful festival screens over 100 films (both live action and animated) from around the world, many making their first and sometimes only appearance before an American audience. The animated features stand out especially against our mainstream American fare, not only in design and style but story as well.
There’s very little dialogue in Minuscule. Or rather, it’s all in the form of toots and horns calling for action of some sort. Much of the character’s emotions are conveyed through body language only. Simple movements and sounds signify the good, the bad, and the just plain peculiar that is the bug world. Animated in 3D and set against live action footage of a lush green forest full of tiny organisms, it is a beautiful and seamless blend of two mediums.
There are a few more weekends left in the NYCIFF. This festival may be your only chance to see most of these inspiring films, too many to list here. ASIFA-East thanks the NYICFF for once again offering a generous discount to our members. Enjoy the festival everyone!