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The Animation Pimp Presents - Binocular Briefs HO HO HO HO HO HO Edition

AWN’s monthly survey of under the radar animated shorts currently – or in this case, previously - traveling the festival circuit – that this month should put everyone in the holiday spirit!

We’re going to do something a bit different this month and dig out a few Christmas/Winter related international animated shorts that pull back the curtain and show us decidedly different perspectives of this contradictory thing called Christmas. This is stuff you won’t see, sadly, on most streaming channels.

Enjoy our special Binocular Briefs Christmas Animation Playlist.

See you all, let’s hope, next year.

Redesigning Christmas, Torill Kove, 2014

Architects want to ensure that Christmas is better designed. It should go well.

Merry Grandmas, Natalia Mirzoyan, 2020

Here’s a quirky but lovely designed Christmas tale of Masha, a young girl who has to stay at her grandmother’s place while her parents go off to a New Year’s bash. Bored and resentful, things seem to get worse for poor Masha when three other grannies arrive. Between falling dentures and moans about various ailments, Masha is mystified by these babbling old ladies…until a mysterious little Santa figure arrives and suddenly things get a tad wild and magical. Turns out these ladies know how to party!

Armed with a warm, rich, and colourful design that reminds one of vintage children’s book illustrations (e.g., Golden Books), Merry Grandmas is a light-hearted tale about keeping an open mind so that you don’t miss out on unexpected joys that might arrive.

KaBoom, PES, 2004

A city is on alert as a bomber plane attacks. From here, PES’s visual magic takes over. We see clown heads on machine guns, popcorn bullets, missile matches, exploding gift-wrap ribbons, peanut bombs and a final annihilation that see the city turn into Christmas tree balls.

KaBoom! is a visual feast that cleverly appropriates images of peace (notably Christmas decorations) for the purposes of war. Is it a subtle comment on religious violence, an anti-Christmas film or just the inspired imaginings of a man who remembers what it is to be a child?

The Story of Christmas, Evelyn Lambart, 1973

Made by the underappreciated Evelyn Lambart, here’s a rarely screened short that uses beautiful glowing zinc cut-outs and a medieval vibe that celebrates birth. Don’t be put off but that ol’ nativity story. Forget the religious stuff (as Lambart does) and just embrace Christmas as some sort of birthday of living, an annual celebration of just how crazy amazing it is - even during chaotic times - that you were born in the first place.

Watch on the NFB website:

Christmas Day, Richard O’Connor, 2012

Well, better to be sad and struggling with someone else than to do it alone. Right? Here’s a touching take on The Handsome Family song, “Too Much Wine.”

Three Weeks in December, Laura Gonçalves, 2017

This graduation film from the director of the award-winning, The Garbage Man, is a loving animated documentary tribute to family at Christmas.

Christmas Eve, Eion Duffy, 2014

Christmas can be crappy for some.

Père Noël, Père Noël, Pierre Hébert, 1974

An early-ish work from the legendary animator who is more known for his abstract/experimental leanings. This cut-out animation bookended by live-action segments follows three characters as it delves into the myth of Santa Claus and that tricky and often contradictory thing called Christmas

Watch on the NFB website:

Smoke My Christmas, Clément Desnos, Jean-David Fabre, Julien Perron, Rémi Salmon, Vincent Verniers, 2010

A homeless gentleman has himself quite a trippy Christmas eve.

Ragin’ Rudolph, Corky Quakenbush, 1996

A stop-motion classic from the early years of Mad TV. Ingenious and wonderfully dark take on the Rankin/Bass Rudolph Christmas specials.

#merrychristmas, Chintis Lundgren, 2015

Well, i think this pretty much sums it up.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.