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Keep it in Motion - Classic Animation Revisited: 'Hilary'

Every Thursday, Chris Robinson takes a look at films from animation’s past. Today: Hilary (1995)

'Hilary' by Anthony Hodgson

There are films that have blitzed my senses into giddy, drunken stupors of delirium and bewilderment, riotous exhalings of creativity, desperation, and experimentation. 

One of the first animation films to short circuit me was Hilary by then Royal College of Art graduate, Anthony Hodgson. It was 1995. Annecy. Satie inspired piano notes. A man plays. A boy sits on the floor nearby banging his toy. Quietly annoyed, the man puts his young daughter to bed. As the man takes the girl to his room, he tells her the sad story of a feckless woman (the girl's Mom? the girl's future?)) named Hilary. 

Technically unpolished,  this dark, moving, and absurd dreamscape danced awkwardly on the screen. I sat mesmerized by the crisp Hal Hartleyesque dialogue and the beautifully detached voice born of cross breeding Sterling Hayden with Martin Donovan.

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.