Take a trip to the dark side of European animated movies with Rooftop Films’ annual program of uncanny and surreal short ‘toons. Featuring delightfully absurd morphing forms, horrifying explorations of divine terror, and felt figurines traipsing through nightmarish colonial landscapes, Dark Toons surveys the extraordinary work being done by daring international independent animators. Highlighted by De Swaef and Roels’ masterful This Magnificent Cake!, the films in this program utilize groundbreaking visual innovations, eerie sound design, and rhythmic scores to amplify the powerful emotions embedded in their deeply affecting personal and political narratives.
Alessandro Bavari | Italy | 7
Hello, my name is ARTURO, and I guess to be a carillon.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Merijn Hos & Jurriaan Hos | Netherlands | 2
Animation by Merijn Hos in collaboration with Jurriaan Hos for Dutch music festival Down the Rabbit Hole, 2019. The film was created using a combination of both live-action and animation techniques. The set was styled with locally sourced props from secondhand stores which were then combined with animation and photography.
The Entire History of Japanese Animation
Peter Millard | Japan, UK | 2
The entire history of Japanese Animation, in celebration of 100 years of Japanese Animation.
Boris Labbé | France | 14
As celestial beings descend to Earth vitiating its population, the world’s order unbalances. Initiated by these terms, a tragic fall leads to the parturition of crucial opposites: Hell and Heaven’s circles.
Frédéric Doazan | France | 6
The wind blows and browse through the book of the alphabet creatures.
This Magnificent Cake!
Marc James Roels & Emma De Swaef | Belgium, France, The Netherlands | 44
An official selection at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival, "The Magnificent Cake!" is an unforgettable work of stopmotion animation exploring the bitter milieu of Belgium-occupied Congo. In the late 19th century, keen to compete with other European imperial powers on the continent, King Leopold II of Belgium proclaimed, “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.” The subsequent occupation of the Congo would come to attract a contingent of servants, merchants and miscellaneous bourgeois driven by everything from insatiable greed to existential fear. From the intimate stories of these characters -- many of whom pass through a luxury hotel in the middle of the jungle – emerges a greater narrative concerning the imperialist mentality. In a film by turns surreal, darkly comic and brutal, directors Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef ultimately turn their critical gaze on the colonists themselves in a work of stunning, mysterious beauty.
Marta Pajek | Poland | 12
A sudden meeting of a Man and a Woman begins a hypnotic act – a game of pleasure and discomfort.