403. The Snails – Rene Laloux

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SUMMARY: When a group of snails feast on a gardener’s huge plants, the snails in turn grow to an unusual size.

WHY IT’S HERE: Unlike his hauntingly strange first short ‘Monkey’s Teeth’ or his subsequent feature ‘Fantastic Planet’, Rene Laloux’s ‘The Snails’ is a film played for laughs. With a rudimentary but effective animation style enhanced by the great artwork, ‘The Snails’ follows the story of a farmer who discovers he can make his crops grow to enormous sizes by watering them with his tears. But this also results in the pests that feed on them taking on similarly gargantuan proportions. The subsequent snail attack on the city parodies the likes of ‘King Kong’ and ‘Godzilla’ and while it could have been all out boffo comedy, Laloux’s personal style shines through to make it just a little troubling as well, particularly a moment when a snail takes a shine to a scantily clad lady. But the very funny punchline makes it clear that ‘The Snails’ is intended to be a rare foray into comedy for one of animation’s most clinically cold directors.

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