640. Balloon – Ken Lidster

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SUMMARY: A sweet young girl and her partially-anthropomorphic red balloon are very happy together until they cross paths with a malevolent clown.

WHY IT’S HERE: Canadian animators Ken Lidster’s graduation film ‘Balloon’ is an astonishingly inventive short which mixes stop motion figures and 2D animation to brilliant effect. The story is a relatively simple tale of good versus evil and the corrupting effect of greed but the interplay of the three main characters and the different styles of animation is truly breathtaking. Lidster makes a real character out of the balloon just through movement and the squeaks of rubber and escaping air, which act as emotive cries. The young girl is kept as a simple model, as befits her innocence, but the creepy bad guy flits between 3D model and 2D pencil drawing as he cons owners out of their balloons in order to maintain his more tangible frame. Using the contrast of darkness and light, 2D and 3D and good and evil, Lidster has made an unforgettable film which deservedly bagged him a BAFTA award.

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