699. The Old Lady and the Pigeons – Sylvain Chomet

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SUMMARY: A starving gendarme discovers he can obtain free food from an old lady by disguising himself as a giant pigeon.

WHY IT’S HERE: French animator Sylvain Chomet’s ‘The Old Lady and the Pigeons’ is a terrific short which was the debut effort by an animation talent who would go on to make some of the greatest animated features of all time. Playing out like a sick joke, Chomet’s debut short predicts the wonderful attention to detail and penchant for the grotesque that characterised his first full length feature, ‘The Triplets of Belleville’. For the most part the film is silent, with Chomet’s strange, sad and expressive characters carrying the whole show with their exquisite interactions. Small details abound, some of which give the film character and others of which end up playing a far more significant part in the odd but logically structured plot. The result is one of the best shorts of the 90s, a masterpiece that sadly lost out on an Oscar to Pixar’s ‘Geri’s Game’.

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