895. Esterhazy – Izabela Plucinska

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SUMMARY: When a wealthy dynasty of rabbits suffers due to their diminishing size, they send the young Esterhazy to Berlin to find a wife.

WHY IT’S HERE: Polish director Izabela Plucinska’s ‘Esterhazy’ is a wonderful Claymation short which follows the adventures of Esterhazy in 1980s Berlin as he searches for a wife to continue his diminishing family line. Based on a popular German picture book, ‘Esterhazy’ has the rudimentary look of vintage Claymation. With the growing sophistication of stop-motion animation in the 21st century, ‘Esterhazy’ is a glorious throwback which makes a stylistic advantage out of a budgetary necessity. The classic, finger-marked Claymation style immediately evokes the 80s, which is the era in which ‘Esterhazy’ is set. Plucinska does a marvellous job of evoking 80s Berlin and despite the simple look of the film, the sets are marvellously evocative and build up a feel of genuine scope. The political backdrop for the film makes it that little bit more special, with the fall of the Berlin wall robbing hundreds of rabbits of the green, safe area between the two sides of the wall, a rabbit-paradise that really existed. Filled with adventure, invention and a skewed look at period politics, ‘Esterhazy’ is an offbeat treasure of a film.

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