944. The Eagleman Stag – Michael Please

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SUMMARY: Peter is a man obsessed with the passing of time and in particular how his perception seems to speed this up, with no hope of returning to earlier times.

WHY IT’S HERE: British animator Michael Please’s graduation film ‘The Eagleman Stag’ is an astonishing piece of work that deservedly won a BAFTA award. Made in monochrome stop-motion, the film is flooded with a constant, brilliant white, even when the narrator describes other colours in the objects before him. The film is structured around key moments in the life of Peter, a taxonomist who discovers a new species of beetle which he names the Eagleman Stag. The beetle will prove crucial to his attempts to understand and control time, to slow and reverse the progression of his life. Existentially dense, insistently intense and yet also extremely funny, ‘The Eagleman Stag’ manages to get just about everything right, pairing its strikingly unique visuals with a fascinating script that invites the viewer to rewatch the film again and again in order to piece the themes together and better understand the enigmatic story. This compelling script was then handed to cult British actor David Cann whose droll performance as Peter brings out the subtly comedic elements of the script. It is to ‘The Eagleman Stag’s credit that most people who watch it adore it but cannot put into words exactly why, although most state their intention to return to the film in order to try and pinpoint it.

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