974. Mr. Hublot – Alexandre Espigares, Laurent Witz

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SUMMARY: A reclusive man with OCD changes his lifestyle to accommodate a newly adopted pet.

WHY IT’S HERE: Alexandre Espigares and Laurent Witz’s ‘Mr. Hublot’ is a charming and visually lovely short which became a surprise Oscar winner. This unassuming, slow-paced piece has the feel of the first episode of a high-quality children’s series and the character of Mr. Hublot has much promise, particularly the unusual wrinkle of giving him OCD, a condition which is examined but not mocked in the film. The arrival of a robot dog in the narrative does take the film down some rather sentimental avenues but ultimately the conclusion is agreeably heartwarming. The main attraction of ‘Mr. Hublot’ is the lovely animation, with the steampunk city brought to life beautifully. There are numerous possibilities for this character in this setting, which is what makes ‘Mr. Hublot’ seem more like an introduction than a standalone film. Perhaps someday someone will return to this character and expand upon his story, although I hope they retain the high-quality artistry that makes this film worthy of note.

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