92 minutes| Australia| 2009| Colour| D-Cinema

If you reckon Nick Park has the world of stop-motion animation covered, think again. Australian maverick Adam Elliot here channels the delightful clay-moulded hyper-detail of the Wallace and Gromit series into a poignant tale of neurotic misfits that’s closer in spirit to the likes of Todd Solondz or Harmony Korine. Dumpy schoolgirl Mary Daisy Dinkle (voiced by Bethany Whitmore and later Toni Collette) lives in Aussie suburbia with her alcoholic mum, and without a friend in the world writes in desperation and at random to New Yorker Max Horowitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Little does she know, he’s also a lonely social outcast who shares her interest in chocolate, and thus begins a correspondence providing welcome respite from lives filled with pain and disappointment. Blessed with a constant supply of inventively bizarre gags, the film creates its own universe through these characters’ unique perspective on life and indeed Elliot’s vividly twisted design work. Fresh, funny and really very touching. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

This screening includes Louise Bagnall’s IFB-funded animation Donkey, in which a world-weary donkey tires of his job on the beach. 5 1/2 minutes, Ireland, 2009, Colour.

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