Why are some of the best children’s stories so deliciously macabre. Perhaps that is more personal than I wish to admit, but I have always been drawn to animated features that carry with them Gothic elements. Tombes et manèges fits perfectly within this category. The film is digital animation, but I wouldn’t blame you if you thought you were watching a stop-motion animated short. The attention to detail, right down to the fingerprint indents in the character molds, is so beautifully subtle that even I was convinced. The art is simply gorgeous, contrasting vibrant and luminous colours with a drab background of a cemetery.
The story, though simple, is hauntingly touching. A boy and his Gravekeeper parental figure are working the night shift when fireworks off in the distance illuminate a nearby fairground. As the man has no money, he sadly must disappoint the young boy and his longing to leave the cemetery. Seeing the sadness in his face, the gravekeeper works to set up his own fairground among the tombs (using the “materials” available to him), and though slow to win the young boy over at first, his efforts create a magical evening for the two of them. Watch to the end as it is both sad and lovely at the same time.
The short was created as a graduate project at ISART Digital, a school for video game and digital animation in Paris. It is the creation of multiple people including Nicolas Albrecht, Jérémie Auray, Alexandre Garnier, Antoine Giuliani, Sandrine Normand, Ambre Pochet and Marc Visintin.
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