Off the Shelf: Animated films for adults

Animation is not just for kids! Adults who love film, visual arts, or stories that are not traditional Hollywood fare, can find real gems in the North Olympic Library System’s collection of animated films.

These are some suggestions for animated movies with exceptional artistic merit — in fact, nine of them have been nominated for Academy Awards.

France is one of the top producers of animation, showcasing unique versions of traditional hand drawn animation, an art form that is nearly extinct because of the time and cost associated. “The Triplets of Belleville” has a freaky surrealist style that makes it totally unique and the jazz soundtrack will have you tapping your toes. In “The Red Turtle,” lush landscapes overwhelm the viewer.

Stop-motion is another exceptionally time intensive method of animation. Tiny “puppets” or figurines are built, costumed, and given multiple heads or faces for different expressions. Each frame of the film is actually a photograph, and between each frame the puppets are moved. This is the case for “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which intentionally doesn’t use any digital smoothing to cover the jerkiness of the movement. Because of that, you can feel the handmade quality of everything on screen, a warm and quirky sensibility that could only be Director Wes Anderson’s (he returned to stop motion with his latest film, “Isle of Dogs”).

On the other end of the spectrum, studio Laika has embraced the joining of stop-motion and digital effects, breaking boundaries and creating new ways to do things with every film. Their newest work, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” is a breathtakingly beautiful marriage of artisan and computer.

In Japan, there is no anime studio more prestigious and well known around the world than Studio Ghibli; their work transcends the genre completely. For fantastical takes on Japanese folklore, try “Spirited Away” or “Princess Mononoke.” For more realistic topics, try “From Up On Poppy Hill,” a charming young love story, or “The Wind Rises,” about an airplane designer who just happens to come of age during World War II.

Irish animation studio Cartoon Salon produces stunningly lyrical movies (their newest is “The Breadwinner”). “The Secret of Kells” centers on the famous illuminated manuscript “The Book of Kells,” and shows a little slice of its imagined history. “Song of the Sea,” on the other hand, is a heart-tugging tale with elements from Irish folklore and the two cutest protagonists you will ever see.

There are so many others to recommend. Let’s squeeze in a couple more like “Persepolis,” a faithful adaption of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel by the same name, about growing up during the Iranian revolution. Or “My Dog Tulip,” a poignant tale of the embarrassing lengths a man will go through for his dog, set in London and told through evocative watercolors.

To check out these films and many others, visit www.nols.org, call 360-683-1161, or visit the Sequim Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave.

Liz Duval is a Customer Service Specialist with the North Olympic Library System.

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