KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
2016, Focus Features, 101 min, USA, Dir: Travis Knight

Laika animator Travis Knight’s feature directorial debut is this magic-filled, stop-motion adventure set in ancient Japan. Aided by his friends Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), young Kubo (Art Parkinson) must reassemble the missing pieces of his samurai father’s armor to protect himself from his evil aunts and his grandfather, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes). “A dark yet thrilling adventure quest that stands as the crowning achievement in Laika's already impressive oeuvre.” - Peter Debruge, Variety.


MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI
MA VIE DE COURGETTE
2016, GKIDS, 70 min, Switzerland/France, Dir: Claude Barras

This stop-motion gem about the resilience of the human heart won the Grand Prize and the Audience Award at the 2016 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. After his alcoholic mother dies, a boy nicknamed Zucchini (or “Courgette” in French) is befriended by a police officer and brought to a foster home, where he meets other orphans his age. Written by Céline Sciamma (GIRLHOOD, TOMBOY), Barras’ debut feature strikes a remarkable balance between the joys and sorrows of childhood. “Barras’ movie demonstrates the same qualities expected of responsible parents: It bothers to notice how Courgette actually feels. … The cartoon is never afraid to be cute, but more importantly, it’s committed to being real.” - Peter Debruge, Variety.


BAMBI
1942, Disney, 70 min, Dir: David Hand

Among the most beloved animated films of all time is this story of a young deer growing up to become the “Great Prince of the Forest” with the help of his friends, Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk. Though the film is family-friendly, source novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods was written for adults, and the book’s serious tone does come through in places (most famously in the off-screen death of Bambi’s mother).


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