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Clara (2005)

  Directed by: Van Sowerwine
Written by: Van Sowerwine
Animated by: Isobel Knowles
Links: Clara on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Short

This movie gets: 8.00 (3 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 53rd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Ambiguous" - a review by em_fiction

Clara is a beautiful but haunting stop-motion animated short by Van Sowerwine. It tells a troubling, slice-of-life kind of tale about a young girl named Clara and the predicaments she encounters as she struggles to live an unbefittingly grownup life. Clara is yet another short animation to succeed the string of successful short animations from Australia.

My initial expectation was that this would be a film that would appeal to children, purely based on the fact that it was an animation. I thought that it would be another innocent little heartwarmer like Love Tricycle (2003). I was pleased to see that my expectations were completely flipped upside-down. Clara isn't an animation that I imagine would appeal to a child. There's no fast pace to hook a child's attention. It takes its time, and develops an atmosphere that feels quite foreboding. On top of this, it also explores fairly mature themes such as death and loneliness.

The animation is excellent. Sowerwine designed and crafted the characters and sets with immense detail, creating the sense of realism I imagine she was after. This also flows delicately with the superb animation by Architecture in Helsinki's Isobel Knowles. Overall, Clara hauntingly demonstrates how animation can be used just as effectively to emulate life, rather than sensationalise it.

em_fiction gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 27 Jun 2005

"Unexpectedly moving" - a review by mino

Clara, the Cannes-Jury-Special-Mention-winning short film by Australian director Van Sowerwine and animator Isobel Knowles, is a pretty amazing piece of work. Clara, the star of the film, is a young girl who is going through a traumatic stage of her life and is struggling to cope with the things the world is throwing at her. Frustrated and alone, Clara seems totally lost and this seven-minute short is quite heartbreaking.

The short is made with stop-motion animation, and the job that Sowerwine and Knowles have done is astounding — not least in the case of Clara herself. The model is amazingly expressive, certainly much more so than many real-life actors (or, at the very least, than Keanu Reeves), and it's no exaggeration to say that even in the space of seven minutes, you may well find yourself forgetting that you're watching animation at all.

Clara is a great-looking short, made with real emotion and surprisingly moving. It's a heartfelt story which is confronting — and even shocking — in a way you don't expect.

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 16 Jun 2005

"More quality animation from Australia" - a review by pearly

Clara is a semi-autobiographical tale written and directed by Van Sowerwine. It shows a snippet in the life of a young girl being forced to grow up quickly, via a seven minute stop motion animation film. Like Birthday Boy before it, and Harvie Krumpet (2003) before that, I wouldn't be surprised to see this Australian short animation up for many awards over the coming year.

I found Clara to be, first and foremost, beautiful to watch. The sets within which Clara moved about were some of the most complex that I can remember seeing in a stop motion animation film, and Clara herself moved within them in a wonderfully natural way. I found myself noticing things that I don't normally notice - like the fact that the lighting was extremely well done, and the little details like the gorgeous orange sunset in the background. These elements, combined with the ambient sounds that make up the completely wordless film, all mesh together to create the truly pleasant experience that is Clara.

The film is, essentially, symbolic of the journey from childhood to adolescence, and it gives this message across in a subtle yet succinct way. Kudos must go to Isobel Knowles, the animator, for what must have been countless hours spent on each minute detail, along with Sowerwine. You can see the delicacy of their work in the resulting film, yet it is still easy to escape, just briefly, into Clara's world.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 14 Jun 2005

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 3
Average rating: 8.00
Lowest rating: 8 (by em_fiction, mino, pearly)
Highest rating: 8 (by em_fiction, mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

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