Alex Dudok de Wit
Freelance animation journalist
|Ben Sharpsteen, Samuel Armstrong, Samuel Armstrong, James Algar, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson
|Grave of the Fireflies
|L' Homme Qui Plantait Des Arbres
|My Neighbour Totoro
|Pas De Deux
|HÄR ÄR KARUSELLEN
|Stig Bergqvist, Jonas Odell, Martti Ekstrand
|When the Day Breaks
|Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis
|The Wrong Trousers
(note to editors: I ran out of space in the Directors field!)
Dozens of films jostle in my brain for top spots in polls like these – they are all effectively joint first in my private best-of. To whittle the list down to ten, I have to impose some arbitrary rule. So why not focus on animated films, which often get sidelined in general cinema polls (I counted zero in Sight & Sound's top 100 in 2012)?
Much-discussed prejudices against the medium aside, animation suffers from a secondary bias in these surveys: that against short films. More than in live action, the short is a major format in this world, not least because economic factors have made feature production very onerous, at least until recently. Many of the greatest animation filmmakers have never made a feature or even aspired to do so. Some of them are represented in my list, which includes six shorts.
The films I've chosen are daring in their use of animation, whether formally (the diabolical loops of Revolver), thematically (the wartime horror of Grave of the Fireflies), stylistically (the flamboyant expressionism of Fantasia) or technically (the groundbreaking computer experiments of Toy Story). Collectively, they remind us that animation is really a set of mediums: cut-outs, plasticine puppets, CGI, rotoscoping and traditional cel animation are all represented here (and, strictly speaking, Pas de deux isn't actually animated). But more importantly, these films entertain or move me as much as any other, and I rewatch them all often.