My Neighbors’ Neighbors Are My Neighbors: A Shaken Animation Summit [critique]

A skilfully orchestrated mix of animation techniques, a gallery of characters, each more shaken than the next… The first great animated happiness of 2022

An ogre who breaks his teeth on the eve of the big ogre festival, a magician who misses his turn of the woman cut in two with his assistant, an old gentleman who falls in love with the pair of legs of this woman cut in two, an over-equipped hiker who gets stuck in an elevator for several days with his dog… Here are some of the ten characters, each one more fired up than the next, living in the same building whose intertwined destinies this animated film tells.

My neighbors’ neighbors are my neighbors marks the feature film debut of a well-known duo in the short film world, Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand, who have won prizes at festivals, including Clermont. And the result is simply breathtaking. 90 hectic minutes where their art of poetic burlesque unfolds without downtime throughout a story that manages to never lose a character along the way while multiplying, like permanent fireworks, animation techniques (cut paper, drawing, archive images, etc.) to adapt them to each character and the situations they encounter. All with a fluidity never faulted. The shadows of Fellini, Monsieur Hulot, The beauty and the Beast of Cocteau hover over Neighbors… without ever crushing a story that even evokes Lady Di’s tragic accident under the Alma bridge, the time of a sequence symbolizing the ambition of a film that ignores all constraints, all settings, all potential target of spectators for an artistic gesture of astonishing playful power.

By Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand. With the voices of Arielle Dombasle, Olivier Saladin, Valérie Mairesse… Duration 1h30. Released February 2, 2022

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