expectancy was never that great in the Old West, so it is rather perverse how
long this guilt-ridden sheriff has lived to torture himself. That’s fate for
you. The lone lawman will finally face his past, even if it kills him, in Andrew
Coats & Lou Hamou-Lhadj’s animated short Borrowed Time (trailer here), which screens during the 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival.
American identity was largely forged on the frontier, so it is frustrating to see
the western genre fall out of favor for so long. It is like China decided to
stop making wuxia movies or Japan quit making Jidaigeki and Chanbara films. As
a result, it is always a happy occurrence when we get a new western, even if it
is slightly revisionist and entirely animated. Indeed, those are good things in
the case of Borrowed Time.
& Hamou-Lhadj tell a relatively simple story, but the emotions are complex. Borrowed unfolds like a memory play as
the wiry old sheriff revisits the scene of his predecessor father’s death years
ago. The co-directors have day-jobs at Pixar, where they have clearly stayed up
to speed on the latest developments in their film. Their CGI figures are quite
expressive and perfectly evoke the archetypes of the Old West. The animation
looks terrific, in genre-appropriate kind of way.
Featuring the music of two-time Oscar winning
composer Gustavo Santaolalla (whose credits include Hell on Wheels and Brokeback
Mountain), Borrowed Time is a
quality production all the way around. Highly recommended for animation and
western fans, it screens again this Sunday (6/12) at Windmill Studios, as part
of the Experiment Edition of the Brooklyn Film Festival.
Labels: Animated films, BFF '16, Short Films, Western Cinema