Do yourself a favour and take eight minutes out of your day and watch any of these short and sweet animated films. Some will leave you with tears running down your face as you laugh (Presto) or cry (Bao, Partly Cloudy), others will have you in awe as you watch stunning animation and music (La Luna and Sanjay’s Super Team) elevate the stories.
1. Bao: A surreal tale, Bao is a story about an ageing Chinese woman who gets another chance at being a mother. When preparing baos, one of which squeals to life just as she is about to bite into it, the woman has a revelation — she decides to adopt the bao, as her child, and what follows is a heart-felt montage of a developing bond between a mother and her child. The movie delicately mediates into the area of overtly protective mother’s love, and just how it affects both the mother and her child.
2. Day & Night: This playful story juxtaposes the contentious relationship between daytime and nighttime personified by two buddies, is simple at first glance, but it shoots some profound truths, which talks about accepting and celebrating the differences we see in the world.
3. For the Birds: A flock of birds gathers on a telephone wire, sitting quietly when a gangly, large bluebird decides to join them on the wire. Incensed at the gall of the outsider, who looks different, the flock performs every trick in the book to oust the bird from their ‘wire’ and succeed, but it’s not long before they face the consequence of their bullying actions and we learn about karma.
4. La Luna: A surrealist, impressionist coming-of-age story of generational caretakers of the Moon. The three generations, grandfather, father, induct the new generation, the son, into the family business of cleaning the fallen shooting stars off the surface of the Moon. La Luna is breathtaking, complemented by an emotional score and a climax that rises in an emotional and visual crescendo. Must watch!
5. Sanjay’s Super Team: A morning ritual of praying and watching cartoons is beautifully animated to capture the understanding and growth of a bond between a deeply religious father and his son. When the son figures out the similarities between his superheroes on TV and the Gods his father prays to, he realises that they aren’t that different after all. As the Hindu deities come to life and engage in what can be described as a Mortal Kombat-esque fight with Sanjay’s superheroes, you find yourself gripped by this marvellously warped plot, accompanied by stunning visuals and zero dialogues.
6. Partly Cloudy: Pixar’s ability to make its viewers empathise with anthropomorphic things is always going to make anyone’s heart swell. Spinning the myth of storks delivering babies, Partly Cloudy introduces us to a weary crane and his storm cloud friend, who keeps creating prickly, scary, and sometimes terrifying babies for the stork to carry back to Earth. But, the dynamic and the friendship between these two punctured with dark humour and acceptance is heartwarming and disarming, and it makes you realise that even the prickliest of creatures deserve a hug and love.
7. Presto: Presto, the magician is in a duel with his rabbit, who just wants to eat his carrot, but it’s showtime and the carrot must wait. Unfortunately, the rabbit does not care, and hi-jinks ensue as Presto and his rabbit indulge in what can only be described as slapstick physical comedy skits. I have never laughed this much.