After July’s fantastic Minicine at the Mills film night, which saw Ernest et Célestine and Bottle receiving near-record audiences scores, we return to The Palace Picturehouse this month for another evening of impeccable animation as our Animates season rolls on.
This August we bring you a showcase of stop-motion animation from across the globe, topped off with a feature presentation of Adam Elliot’s wickedly comic semi-autobiographical tale of Mary and Max (2009) who forge a friendship that stands the test of time despite both parties living half the World apart.
Mary Dinkle is an eight-year-old day-dreamer living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Max Horowitz is a forty-year-old obese recluse living in New York City. Mary wants to fill her old-hat sepia world with adventure and romance while Max just wants to shut out his harsh and confusing monochrome city and hide. Both are misunderstood and shunned by their respective communities.
By chance, the two become pen pals, and soon each others confidant, writing about love, anger, fears, dreams, relationships, mental health, favourite television shows and condensed milk. In similar fashion to the likes of Forrest Gump much of the films humour comes from the contradictions between what Mary and Max share in their correspondence and what actually plays out in reality. With a visual style reminiscent of animation houses Aardman (The Wrong Trousers, Chicken Run) and Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman), and featuring music by Penguin Café Orchestra, the film is full of life even if its characters aren’t getting the most out of it. Brimming with dry wit, their unflinching honesty with one another lifts the film at times from being merely amusing to hilarious. It also causes moments of slight sorrow to become utterly devastating.
As the years pass by, Mary and Max become more dependent on each other’s acceptance and understanding. After three decades of letters and gifts, Mary is grown and married and the two friends talk of meeting each other one day soon, but will their friendship have a fairytale ending like the ones Mary used to dream about or will their lives ultimately get in the way?
Principal photography for this endearingly intimate story lasted over 57 weeks, using 133 separate sets, 212 puppets, and 475 miniature props, “including a fully functioning Underwood typewriter which apparently took 9 weeks to design and build.”
Featuring voice work from Toni Collette (Murial’s Wedding, Little Miss Sunshine), Barry Humphries (AKA Dame Edna Everage) and the always great Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master, Capote, Along Came Polly), Mary and Max opened the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and took the Grand Prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival that same year.
August’s Minicine at the Mills film night takes place Thursday 28th from 7PM at Armley Mills Industrial Museum. The event will also include a selection of stop-motion shorts and there will be FREE homemade cake and refreshments available to our audience.
Tickets can be purchased from our online ticket office.