Guns, Bees  and Tadpoles

Animated Shorts: War & Conflict

Sunday 25 Nov 2018 - 10:00am

A screening of animated shorts on the theme of War and Conflict: Ireland, including The King’s Wake (35mins), Flipsides (30mins) and Guns, Bees and Tadpoles (6mins).

Animation has been used as a visually dynamic and experimental medium to portray the trauma of war in animated features such Waltz with Bashir, directed by a former Israeli soldier and Irish company Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner, set in the war-zone of Afghanistan. These innovative films offer audiences fresh ways of seeing beyond the stereotypes, media cliches and sensational imagery that define sites of conflict as negative zones of tribal violence and victimisation. While these animated films are often challenging and controversial because of their uncompromising depiction of violence and atrocity, they offer us an insider perspective and a historical/cultural context missing from the soundbite reportage of the mainstream news media.

Over the past 20 years, the Nerve Centre's own BAFTA nominated animator John McCloskey has directed a number of animated short films and an animated TV series on the theme of conflict in Northern Ireland.

Flipsides is a six part animated series scripted by comedian Kevin McAleer which looks at the Troubles with a satirical eye. Drawn with a pyschedelic colour palette in a bold surrealist style, Flipsides explores the comic absurdity of the flags controversy, mixed marriages, nocturnal encounters with the British army, the marching season and the two Cu Chulainns, before spiralling into full blown phantasmagoria as a Wizard of Oz-like tornado hits Northern Ireland. Duration 30 mins.

Guns, Bees and Tadpoles follows the predicament of a young boy trapped indoors as a gunbattle rages on the Creggan estate in Derry in the 1970s. John McCloskey’s anarchic visual style revisits the madness of an extraordinary childhood experience that for many people became a normal part of life during the Troubles. Duration 6 mins.

The King’s Wake reworks the Ulster cycle of celtic myths and legends into a dark allegory of the Troubles. The film was inspired by Film Noir and revisionist graphic novels such as The Dark Knight Returns and employs a mixture of 2D and 3D animation combining the creative talents of John McCloskey and Glenn Marshall. The lead role of King Conor McNessa is voiced by Stephen Rea in the sepulchral tones of a character from a Beckett play. The King’s Wake won the Animation Award at the Celtic TV and Film Festival in 2000. Duration 33 mins.