Two short films by Eoin Ryan were recommended by his fellow Irish animator Ruari Robinson, who doesn't recommend lots, so I immediately found them on youtube, & was duly impressed.
Althougth these are rotocoped films, there's no sense of this being painted film. The films look drawn. Bits of Eoin's method are documented on the short-short documentary The Making of Demon (2005) also to be found on youtube.
Teddy (2004) at about four & a half minutes looks like scratchhboard illustration. The line-drawings are very primitive but have distinct charm. It begins with a human figure rushing through hallways & rooms. Momentarily we see he is being pursued by a squat squarish teddy bear with a gun. "Chase" music (swiped from Nosferatu) keeps the tension high.
Our fleeing figure continues down staircases, through courtyards, over a bridge, the teddy never far behind. Eventually the pursued takes a stand & with stick or broomhandle caves in the teddy's head. But the teddy is like a pillow, & cracking his head doesn't slow him down.
Teddy shoots the man. In the coda we see the stubby bear seated in his comfortable den, with a trophy head mounted on the wall. An amusing but slight, to be followed up by one much more sophisticated in content.
Demon (2005) again has the look of scratchboard illustration, white scratches on blue board. A devilish figure is imprisoned in a tall room with door, small window, & a perch.
He moves about in boredom & odd grace, seeming rather pitiful. When his bony hand spontaneously combusts, he screams & roles on the floor, so is obviously suffering punishments as well as being held captive.
For nine & a half minutes we observe his pitiable daily life of sleeping, pacing, & eating whatever is shoved through a door-slot with terrible side-effects after each meal. His loneliness & maltreatment seems extreme even for a demon, & we can't help but wonder what was his crime or who captured him.
His captor is a winged angelic being whose behavior is scarcely less demonic than the demon's. When the angel appears at the door he is a terrible presence, whose light is injurious to the demon's gaze.
But the demon discovers that if he places some of his rations on a window sill, the will visit to peck birdlike at the crumbs.
The behavior feeding at the barred window is not that of a turnkey & punishing angel, but that of a bird at a birdfeeder. This dichotomy seems highly original, & perfectly understated.
Though himself thin to the bone, his only joy in the demon's life becomes the observance of the angel feasting at his sill. He hopes eventually to win the angel-bird's trust sufficiently to give him a piece of bread from mouth to mouth.
But being a demon at root, & knowing the angel is his enemy, the demon cannot resist capturing the beautiful creature with a snare, & ripping off the head to keep with him like a treasure, as the beheaded angel flaps away (like a chicken with its head cut off).
Having defeated his captor, the demon has also lost his source of joy, so afterward regrets his act hence his nature. Beautiful film!
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl