9. Allegro Non Troppo
Allegro Non Troppo is Italy’s answer to Fantasia (from an American called “Prisney” or something) with psychedelic animations set to classical music. Its tone is actually a kind of parody, with some animations parodying specific parts of Fantasia, and black-and-white live-action sequences in between segments, at the beginning and at the end, that portray the production of the film.
The director, Bruno Bozzetto has been actively working for over 5 decades, making satirical and parody animations. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1991 for his short Grasshoppers.
10. Cat City
Cat City is a Hungarian production that parodies several famous feature films, and particularly spy films tropes. The films starts with a star-wars-style text crawl that provides some context. Set in year 80 AMM (After Mickey Mouse), the story occurs at a time where cats are about to destroy the mouse civilization.
The film itself tells the story of a special agent mouse sent into the city of Pokyo to gather the secret plans of a machine that could save the mouses from total anhilation. The film achieved cult status and became a childhood symbol in Hungary, a not-so-good sequel was released in 2008.
11. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
The idea for Interstella 5555 was born during the recording sessions for Daft Punk’s album Discovery, and was later realized after the duo managed to enlist their childhood hero, Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato), as a consultant to help on their film.
The film has no dialogue, it just follows the tracklist of the album. The plot revolves around an alien pop band kidnapped and then forced to pass off as humans, merging science fiction with the entertainment industry, as was Daft Punk’s original take on the film.
12. Strange Frame: Love and Sax
Yes, you read it wrong, its sax, as in saxophone. Strange Frame is one of the most unique films on the list. For one, it’s the most recent, and like Twice Upon A Time, it was made using cut-out animation combined with CGI.
It also happens to be lesbian themed sci-fi extravaganza, with trippy, weird, and beautiful visuals, a great story, and great music. It is not for everyone, and the cut-out characters may take a bit to get used to at the beginning, but it is a powerful film and a tremendous achievement.
13. Pom Poko
Based on an original idea by Miyazaki, but directed by Isao Takahata (Of Grave of the Fireflies fame) Pom Poko is one of the lesser known studio Ghibli releases.
It portrays a group of magical shapeshifting tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs, the same as in Mario’s tanooki suit) as they try to prevent their home from being destroyed by urban development. It is one of the most successful non-Miyazaki Ghibli films, even being chosen to represent Japan for the Foreign Language Oscar.
14. The Plague Dogs
The Plague Dogs is the other feature film by Martin Rosen, director of Watership Down, and is based upon a novel by the same author. It tells the story of two dogs that escape from an animal research facility and are then pursued by the government and the media as it is thought they carry a dangerous plague that could infect humans.
The film is a great reflection on human nature, and the dog characters feel more real and honest than many of their human counterparts.
15. From Inside
From Inside is based on the epic graphic novel of the same name by John Bergin, who also directed the film. Even though most of the animation is relatively simple in execution, the artwork is gorgeous, and the story devastating.
From Inside is set mainly on a damaged train going through a post-apocalyptic landscape, where a young pregnant woman named Cee tries to survive famine, disease and war. It was selected for several film festivals.
Gwen comes from another great French animator, Jean-Francoise Languione. The animation are beautiful and the music great. It narrates the story of a girl named Gwen, adopted by a nomad tribe in a post-apocalyptic world. When Gwen’s friend is kidnapped by a strange entity she sets out to look for him accompanied by an old roman called Rosaline.
The film received several accolades along the festival circuit in 1985.
BONUS: Broken Saints
Broken Saints started as a flash series in 2001. It was epic in scope, one of the early motion comics to explore the full potential of the medium. It ended up being as epic as advertised, with 12 hours of contents split into 24 episodes. Most of the characters remain still while speech balloons indicating dialogues. In the newer version of the pic, there a few more animations and great voice acting. The music is also great and can be bought through amazon.
The film, despite limited animation, never delves into the monotonous, with an interesting and diverse cast of characters that have visions about the end of the world. Deeply philosophical, touching on religion and politics, all within the frame of a motion comic, Broken Saints is an epic like no other.
Author Bio: Hector Gonzalez was born in Monterrey (with two ‘r’s), México, and one fateful afternoon he went to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King to the theaters when he was 8 years old. He fell in love with cinema, and even though he usually gets films a few weeks late to be completely bias free (especially Oscar front runners) and his local cinemas don’t show that much arthouse, he still thinks that going to the theater and seeing a good movie is the most magical experience there is.