Six short reviews for six short films

By ├ćndrew Rininsland

ImaginAsian’s Sunday lineup included six short, family-oriented films from a variety of different directors and influences. For no particular reason, here are six reviews comprising of six lines each.

A Fish With a Smile

A Taiwanese short about a guy who buys a fish, goes on an adventure with it, and in so doing asks a number of deep, probing questions about our commoditization of life and the nature of existence. Or not. Philosophy or no, A Fish With a Smile is a well-executed mix of 3D animation and 2D backgrounds. No dialogue. Good music. Go watch.

Raju & I

Follows the exploits of a bunch of Indian schoolchildren who reach the startling conclusion that child labour is wrong.

About halfway through it turns into an ABC after-school special on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Pretty well done despite its soapbox attitude. Good animation, decent music, passable plot-line. Gets a little long, especially during “did you know?” segments. Coming to a development studies class near you.


The only film in the line up that’s not animated. Native Hawaiian girl is depressed because guys don’t hit on her. She finds a magical surfboard, and guys start hitting on her. Stupid premise. Horrendous acting and god-awful writing make this excruciating to watch. Stay away.

The Gates of Heaven

Part of a collection of really short films by Lucy Lee. The film retells a Chinese fable about Koi jumping up a waterfall and becoming dragons. I think there’s a moral in there somewhere. It’s really short, only two minutes long. The animation is well-done and stylized to resemble a water-colour painting. Awesome.

Safe (Dihangol)

Another film in Lucy Lee’s collection of really short films. And by short, I mean very short-it’s just over a minute long. A dog is chased by a wolf, so he locks himself in a cage but can’t get out, so he starves to death. The cage opens on its own afterwards. Hilarity ensues. Animation style is totally different from The Gates of Heaven.


An Indian short in which a goat goes on an adventure in a jungle, is joined by a blackbird and is captured by a bunch of criminals. The goat decides he isn’t going to take this, so he busts out and beats up the criminals. This isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds. Didn’t Hanna-Barbera do this in the 60’s? The animation isn’t horrendous, but the inexplicable sound effects will drive you insane. The longest 15 minute cartoon ever made.

..├ćndrew Rininsland

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