What are the most "artsy" animated films that I should watch?
February 8, 2016 1:19 PM   Subscribe

What are the most "artsy" animated films that I should watch? I am interested in experiencing animation that is not the same Hollywood style. Any suggestions would be most welcome.
posted by mortaddams to Media & Arts (64 answers total) 119 users marked this as a favorite
 
OMG OMG OMG So much fun:

1. Ralph Bakshi's "Hey Good Lookin'" and "Coonskin" are both excellent.

2. Anything by Jan Svankmajer (start with Alice! but try to see Dimensions of Dialogue if nothing else) - Stop motion animation

3. Anything by Jiri Trnka - Stop Motion animation

4. Anything by Hayao Miyazaki

5. I know you're asking for arty films, but Disney's early stuff is... achingly beautiful. And holds up so well. Re-watching Bambi, Dumbo, or basically anything up until and includinng 101 Dalmatians is worth a re-watch, in this post-hand-drawn animation age.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:26 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Waltz with Bashir.

Linklaiter's rotoscope work: Waking Life. Through a Scanner Darkly.

Studio Ghibli (not just Miyazaki). If you want different/depressing, Grave of the Fireflies is definitely not Hollywood (ref current fanfare discussion, it WILL make you very sad).

Triplets of Belleville is French and very different.

Seconding Svankmajer.
posted by Alterscape at 1:27 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also seconding Bakshi, on failure-to-read-preview.
posted by Alterscape at 1:28 PM on February 8, 2016


I think The Man Who Planted Trees is a very beautiful film, in addition to having a story that gets me every time. It's basically a flowing sort of flowy line drawing.
posted by OmieWise at 1:28 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fantastic Planet

Watership Down
posted by Freedomboy at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea (same director) are both beautiful 2D films that with a look that veers from stained glass to medieval illumination to children's book to anime. They're really lovely.

I really, really like Satoshi Kon as well; you might check out Paprika.
posted by selfnoise at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


From National Film Board of Canada, there are lots.

Check out all of them, but for sure watch 'Walking' and then 'Ryan', in that order.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 1:35 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Akira. If I'm remembering right, it took three years to do all the animation.
posted by teponaztli at 1:35 PM on February 8, 2016


Yes, to Triplets of Belleville. Also Grave of Fireflies.
posted by hydra77 at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2016


Nthing Fantastic Planet and Triplets of Belleville.

A Town Called Panic.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Coraline is also quite different and pretty 'adult'.
posted by hydra77 at 1:38 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Persepolis!
posted by aspenkf at 1:38 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Illusionist
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:40 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

Also, I prefer Svankmajer, but the Quay Brothers are worth checking out for more stop-motion weirdness. I like Don Herzfeldt for (mostly) hand-drawn stuff.
posted by teponaztli at 1:42 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Satoshi Kon's movies: Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika.
posted by clearlydemon at 1:42 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Seconding The Illusionist
posted by Jahaza at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2016


I think The Man Who Planted Trees is a very beautiful film, in addition to having a story that gets me every time.
> See: The short animations of Frédéric Back

Fantastic Planet
> See: the films of René Laloux

Anything by Jan Svankmajer
> See: his 27 shorts online, along with his first five films

Anything by Hayao Miyazaki (and Studio Ghibli)
> See: Roger Ebert on Anime, with a focus on Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and the recent FanFare post for Grave of the Fireflies, which is mostly people saying how very intense the film is.

I like Don Herzfeldt for (mostly) hand-drawn stuff.
> See: an older Don Hertzfeldt post

And Studio 4°C has made some wonderful, weird anime, some of which is more widely available, like Princess Arete (FanFare post).

Note: those are links to posts I've made on MetaFilter, which I link here because they provide an overview, plus people's recommendations on where to start and what else to watch.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:47 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


However you feel about the Matrix film franchise, the offshoot Animatrix is wonderful. It's an anthology of a bunch of short videos, each written and animated by different groups. One of the segments, "Beyond," is a personal favorite. It has a few moments of the sublime.

If you like Fantastic Planet, check out Heavy Metal.

Lots of good recommendations in here otherwise.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ooooh! Okay this isn't the *best* animation, but it IS super fun and worth watching. Does anyone remember MTV's Liquid Television in the mid '90s? check out

1. Peter Chung's Aeon Flux - the original MTV series.
and
2. Sam Kieth's The Maxx - actually the animation in The Maxx was really fabulous...
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:55 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I never realized it as a kid, but Fantasia is a pretty gorgeous art film, hippos in tutus aside. Watching it again as an adult was really something.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:55 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


i'm worried this isn't already mentioned because i'm not understanding "artsy", but rejected.

edit: oh, or do you mean "[feature length] film"? i suspect so. oh well, sorry.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:01 PM on February 8, 2016


mea culpa for not posting links, but Henry Selick's Coraline and 4th Estate's This is Where We Live.
posted by effluvia at 2:03 PM on February 8, 2016


Insect's Christmas
posted by effluvia at 2:08 PM on February 8, 2016


The Cathedral, by Tomasz Baginski. Seen once, never forgotten.
posted by Weftage at 2:10 PM on February 8, 2016


N'thing Coraline and Frederick Back. In fact anything by LAIKA is interesting. Not sure if stop motion animation counts. I've also always loved the drawings in The Last Unicorn.
posted by apcmwh at 2:10 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Diary of Tortov Roddle. Here are a bunch of framegrabs.

It was never released in NA, but if you do torrents, then here or here.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:13 PM on February 8, 2016


I am quite fond of Bakshi, Svankmajer, Miyazaki, Hertzfeldt, and the Brothers Quay.

Also: Bill Plympton -- I Married a Strange Person!, Idiots and Angels
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2016


Idiots and Angels is a feature-length morality play by Bill Plympton that I remember being quite good.
posted by voiceofreason at 2:18 PM on February 8, 2016


Yellow Submarine was surprisingly artsy.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:19 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Dig in to the non-mainstream Warner Brothers cannon. With some of them, including The Wearing of the Grin and Goofy Groceries, there's no question that the creators were on drugs of some kind.
posted by Melismata at 2:24 PM on February 8, 2016


Three Brothers From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Start at 1:14 This short animation blew the rest of the film entirely out of the water.
posted by effluvia at 2:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


For short animations, searching "gobelins" (or "Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image" if you like typing more) on youtube will yield piles of beautiful and unusual short films made by French art students. I haven't had a look in a while, but it's where I found family favourites Octopodi and Fenrir.
posted by glitter at 2:32 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, and you can join us for a (re)watch of The Legend of Korra - just look at the screenshots. It's different than the art of Avatar the Last Airbender, but both have some beautiful painted landscapes that are definitely not Hollywood style.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM on February 8, 2016


Cat Soup!
posted by juv3nal at 2:42 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and My Neighbors the Yamadas.
posted by ringu0 at 2:43 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


My Dog Tulip is a beautifully hand animated film.
posted by octothorpe at 2:49 PM on February 8, 2016


Hedgehog in the Fog (Ёжик в тумане)
posted by papayaninja at 2:57 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Chico y Rita is a marvelous, gorgeously animated Spanish movie about a couple who fall in love against the backdrop of Cuba's jazz scene in the 1940s and 50s. It was on Netflix for a while, but I think they may have taken it down.

Also, some people have mentioned Don Hertzfeldt - his short Word of Tomorrow is nominated for an Oscar and is available on Netflix (or can be streamed for four dollars on Vimeo); it's one of the best twenty minutes I've spent in recent memory.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:10 PM on February 8, 2016


Azur et Asmar, Michel Ocelot

Princes et Princesses, more Ocelot

Kirikou and the Sorceress, Ocelot, too.

Le Roi et l'Oiseau

O Menino e o Mundo, this year's Brasilian Oscar-nominee

Mind Games, by Masaaki Yuasa

Anything by Yuriy Norshteyn
posted by progosk at 3:10 PM on February 8, 2016


Thirding the Hertzfeld recommendations. It's Such a Beautiful Day is decidedly un-Hollywood. I found it on Netflix by accident and was totally transfixed/bewildered/affected by the experience.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:12 PM on February 8, 2016


Ernest and Celestine had a very interesting style, I thought. Some of the same folks who did Secret of Kells and Triplets of Belelville.
posted by postel's law at 3:12 PM on February 8, 2016


Also: The Snowman, and, for stop-motion: Nightmare Before Christmas, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the recent Boxtrolls and Anomalisa.
posted by progosk at 3:18 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


One more Hertzfeldt recommendation: World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt's Oscar-nominated short feature from last year, is available on Netflix and Vimeo. Eighteen minutes, 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:22 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thirding the Brothers Quay. Here's an excerpt from Street of Cocodiles.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:29 PM on February 8, 2016




Fantastic Planet +1

The Cow, Aleksandr Petrov, a stunning paint-on-glass tragic masterpiece.

I can't vouch for this particular video link - working, yo.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2016


Seconding "A Scanner Darkly," which reflects reality, for the most part, at least until the drugs kick in, but there is an unreal thing that would be very expensive to render in live action: the scrambler suit, a suit which is designed to anonymize the appearance of undercover cops so they can appear in their police role without betraying their appearance.

Seconding Waltz with Bashir, and I further suggest as well the creator Ari Folman's recent movie "The Congress," which features live-action characters who enter a zone where visual reality is rendered into animation.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The new version of the Prophet. It has animations by a bunch of different folks.
posted by dame at 5:14 PM on February 8, 2016


Along with the other LAIKA recommendations, check out ParaNorman.

This series of Russian animated shorts has the particularly disturbing and poignant Firing Range which you can find on YouTube.

The Mind's Eye film series.
posted by mkb at 5:21 PM on February 8, 2016


Fehérlófia
A lot of the films that won or got nominated at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
posted by Small Dollar at 6:32 PM on February 8, 2016


Adam Elliot — start with Brother.

Bozzetto's Allegro Non Troppo still has something. Excerpt: Bolero.
posted by scruss at 6:47 PM on February 8, 2016


Dragon Hunters
The Tale of Despereaux
World of Tomorrow (short on Netflix)
Coraline
9
+1 Secret of Kells
+1 Paranorman
(A couple are bigger "Hollywood" productions but are beautiful none-the-less.)
posted by Crystalinne at 7:39 PM on February 8, 2016


The Rabbi's Cat
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 8:19 PM on February 8, 2016


The Thief and the Cobbler is available in various suboptimal forms. The cut I watched in college was in truly nasty shape but the genius shone through anyway. Such a tragedy this movie was never really finished to anyone's satisfaction.
posted by town of cats at 10:25 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]




Memories is a collection of 3 short films put together by Otomo (the Akira guy). Magnetic Rose (one of the three) is incredible but the other 2 and also great.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:33 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Princess Arete, a very beautiful feminist fairy tale
posted by happyroach at 1:40 AM on February 9, 2016


This version of Peter and the Wolf, for sure.
posted by jbickers at 2:27 AM on February 9, 2016


Mary and Max, starring Toni Collette and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and written and directed by Adam Elliot (who won an Oscar for his short, Harvie Crumpet) is just wonderful (but dark).
posted by h00py at 7:08 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Somebody did a Mefi post which was something like '50 great animated films that are not Myazaki', but I can't seem to find it at the moment. Lots of communist era stuff IIRC
posted by asok at 7:27 AM on February 9, 2016


Fourthing Triplets of Belleville. I've seen this French animated film twice in film art shows over the years and want to see it again.
posted by IpsoFacto at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2016


Seconding A Town Called Panic (Panique au village). It's a delightfully surreal 75-minute French stop-motion, and the plot is worth quoting in full from Wikipedia:

"Three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse share a house in a rural town. Cowboy and Indian plan to surprise Horse with a homemade barbecue for his birthday. However, they accidentally order 50 million bricks instead of the 50 they actually require. This sets off a chain of events as the trio travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra and discover a parallel underwater universe of pointy-headed (and dishonest) creatures."

Also seconding Ernest and Celestine, an adorable story of an unlikely friendship between an irrepressible young mouse and a gruff bear.

And nthing Song of the Sea (so gorgeous!) and quite literally anything Miyazaki. My personal favorite is Kiki's Delivery Service, about a young witch leaving home and making her way in the world. This is one of the rare instances where I like the dubbed version, mostly because her black cat, Jiji, is voiced by Phil Hartman (listen for him in this clip at 0:47, saying "Your broom is nice, but let's take your mother's").

Actually, come to think of it, lots of English dubs of Miyazaki movies attract excellent voice talent; for instance, in Howl's Moving Castle, Christian Bale voices Wizard Howl, Billy Crystal voices Calcifer the fire demon, and Lauren Bacall voices the Witch of the Waste. [Though as a huge Diana Wynne Jones fan, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the book is much better, especially in terms of presenting Sophie as a fully realized character with her own agency.]
posted by Devika at 1:54 PM on February 9, 2016


I came in to vote for Mary and Max, also for The Triplets Of Belleville, and (it really surprised me how much I loved this one) The Box Trolls.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:12 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The 2000 remake of Fantasia was recently recommended in another thread on MetaFilter and I wholeheartedly second the recommendation.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:22 PM on February 10, 2016


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