Although it isn’t nearly as dark as his follow-up, 2011’s The Pig Farmer (NSFW), Nick Cross’ Yellow Cake is still pretty bleak. In his words, it’s “a lamentable tragedy mixed full of pleasant mirth,” but the mirth is mostly in the contrast between Cross’ golden age animation style and his willingness to follow through on a premise to its bitterest conclusion.
Set in Baker Town (presumably somewhere between Pastry Town and the Smurf Village), the film follows a share-and-share-alike community of tiny blue bakers whose idyllic lifestyle is interrupted by a greedy cat. From that kids-cartoon premise, Cross spins a tale of capitalist exploitation, authoritarianism and militarism, without promising anything like a happy ending. The art and animation may be a spot-on tribute to 1930s cartoons, but the cynical worldview is purely a product of the 21st century.