If you have an aversion for all things sweet, Paolo Russo’s paint-on-glass film The Pangolin and the Hedgehog may not be for you. Let your guard down a little, though, and the film will burrow its way into even the hardest hearts. Painted in autumn colours and animated with an eye for small gestures, this student film from the Bristol School of Animation may have been overshadowed by another animated hedgehog when it made the festival rounds, but it’s still as cozy as a fall day.
One of the aesthetic hallmarks of paint-on-glass animation is its visible erasure and re-drawing–unlike cell animation, where the characters and background are on different layers, many painted animations are done on a single pane of glass, with characters visibly disrupting the scenery. Sometimes that can be distracting, but here it works beautifully, as the film’s titular critters rummage through grass and leaves, leaving them ruffled in their wake. It gives an appropriately intimate feeling of connection between the characters and their world.
Connection is at the heart of the film. Its plot is fairly standard for a children’s film, a quick and cute tale of a search for belonging. But it’s packed with warmth and humour, and enough silliness to win over even the sourest audience.
The Pangolin and The Hedgehog
dir: Paul Russo
syn: Completely hand painted on glass it’s a children story on family ties and belonging. A young pangolin (AKA scaly ant-eater), is brought up in a family of hedgehogs. Feeling like an outsider, his hedgehog mother confesses to him that she found him when he was a baby. He leaves in search of answers. He begins a journey to find himself, but he will end up seeing his real family…