Before Mary and Max, there was Adam Elliot's Uncle, Cousin, Brother and, of course, the Oscar-winning (in 2003, for best short film), Harvey Krumpet. Last weekend, ACMI screened Elliot's previous shorts and the following day, I saw his latest outing at a Rivoli cinema preview. It was a great experience, seeing all in close proximity. There's a common aesthetic: the visuals (minimal use of colour), the narrative (all depend largely on a narrator), the look of the characters and the pathos of the stories.
Elliot has a wonderful way of telling stories and, seeing him interviewed, I'm always taken at how much he looks like one of his plasticine characters. I love this themes of diversity and acceptance, blending in bleak themes that normally might turn audiences away, yet somehow captivate in this medium.
Last year, when Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis came out, I commented that this is the type of film that Australians should be making. With Mary and Max, Elliot has done it. It's very engaging and entertaining film, something we rarely hear a local film described as. It's also something you can take the kids to: it makes mature themes accessible to children. My eight-year old son loved it as much as I. It should do very well at the box office and I recommend it.
Meanwhile, here's Elliot's earlier work, all of which we had the good fortune to see at ACMI on the big screen in one sitting.