5. Mary And Max
Mary And Max is an Australian clay-mation about the friendship between a troubled 8-year-old girl and her mentally and socially handicapped 44-year-old American pen-pal. It's a strange but surprisingly emotional film that deals with some dark themes in an usually sweet way. The voice cast includes the wonderful Toni Collette and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.
4. The Illusionist
The script of The Illusionist, despite being made in 2010, was first conceived back in 1956. Legendary French star Jacques Tati wrote the film, which went unproduced, as a love letter and apology to his estranged eldest daughter. The script landed in the hands of animator Sylvain Chomet and he translated it into a predominantly silent hand-drawn animation about a struggling illusionist and a little girl who believes his powers are real.
3. Waltz With Bashir
Ari Folman, an Israeli artist who served in the army during his teenage years, realised as an adult that many of his memories of the war had disappeared. Thus, he embarked on a journey to speak with friends and fellow veterans in an attempt to jog his memory and discover why so much of it had been repressed. Folman animates the stories he is told and his own memories of the war as they come flooding back to him. It makes for a unique (and very disturbing as the truth emerges about why his memories were repressed) blend of animation, documentary and mystery.
2. The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
It's possible that you already know a few films by the Japanese animation Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away, Grave Of The Fireflies and My Neighbour Totoro are some of the most beloved and popular animated films of all time and are all ranked on IMDb's top 250 movies as voted by users. However, their most recent movie, The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, seemed to fly under most people's radars despite, arguably, being one of their best. Based on a Japanese folklore about a princess found in a bamboo tree, and animated in a watercolour style reminiscent of an old Japanese scroll, it's a beautiful little fantasy for all ages. It's out on DVD and blu ray, as both a standard edition and a limited edition complete with postcards, from July 13th in the UK.
1. It's Such A Beautiful Day
Don Hertzfeldt is something of a cult figure among the animation community and those who are interested in the genre. He often makes his movies all by himself acting is writer, director, producer, animator, sound editor and, sometimes, even performs the voices. Unlike a studio movie with hundreds of credits, Hertzfeldt is responsible for the whole creative process on his films. It allows his twisted sense of humour, flair for experimentation and quirky hand-drawn style to shine through. It has earned him respect among his community with an Oscar nomination for his short film Rejected and a gig working on an opening 'couch gag' for The Simpsons (which was one of the most disturbing and unusual things ever seen on television). His masterpiece is It's Such A Beautiful Day, a trilogy of stories about a stick figure struggling with illness, anxiety, memory loss and depression that is as harrowing as it is surprisingly comedic.