Southampton International Film Festival 2013 review: The Gravedigger’s Tale ★★★★★

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Having absolutely cleaned up in its category at the Film Festival Awards, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about The Gravedigger’s Tale. A product of students of the National School of Film and Television, this beautiful animation takes its inspiration from an Oriental fairytale aesthetic, and truly brings magic to the screen.

This film concerns a young woman who lives outside of the town digging the graves of the locals’ deceased. Existing in this liminal space between life and death, the townsfolk fear her, and when she rescues a young man from being buried alive she struggles to hide her identity from him. Whilst I have no desire to give away the ending, it has a wonderfully bittersweet quality that will make you smile and tear up all at once.

This unique work beautifully unifies the arts of both puppetry and stop motion to provide an aesthetic that is all its own. With its haunting soundtrack, and meticulous attention to visual details, it is impossible not to get emotionally drawn in to the story despite its being completely free of dialogue.

This short animation is most definitely out of the ordinary, and I can only congratulate the filmmakers for daring to try to something different. It certainly paid off. If you get the opportunity, definitely check this out!

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