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A Town Called Panic


Image courtesy Zeitgeist Films
A Town Called Panic
Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, 2009
Feb 12, 2010–Feb 25, 2010
“Sheer joie-de-vivre. 75 rollicking minutes. Extremely funny in a random and absurdist way. Comedy anarchy. A goofy, witty joy, an exercise in childlike whimsy that will zap adults as well as children.” —Marshall Fine

“Engagingly loopy!… Energizing for kids and ridiculous for adults.”—Film Comment

Hilarious and frequently surreal, the stop-motion extravaganza A Town Called Panic has endless charms and raucous laughs for children from eight to eighty. Based on an animated Belgian cult-TV series (which was released by Wallace & Gromit’s Aardman Studios), Panic stars three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian, and Horse who share a rambling house in a rural town that never fails to attract the weirdest events. As Nicolas Rapold’s Film Comment review notes, the filmmakers draw on the topical but loopy humor that enlivens both Chuck Jones’s classic Looney Tunes cartoons and the more recent Wallace & Gromit series. Kids and parents alike loved this delight during the Wexner Center’s Zoom: Family Film Festival.

Cowboy and Indian’s plan to build Horse a homemade barbeque backfires when they accidentally buy 50-million bricks. Whoops! This sets off a perilously wacky chain of events as the trio travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra, and discover a parallel underwater universe of pointy-headed (and dishonest!) creatures. Each speedy character is voiced—and animated—as if they are filled with laughing gas. With panic a permanent feature of life in this papier-mâché burg, will Horse and his equine paramour—flame-tressed music teacher Madame Longray (Jeanne Balibar)—ever find a quiet moment alone? The first stop-motion animation feature film to ever screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, A Town Called Panic is like a Gallic Monty Python crossed with Art Clokey on acid: zany, brainy, and altogether insane-y! (75 mins., 35mm) In French with English subtitles. Occasional impolite language in the subtitles, but otherwise entirely appropriate for children.

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A Town Called Panic
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