A Town Called Panic / Panique au village
d. Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar / 2009 / Belgium-Luxembourg-France / 85 mins
Downstairs @ Prince Charles Cinema (London, UK)
Ahhh…the surreal silliness that is A Town Called Panic!
I love the television series – hell, I even love Aubier and Patar’s Cravendale milk ads. And I’d been waiting to see the film since it premiered at Cannes in 2009, but I couldn’t help but think that there was a distinct possibility that what worked for short-format television wouldn’t necessarily translate to a feature film, even one as fleeting as Horse, Indian and Cowboy’s first, brief foray onto the big screen. After all, I couldn’t shake the notion that such relentless surreality is vastly better experienced in short, tempered bursts, particularly when it is delivered via intentionally jerky stop-motion animation.
But I shouldn’t have worried, A Town Called Panic is relentlessly zany, sure, but that 75 minutes just flew by! I would attempt to explain the plot, but to do so…well, to do so, I would need to make an 75 minute long stop-motion animation film about a cowboy and an indian who want to build their equine friend a BBQ, but accidently order too many bricks, and then have their house stolen by upsidedown, undersea creatures with pointy heads, but somehow end up on a frozen tundra fighting a giant, mechanical penguin, and that’s all before (and after) a bunch of other stuff happens.
Somebody clearly never read the teachings of the prophet McKee! Still, as this trailer aptly demonstrates, it’s far better than all of the films lauded by the chosen one…