Tag Archives: david o’reilly

Closeup: The External World

Poster for The External World

Buy tickets for our January 13 screening!

I came across the work of 26-year-old Irish filmmaker David O’Reilly completely by accident a little more than a year ago. I was interested in applying for the Berlinale Talent Campus, a sort of workshop for various types of people working in film. I was interested in the program for film journalists, but at TIFF 2010, picked up a glossy brochure and DVD that featured selections from the entire spectrum of workshops. One of the featured sections is a competition for film composers and in 2010 the contestants were challenged to score a strange little animated film by David O’Reilly called Please Say Something (2009), about a troubled relationship between a cat and a mouse. Its use of computer-rendered, though crude, cartoon characters was unusual, as was the mixture of violence and intimacy. It was as if the director was trying to tell a human story using the most artificial means possible. I found it refreshingly different.

With his latest film The External World O’Reilly has used an episodic structure and characters who wander in and out of each other’s stories to tell an even more emotionally resonant tale. The framing story is of a boy learning to play a haunting piano piece, coached by an abusive teacher who violently strikes him each time he makes a mistake. But the other stories and characters are often absurdly funny, and O’Reilly is fond of using imagery from cartoons and videogames which adds a heightened sense of action (and violence) to the proceedings. This is a constantly surprising piece of work with many laugh out loud moments, but by the end, it’s strangely moving. I can truthfully say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. This short trailer will give you a small idea of the mixture of moods.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udyxsfAPRGk&w=560&h=315]

I’ve been hesitant to write a post on this particular film because it’s available to watch in its entirety on YouTube. But I suspect that seeing this on a large screen with a group of other people will heighten the laughs as well as the more sombre notes, so I encourage you to come to our screening before succumbing to the temptation to watch it on the small screen. But after our screening, I strongly encourage you to go to the film’s website (linked below) where you can download a high-definition version of the film for just €4.

Full Program for our January Screening

I’m happy to share the full program for our January 13 screening with you today. We’ll be showing two NFB animated shorts before the Future Shorts pop up festival slate. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more information about each film individually, but for now, here’s the overview. If you like what you see, why not save $2 and get your advance tickets now?


Dir: Marv Newland
Canada – 2011

CMYK is a dizzying celebration of sound, colour and movement. Director Marv Newland and animator Kunal Sen meticulously assembled multitudes of CMYK symbols, pulled off flaps of common printed materials like cereal boxes. Freed from their workaday origins, these objects become moving artwork. Coloured dots pulsate chaotically, crosshairs roll languidly and primary shapes dance compellingly, while the music by composer Lisa Miller and the Quatuor Bozzini quartet is equally spontaneous. The result: an unrestrained riot of colour and energy.

Duration: 7:13


Dir: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby
Canada – 2011

In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context.

  • Winner of Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation at International Animation Festival, Ottawa
  • Winner of Best Canadian Short at Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax

Duration: 13:30


Dir: Michael Please
United Kingdom – 2010

The Eagleman Stag is a unique 9-minute stop-motion animated film which depicts a man’s haunting obsession with the passage of time and his unorthodox relationship with a beetle. Directed by Michael Please, the production was a highly ambition final year film for Please while studying at the Royal College of Art – it is based on a story he previously wrote entitled “The Life and Time of Peter Eagleman.” Orchestral music was integral to this film and composed in tandem with the animation process.

  • Winner of Best Short Animation at BAFTA
  • Winner of Special Jury Prize at SXSW Film Festival

Duration: 08:55


Dir: Luke Matheny
United States – 2010

Matheny, who wrote, directed and starred in this 19-minute inventive comedy about love-inducing darts won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short in 2011. A recent film student graduate of New York University, Matheny produced God of Love as his thesis film project while enrolled in NYU’s MFA program. At the Oscars, he was hailed for one of the best acceptance speeches of the evening and thanked his mother for her contribution to the movie.

  • Oscar Winner in 2011 for Live Action Short Film

Duration: 18:38


Dir: Ariel Kleiman
Australia – 2010

Filmed on an old decommissioned military submarine with 35mm cameras, Deeper Than Yesterday tells the story of a Russian crew who suffer a rather savage form of cabin fever. Director Ariel Kleiman, a graduate of the VCA at the University of Melbourne, recently said, “the more uncomfortable I feel making a film, the better it will be.” Jurors have compared the film to “The Lower Depths,” Maxim Gorky’s best-known play – very Russian with long periods of isolation and madness.

  • Winner of International Short Filmmaking Award at Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 19:52


Dir: Ruben Östlund
Sweden – 2009

A detailed and humorous account of a failed bank robbery: a single take where roughly 100 people meticulously recreate an actual event that took place in Stockholm in June 2006. Directed by Ruben Östlund, who witnessed these events first hand along with his producer Erik Hemmendorff while on the way to the Swedish Film Insititute. The film questions how robberies really happen, and what they might, or should, look like. “Making Incident by a Bank is a way to correct the false images of robberies we see almost daily in action movies made in Hollywood,” says Östlund.

  • Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale

Duration: 11:54


Dir: Juan Pablo Zaramella
Argentina – 2011

Inspired by the Argentinian instrumental tango piece entitled “Lluvia de Estrellas” (Star Rain), “Luminaris” tells the story of a man living in a world controlled and timed by light. Each day, inhabitants of this fictional world awake and are pulled, as if by some otherworldly force, to their jobs by sunlight. Combining pixilation and stop motion techniques, the surrealist short pairs styles reminiscent of art deco with black cinema. Zaramella explains, “Originally, I approached the project as a puppet animation story, but doing some pixilation tests in the gardens of Fontevraud, just for fun, the seed of the present short was born: the idea of sunlight as a magnetic force.”

  • Winner of Audience Award at Annecy International Animation Festival

Duration: 6:17


Dir: David O’Reilly
Germany/Ireland – 2010

A boy learns to play the piano in this rather dark but occasionally humorous meditation on the anxieties and fears of a modern civilized society. Created as a lo-fi animation, “The External World” is a surreal seventeen-minute collection of vignettes which borrows themes from pop culture, cinema and videogames – classic and contemporary. Some have heralded this short as “a unique reconstruction of the universe” while O’Reilly recently noted in an interview, “I like creating experimental films that have an emotional function.”

  • Winner of Best Animation Award at Tampere Film Festival

Duration: 16:56

We screen at the NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street) on Friday January 13, 2012 at 7pm. Grab your tickets now!