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Stop Motion Animation Retrospective: Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Fantastic Planet

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The TIFF Bell Lightbox’s stop motion animation retrospective continues this extended holiday weekend with several more impressive titles. Of particular note are screenings of the two 1970s European classics, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage).

Both films pose numerous questions about existence in two completely different tones. Life of Brian, as with all of Monty Python’s greatest works, looks at the world satirically. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious in its absurdities – an elite comedy in which the actors deliver jokes with tremendous control. The jokes are structured so well that they feel as if they appear out of nowhere. All of a sudden, each line becomes funnier than the next. The characters fidget oddly, contort their faces, hold their gazes for a split second too long, and speak with bizarre cadences tones or impediments. Then, at the utmost perfect time, the punch line is dropped and a laughing fit ensues. The Python guys are so good at telling jokes that the plot line is almost unnecessary to the film’s enjoyment. Life of Brian becomes a competition of witty jokester one-ups-man-ship from the opening credits all the way to the closing song.

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