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Produced by Adam Ciolfi and Michael Stokes;
directed by Adam Ciolfi
No Gasoline Productions, 1992. VHS cassette,
26 min., $220.00. Distributed by McIntyre Media,
30 Kelfield St., Rexdale, Ont. M9W 5A2.

Subject Headings:
Sea stories-Juvenile films.
Animated films.

Grades 1-7 / Ages 6-12

Reviewed by Frances Daw Bergles

Volume 22 Number 1
1994 January / February

A video fable for children, Attic in the Blue has attracted a great deal of favourable attention. The artistic brainchild of three young Canadians, it has won Best Animated Film (both children's and adult juries), Chicago International Children's Film Festival; Best Animated Film, New Orleans International Film and Video Festival; and the Silver Award, Animation Category, Philadelphia Film Festival.

The story is that of a quest created by children asking for a story of "the Whaler, his lady, and the Impossible." A character of equal, if not more, importance is the Goget.

The Whaler, a kindly old mariner, stops briefly on the Plateau, a place inhabited by brutal Lumps and their slaves, the Gogets, oct pus-like creatures whose voices were removed by the evil Lumps.

While fixing the TV antenna, Goget sights the Whaler fishing in the Cloud Sea. His catch is Cloud, whom he invites to sail with him to the land of the Attic in the Blue. Goget is intrigued by the Whaler, who makes a noise he has never heard before--laughter. When the Whaler casts off, Goget climbs aboard as well.

The trio sails through the skies to the dark Sargasso Sea. There they are menaced by a huge flying monster, the Impossible. After a frightening encounter, the Whaler and Goget subdue the Impossible, who tows them through the dangerous sea.

They eventually come to the end of their quest--the Attic in the Blue--a place where all lost things are kept by an old, tired librarian in the shape of a turtle. Here the mariner finds Molly, his lost love, and his lost youth, and Goget finds a mouth that gives him speech.

Written by Michael Stokes, who also co-produced the video with director/animator Adam Ciolfi, the video took three years to create. The somewhat crude three-dimensional figures are animated at a rate of twenty-four frames per second with a different pose for each frame.

A good story written in imagination-capturing, heraldic prose, well-done narration, lovely musical accompaniment (composed and arranged by John Luke Vitale), and realistic sound effects combine to make a video that has already been proven a winner. When screening be aware of more sensitive children, who could be frightened by the scary Impossible character.

Frances Daw Bergles is a librarian in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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