Monday, June 13, 2011

Paths of Hate (short)

There were compelling reasons for the Allies to fight WWII. However, two fighter pilots are well beyond such moral and political questions, if they are even engaged in that war, as the makes and models of their planes suggest. A gritty tale of aerial combat that takes a detour into macabre symbolism, Damian Nenow’s animated short film Paths of Hate (trailer here) screens this Friday in Los Angeles.

Two pilots engage in the mother of all dogfights. Before the war, they lived and loved like anybody else, as the pictures taped to their cockpits attest. Yet, both men get caught up in the moment, reaching a state of beserker fury far exceeding the demands of mere survival.

In a way, Paths darkly expresses the Youssarian’s sentiments in Catch-22. Of course, war is personal. Whenever people try to kill each other, the situation is as personal as it gets. Indeed, there will be no separate peace reached in Paths.

Nenow and the Polish animation team Platige Image have crafted a distinctive looking film, somewhat stylistically akin to the animated sequences of The Wall and segments of Heavy Metal, comparisons further reinforced by Jarosław Wójcik’s shredding soundtrack. Yet, despite its gruesome commentary on the nature of warfare, Paths’ dogfight sequences are so well executed, they largely upstage the film’s message (but this is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for viewers who want to see something cool).

Polish animation has been building a world class reputation on the festival circuit, in considerable part due to previous films from Nenow and Platige. Available for further fest screenings (through New Europe Film Sales) Paths now has a rare (for short films) straight-up theatrical booking this Friday (6/17) at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood. A striking film, Paths is definitely worth seeing on a big screen.