Posted by lemonjelly on:
Allow me a moment of self-indulgence. "Amazonia" has the initial appearance of a cute adventure cartoon, but what caught my attention was its highly detailed depiction of Amazonian rainforest flora. I can't help it, I was a botanist in my former life.
Upon picking up the promotion postcard showing an evil-eyed alligator popping up from underneath a lilypad I exclaimed, "nice Victoria amazonica!" which the film's creater Sam Chen responded, surprised, that this was the first time someone noticed this detail. I know I'm pleased that someone would put in the effort to make the background plants phenotypically accurate. And I think he was pleased, too.
"Amazonia" is a 5 minute animated short story of two tree frog friends on a culinary journey through the rainforest, but find that the hunters can also become the hunted. Did someone say food and plants? Why, those are two of my favorite topics.
I picked up on the regal Victoria amazonica giant waterlily quickly, due to its notably ornate leaf vein structure that's so immensely sturdy it can bear the weight of a human baby, or perhaps a couple hungry tree frogs. But also prominent in the video are the more common waterlilies in the Nymphaea genus, and oodles of bromeliads and banana leaves, all set to the classic ditty of Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F, Op.93 - 2. Allegretto scherzando as the film's soundtrack. The film has moments that may invoke a young audience to cry out, "watch out, it's behind you!" all christmas panto style, but it's definitely appropriate for all ages.
I first ran into Chen and his co-producer Crystal Hsiao at the SBIFF's Platinum Lounge but didn't have an opportunity to chat with them until the Sunday morning Awards Breakfast, where I picked up more details on the film and whipped up my first draft of a review for City2.
I ran into them yet again later that night, randomly, at the local izakaya uptown. As this is a favorite restaurant, this bodes very well for their sense of taste! We shared some sake and hoped we'd run into each other again.
"Amazonia" had its world premiere at the SBIFF in the first weekend's Apple Box series. It had its final showing on the last Sunday, 6 February, at 4:00 pm.
You can view the trailer here: Amazonia website.