Time Out says
In Elliot’s case, a good part of the art is in the writing. ‘Uncle’, ‘Cousin’ and ‘Brother’ are simple black-and-white character profiles, mementos of garden-variety eccentrics evoked with childlike observation. The broadly-caricatured models provide deadpan illustration for William McInnes’ laconic narration, in the way of a print cartoon (very ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’); their myriad ticks and afflictions are recorded as all part of life’s rich tapestry. Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, the Oscar-winning ‘Harvie Krumpet’ is Dickensian by comparison – a life encapsulated in 23 minutes (and in colour). A passive and simple-minded Polish emigré, Harvie has a pear-shaped head and an ostensibly pear-shaped life, but scores a small victory for self-expression, smoking cigarettes naked, waiting for a bus that will never arrive.
Russian emigré Sapegin’s puppet and clay animations offer more visual riches and erratic narrative. ‘One Day a Man Bought a House’, a love story across the man/rat divide and ‘The Salt Mill’, churning greed and docility, are engagingly spun fables that fail to persuade; ‘In a Corner of the World’ is a throwaway gag on Shakespearean oration and scoring chicks (or frogs, in this case); ‘Snails’ is cute going on kitsch. Co-produced with the National Film Board of Canada, the doll-animated ‘Aria’ is a class apart: an unspoken erotic fantasia set to and riffing on ‘Madame Butterfly’, it’s ecstatic, grotesque, plangent and out of reach.