Betty

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Betty is a rather delightful animated documentary that transports us into the living room of a charming old Welsh woman called, yes, Betty. In a similar style to Aardman’s Creature Comforts, Betty talks to the camera, sharing with us little anecdotes about herself and her life. Everything from stealing peas as a youngster, to going out in her adolescence, her dietary habits and her opinions on Tom Jones. The film achieves a fantastic balance of humour, animated fantasy and realism. As the everyday thoughts of Betty are (literally) brought to life within her model living room; figures dance between the teacups, buses drive around the room and even the Star Trek Enterprise materialises into view.

I feel there is a great lesson here for the live action short filmmaking community, whose films are so often running into tens of minutes. The animated Betty is three minutes long and, despite being a single fixed shot, glues you to the screen. The effect; we are left wanting more, not less. By the film’s conclusion, we wish somehow that we can stay with Betty, for that second cup of tea.

Wainwright successfully transposes the real into the model world. The set is fantastic, animated in a comfortingly simplistic style, leaving an impression of an intriguing character and a refreshingly truthful account of the elderly, who are so often misrepresented, ignored or ridiculed by the domineering youth culture of film and television. I laughed out loud throughout, but it has to be said never at Betty, always with her.

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