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(sodasandpopcorn) Annecy Festival Review: The Upbeat Mood of ‘Snotty Boy’

Snotty Boy gets off to an upbeat and feelgood start. We had barely been introduced to characters, cast, and even the title of this animated feature length film, when we encountered the signature Austrian waltz tune. And it’s from that beginning that this movie begins to display its qualities.

Marcus Rosenmuller and Santiago Lopez Javier direct Snotty Boy, which screened on Day Four of the 2021 Annecy Festival. This animated pic voices Markus Freistatter, Gerti Drassl, Mario Conedo, and Maurice Ernst. Roland Duringer, Erwin Steinhauer, and Adele Neuhauser also appear in this animated film.

Again, Snotty Boy – set in a small Austrian town in the 1960’s – begins by displaying arguably its best feature; the cinematography. Mixed with the seamlessly impressive transition, this trait makes for a visually-appealing work of art. A work of art that is very much undeniable, and one whose early allure is incredibly seductive.

The attention to detail in this film is more than impressive. No visual stone left unturned, no animated i’s that weren’t dotted and t’s that were failed to be crossed. From bruises, to scars, to impact effects that correspond with skin tone. From a dusty farm, to a scanty classroom. From a somewhat soulless bar, to a boy with snot. Everything is on the table.

Yet, the literary aspect of this film also kills. Snotty Boy is about a little kid, known all over town as Snotty Boy, whose dream of drawing and painting clashes with the expectations of his parents for him to be an inn-keeper, and the ambitions of a narrow-minded town that still possesses strong residues of the far-right.

It is the way Snotty Boy tells its story and runs via the lens of our main character that makes this movie something of a literary masterpiece. Its sense of perspective is brilliant. When Snotty Boy is lost in thought, we see and feel little else. When Snotty Boy is an incredibly upbeat mood, the world feels like paradise. At times when he’s feeling dour, or in danger, the music relates that. We only know what he knows. We only see what he sees, and we definitely feel how he feels. Again, it’s worth going back to praise the cinematography of this film for bringing this literary quality to life.

Perhaps you could criticise Snotty Boy for how its focus on one character underwhelms the rest. Other characters in this film have screen-time, but they do little. There’s nothing of note from anyone else. Very little beyond what’s on the surface; perhaps it’s most reflected via Grasberger (who says little beyond constantly muttering ‘fuck me’ in surprise), and Snotty Boy’s father (who simply says little).

However, such is the sense of focus on the main character in this film – and the accuracy and brilliance of it – that it’s easy to overlook the other characters being underwhelming. After all, they’re being told via the lens of one person, a little kid at that. Hence, it gets some slack.

But the upbeat mode and the sense of optimism of this film is what really tops things off. From the joy of a little ‘outcast’ kid in making trouble, to the delight of our main character when he makes art, it’s there. The optimism might have well glossed over some of its conclusion – it feels too fantastical, and too easy, not to mention you don’t rid yourself of the far-right with one comical solo act – but such is the prevalence of that feature.

Snotty Boy is quite a mood changer. That’s not to say this movie doesn’t have reflective, or even downright sad, moments. But there’s something about the upbeat nature of this movie that keeps you on board.

From Sodas and Popcorn, Snotty Boy gets a Popcorn and Hotdog.

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