Pear Cider and Cigarettes (2016)

Director: Robert Valley

Screenplay: Robert Valley

35 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Animated Short Film


I was incredibly proud of the five nominees for this year’s Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars. All five films were so good that I had trouble picking a favorite.

In Pear Cider and Cigarettes, writer/director Robert Valley tells a stylized and truth-based tale of his childhood friend Techno Stypes. Techno was always seen as a self-saboteur, and when Robert discovers his friend is in a Chinese hospital in need of a new liver, Robert attempts to get his ailing friend back to his home in Vancouver.

Pear Cider and Cigarettes is incredibly visual in every moment of the stylistic and crazy tale. Through the stunning animation and gripping frames, it’s a lush and gorgeous film. That isn’t its flaw.

The short’s biggest problem is its story. For me, I never found myself all that interested in Techno’s story. I understand he is based on a real person, so I mean no disrespect to Valley, but the decision to utilize the noir-ish narration over dialogue pulled me out of the film. I lost engagement rather quickly and it was difficult to get back in, so I enjoyed the short from a purely visual sense. Now, I’m not even sure of how Valley could’ve used dialogue instead of the narration, but I know it took me out.

Pear Cider and Cigarettes belongs in the discussion for great shorts, but as to actually being the best, I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. If you want to see the best animation of last year, though, it’s tough to find something better. Worth checking out.



-Kyle A. Goethe

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