It’s surprising that I’ve never written about Hisko Hulsing’s film Seventeen considering how much I enjoyed it when I saw it at Annecy in 2004. I hadn’t seen it since then, and it’s never been posted on-line, but somebody recently uploaded a copy onto YouTube allowing me to rediscover this hand-drawn gem. I’m delighted to report that the film holds up after all these years, and it’s even better than I’d remembered.
Seventeen is a powerful and complete package, and achieves a cinematic quality as few animated films do, which can be attributed to Hisko’s expert storytelling through camera, cutting, color, sound and music. The visual imagery, which draws on magical realism, is fantastically creepy as the title character–a drunken and horny seventeen-year-old construction worker–staggers around a small European village that shifts between hellish nightmare and carnal fantasy. The animation is inventive and fun, and suits the style of the film perfectly.
Hisko hasn’t made a short since Seventeen which is understandable when you realize that he not only directed and wrote Seventeen, but also painted the backgrounds, composed the music, and animated most of the film. He’s currently working on his next film Junkyard. There’s a short clip posted on Vimeo that gives a taste of how he’s pushing his work to an entirely new level. His website is HiskoHulsing.com.