Most of Marcie LaCerte’s films are short bursts of inspired silliness. Sometimes they’re absurd, abstract, or downright morbid, but they always feel playful and loose in a way that’s much too rare in animation. (Her tendency to use artists like Jean-Jacques Perrey on the soundtrack means they’re a joy to listen to, too.)

Last year’s Summer of Love feels more serious than her other work, though. There’s still a sense of whimsy, but the film is more deliberately paced, and a bit more thoughtful—it’s maybe the first of her projects to feel like a complete film instead of an exercise or an experiment. Her style is also more distinctive, landing closer to an indie comic than to what you’d usually see on the animation circuit. It isn’t simple for simple’s sake, though. The fixed framing and flattened perspective make the movement feel that much more dream-like, creating a nicely hazy atmosphere despite the crisp drawings.

The straightforward style lets LaCerte focus on the story, a melancholy parable despite the presence of handsome horses and shiny bald strangers. It’s downbeat, but it isn’t a downer. Maybe it’s just the bright colours and whistle-y melodies, but it feels oddly optimistic, content in itself even if love remains elusive.

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