The District: great animation and fun story

The District made me laugh so much that I could watch this film over and over again.
Directed by Aron Gauder, The District is a terrific musical animation from Hungary about the trials and dreams of youth in the ghetto. Chances are you’d miss it if it weren’t for Atopia, a local film distributor. Released in 2005, this slick animation was only picked up recently. However, this film only gets one screen – at Cinema du Parc.
If you like animation, then definitely go check it out. It’s like Waking Life’s stunning visuals and angles mixed with Southpark’s hi-jinks and moral gems.
The main character, Ritchie, young and innocent, wants to be loved. To achieve this, his street-wise grandpa gives him a bit of advice. He says that you need money, money and pussy – and specifically in that order. Ritchie takes this to heart. Looking for a way to get rich quick, he finds that oil equals money and this will equal Julia – who he loves. He only loves Julia from afar because she’s Ukrainian, he’s a Gypsy and their dad’s are competitors in the neighborhood.
Ritchie’s Plan is to build a time machine, visit the past, bury a bunch of mammoths, let them stew right under the present day neighbourhood for a long while, then tap the ground and count the money with Julia right by his side.
It sounds ridiculous but this plot is so absurdly fun that it helps to drive this film from the innocence of youth to a political statement about conditions in the ghetto in a capitalist system. The film seems to say “more money, less problems” and that along with material goods, money will also bring happiness. Yet, it’s not that simple. It’s prosperity that brings the characters together, not simply money. It’s being able to dream together instead of fighting.
It’s too bad films like this don’t receive more coverage and what is screened is straight from Hollywood’s kitchen. If you can’t see the film at Cinema duParc this week (playing til Thursday), then keep in mind that it will be released on DVD Dec 4.


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