United Kingdom 2003 
Jo Jo in the Stars
AFR • 8.82

'Jo Jo in the Stars' is a 12 minute story of love, self-sacrifice, and jealousy played out against a black and white world that is both nightmarish and hauntingly beautiful.


- BAFTA 2004 Winner, Best Short Animated Film

- Cartoon D'or 2005 Winner of Cartoon D'Or 2005

- Clermont Ferrand 2004 2004 Best Short Animated film

- Sicaf 2004 2004 Short Film Grand Prize

- Bradford Animation Festival 2004 Grand Prix

- Brief Encounters - Bristol 2004 Best of British

- Aspen Shortsfest 2004 Special Jury Prize

- IFCT 2007 Award for Most Innovative Animation

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 Review Review


Throughout the history people are fascinated by freaks. Scared, disgusted, but still fascinated. And it is no surprise that we see freaks on the big screen. “Frankenstein”, “Freaks”, “The elephant man” so on and so forth… It is such a vivid way of showing the difference between human and non-human. Every time we see a monster on the screen we ask ourselves who is the freak here? Is it an ugly creature with some physical disfigurements or a “normal” person with a filthy soul? Usually the answer is predictably obvious.

But “Jo Jo in the stars” is quite a different case here. Yes, there are freaks, really scary freaks, the ones that you see in your nightmares when you are a little kid. And yes, we have the good and the bad characters. But it turns out that the bad ones, the moral freaks, are the actual freaks. They not only look ugly but also behave in an ugly way. So generally what can be said about the movie is that it is story about a freak show with evil freaks.

What is left missing? A love story. And a beautiful one.

It is not even about the fact that someone fell in love with Jo Jo. It is not a big surprise after all: she has an anomaly but quite an attractive one. Who wouldn’t fall in love with an angel-like creature flying in the stars? And it is not even about the love from the first sight. It is about the true, boundless feeling. It not only survived after ten years, but also managed to ignore all the cruel circumstances. Even though the film does not go by a traditional path of showing misfits as highly moral creatures, it still leaves us with an impression that all the external does not matter that much.

We see quite a depressing world with not much hope for the good to happen. The monochrome picture, the heartbreaking close-ups, sad (but incredibly sentimental) music, the game of shade and light - it all takes us to another dimension. The visual simplicity allows us to feel all the drama with a whole new level of intensity. Life is not a fairy tale here and basically everyone around are defined by their actions, their motives, their inner-worlds as freaks.

Any way it is not a completely sad story, as in this world of horror Jo Jo and her beloved one are left to be together in their own small universe.

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