In the world of short films, animation is a popular genre. Populated by promising and flawed student films, it’s easy to miss the polished diamonds in among the rough edges. Award winning director Gergely Wootsch’s The Hungry Corpse is a soft, simple, charmingly crafted tale of an unexpected friendship.

The story of an artful, lonely and hungry corpse (voiced by Bill Nighy) encountering an overly optimistic, and injured, pigeon (voiced by Stephen Mangan) offers little surprises in its narrative. Not every film has to shock and awe, and there’s certainly room for this gentle, warming tale. The characters are fully realised within the limited time thanks to the grand job done by the two leads. Nighy brings a rough, lonely, vocal akin to his work in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, with one scene of desperation from his corpse, in the absence of food, standing out. To counterbalance this, Mangan delivers a peppy, hopeful tone ensures the animated pigeon is not as much as a pest as a real one.

The strengths of the short are not restricted to the star talent involved. The gorgeous design and artistry throughout are a welcome feast to the eyes. The black and white design evokes the thought that the smog of London has magically shaped itself to tell this story. The shots of bright white and occasional gold are nice touches too. There’s some excellent musical work here too by composter Tim Goalen. The score is punchy, impactful and keeps the viewer engaged. Some lines towards the short’s conclusion feel a little twee and on the nose, but we won’t hold it against the filmmakers.

In today’s hustle and bustle of the smoky capital, a tale of two unlikely friends coming together in a gentle eight minutes short is no unwelcome thing.

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CAST: Bill Nighy, Stephen Mangan

DIRECTOR: Gergely Wootsch

WRITER: James Pout

COMPOSER: Tim Goalen

SYNOPSIS: In London’s bustling Trafalgar Square, a hungry corpse meets a pigeon with a broken wing.