Lleu's 18th birthday and he and his friend Rhiannon and younger brother
put aside their teenage troubles to
take a celebratory boat trip along the coast.
That's when they discover the magical
portal beneath the waves which leads them
back to a legendary time, the time of
Mabinogen are medieval Welsh legends about brotherhood, adolecsence,
conflicts, resolutions, acts of brutal violence
and magic. The original tales break
down into four specifc "branches",
or "strands" and the inter-woven narrative makes
it ferociously difficult to translate them
into one linear story. But that's what
we have here with this intriguing film
from Derek Hayes and Naomi Jones
of Cartwn Cymru. A modern, live-action
tale is threaded through the animated
legends with Lleu, Rhiannon and Dan's
troubles and conflicts reflected in the
realm of the Mabinogi.
"Otherworld" was a labour
of love. The project was on the producers' slate for
a very long time, but always considered
too complex and demanding to push
to the front of the queue. Cartwn Cymru's
groundbreaking collaborations with
Christmas Films in Moscow persuaded
all that the time was right to attempt
the adaptation. Derek Hayes' animation
design is striking, with rich and at
times electric hues off-set against
the steel skies, moody landscapes and
shadows - very 'celtic', then...
Cartwn Cymru have come a long way from
their Toucan Tecs days.
"Shakespeare: The Animated Tales",
"Canterbury Tales", Miracle
now "Otherworld", they have put
together a run of dynamic, intelligent productions
aimed at more mature audiences and each
successive project has pushed
at the creative envelope. They have risen
to the challenge of adapting "difficult"
subject matter into animated form, and
what's more, they're not simply
animating material for animation's sake.
Rather, they're always looking to
bring something deeper to their films,
using the medium to reveal new facets
in the material.
"Otherworld" was produced
in both English and Welsh, in keeping with Cartwn
Cymru's S4C remit. The film toured around
the country on a limited run
between November 2002 and February 2003.
Cymru, Christmas Films and MPC for S4C
Lamb, Penelope Middleboe
McGann (King Matholwch)