Sunday, August 1, 2021

Fantasia 2021: Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story (2020)

Movie Name/Year: Fantasia 2021: Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story (2020)
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Romance
Length: 73 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Language: Filipino and English
Production/Distribution: Rocketsheep Studio, Spring Films, Netflix
Director: Avid Liongoren
Writer: Manny Angeles, Avid Liongoren, Paulle Olivenza
Actors: Reba Buhr, Todd Haberkorn, Tara Sands, Mick Wingert, Angelica Panganiban, Robin Padilla, Sam Milby, Empoy Marquez, Arci Muñoz, Eugene Domingo, Yeng Constantino, Moira Dela Torre, Joyce Bernal, Claudia Enriquez, Julienne Mendoza
Blurb from IMDb: In this adult animation, perfume sales cat Nimfa is torn between her macho askal boyfriend and a charming, philandering business dog.

Selina’s Point of View:
Trust the Dice is doing something a little different this month. Along with our regularly scheduled reviews (which will be posted by Cat), I will be covering the Fantasia 2021 festival. The review of Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story will be the first of many articles tied to the festival.
It was a hell of a strong start.
It’s hard to believe that this animated flick was funded almost completely by the creative team working on it. Every visual is absolutely gorgeous and the animation style is unique. I definitely think we need a whole lot more of this. I want to see a series, or more movies, in this style. It feels pure. Like you can almost see the artists hunched over their workspaces sketching and shading as the days go by.
Not just the obvious aspects are worth noting, though. In some scenes there are these nuanced movements by the characters that you can only really get in insanely-funded animation. The quick flick of a tail, the shudder of ears… any time something like that happened, it elevated the whole story.
The way the animals represented the characters also made a great deal of sense. The catty protagonist, the short-tempered bulldog, the snooty husky, the lecherous pig men, etc. Every animal fit. It reminded me of one of my favorite graphic novels, Maus (1980-1991) – by Art Spiegelman. Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story was much more light-hearted, of course, but the way they utilized creatures felt similar. It didn’t feel like a simple anthropomorphizing, but a full-on metaphor.

The story was cute. It had a basic love triangle at the heart. One that pitted the familiar choice of a simple life in love vs. a luxurious one. In most films that go this route, things tend to get predictable. The trope basically sees the main character realize that love is the only thing that matters and that money shouldn’t be what drives their decision making.
I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that the ending does not take the road most traveled. It’s surprising, but doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s easy to see the subtle fore-shadowing on a second watch-through.
There was some cringe-based humor that is not quite up my alley, but I will admit that it still came off as charming. Most of the time, anyway. I don’t want to focus too much on that, though, because it’s a personal preference.
The creators of Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story made something special. It has better writing and directing than most of the big-budget films I’ve seen this year.

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
P.S. There are silent epilogue scenes that play out during the credits.
Movie Trailer:

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