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BEST YEAR EVER

James Kienitz Wilkins / United States / 2021 / 14 min / International Premiere

With a title that is in stark contrast to the reality of the past year, James N. Kienitz Wilkins has created a work that, thanks to its charm and sincerity, might be just the thing we didn’t know we needed: an adaptation of Richard Scarry’s children’s book classic ‘Best Busy Year Ever’. Wilkins reads aloud in a brilliant performance, which tries to keep up with the book’s myriad of small and large events and a life of work and play in a busy small town – all of it illustrated in the finest water-colour and ink drawings, filmed on analogue 16mm celluloid. But like in all classics, there is more between the lines in both Scarry’s original and Wilkins’s adaptation, where the affirmative mood in Scarry’s fable ends up mirroring the somewhat less harmonic work-life balance that most of us experience. But after a year that will definitely not become a highlight in history, the emotions are still real in Wilkins’s meta-reproduction of Scarry’s homage to happiness, play and social life.