Bary Purves' puppet animated dramatisation of the Achilles and Patroclus love story (1995)
The stress of the Trojan War puts the already complex relationship between Achilles and Patroclus under further strain.

Achilles of all the films I had done, drifted off in all manner of unnecessary directions before finally coming into focus. My first idea was the story of Orpheus and Eurydice... but a detailed treatment came in at about twenty-five minutes, and Channel 4 were giving me eleven... I started to find something racier that could push a few animation boundaries. The confused sexuality of Achilles seemed perfect, but this was a complicated story and one lacking in any obvious animation opportunities. You can't mention Achilles without mentioning Paris, Helen, Hector, Agamemnon and other characters... To do this in eleven minutes seemed worrying... I wondered how to focus on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus without the others getting in the way. This intense physical relationship developed into the focus of the film, rather than any more Harryhausenesque aspects of the Greek myths. Intimacy had not really been treated seriously with puppets...
The Achilles puppets had cracks added into their skins and green weathering, reinforcing the idea that these are statues, not humans, although people still ask whether they are actors in make-up. One shot in particular, with Achilles on his back drinking, confuses people. I put this down not to great acting but to a credible pose. This film would have worked differently with actors, the nudity becoming an awkward distraction (nudity immediately separates the actor from the acting), but it might make an interesting dance piece - I wanted as much choreographed movement as possible.

Brazil, Melhor Animacao, Best Film, 1998
Carolina Film Festival, Prize for Technical Excellence, 1998
Animexpo, Korea, Special Jury Prize, 1997
Barcelona Film Festival, Audience Prize, 1996
Florida Film Festival, Animation Prize, 1996
Hiroshima, Special Jury Prize, 1996
Dresden, Second Prize, 1996
Turin Gay and Lesbian Festival, Audience Prize, 1996
BAFTA, Short Animation Nomination, 1996
Leipzig, Golden Dove Award, 1995
Anima Tereul, Best traditional Film, 1995
Bilbao, Silver Medal for Animation, 1995

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