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Western Animation / Harvie Krumpet

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Harvie Krumpet is a darkly comedic stop-motion animated short film made in Australia in 2003. It was written and directed by Adam Elliot, who later made the stylistically similar Mary and Max.

Harvie is born Harvek Milos Krumpetzki in Poland in 1922. He's an odd little fellow afflicted with Tourette's syndrome. His illiterate mother attempts to school him, giving him a lifelong appreciation of "fakts". When Those Wacky Nazis roll into Poland, Harvie flees, emigrating to Australia and Anglicizing his name to "Harvie Krumpet." Life continues to buffet him with bad luck—he loses a testicle, he needs a plate in his head, he gets struck by lightning—but Harvie keeps soldiering on. He gets married, raises a daughter, and discovers the joy in living.

Narrated by Geoffrey Rush; and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2003, beating even Disney and Pixar!


  • Age Cut: A Time Skip is done by cutting from Harvie as a boy to Harvie as a teenager, then another cut shows his mother shrink as she becomes a Miniature Senior Citizen.
  • Artistic License – History: The film has Harvie's parents dying in 1942 and the Germans invading shortly thereafter, when the Germans actually invaded in 1939. Either way, their deaths were quick and merciful compared to what the Nazis would have done to them.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Harvie's wife's pet bird poops on his shoes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Harvie is in his twilight years, many close to him are gone, and his mind is deteriorating. However rather than take his life, he decides to enjoy what he has left, and strips nude and waits at the fake bus stop. He's still lucid enough to know a bus will never come, but is enjoying himself all the same.
  • Black Comedy: A staple of Adam Elliot's work. For Example, when Harvie's parents are first seen dead, it's not treated as seriously as you'd think, more like a "Huh, that was weird" moment.
  • Bland-Name Product: The drug Harvie's given at the old folks' home isn't Prozac, it's "Prozlac."
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: The staff doesn't appear to be abusive but it's still a melancholy place. The Alzheimer's patients have a habit of wandering out and waiting at the bus stop to visit long-dead relatives, so the staff builds a fake bus stop on the grounds, which is partially Truth in Television for patients with mental disorders, as it's considered better to let them hold their delusion rather than burst their bubble on a daily basis.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: Harvie watches them on TV, and later hallucinates one consisting of his fellow nursing home patients and the carolers paying them a visit.
  • Carpe Diem: Harvie is having one of his more depressed moments when a statue of the philosopher Horace speaks to him, telling him to "seize the day...carpe diem." Harvie does, starting to do all sorts of madcap things like joining a nudist colony and joining an animal rights guerilla group.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Most of the characters in the short are this, but Harvie's mother Liliana takes the cake.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Harvie is about to kill himself with a morphine overdose in the old folks' home when a talk with a fellow patient makes him realizes he has "a lot of living left to do." So he takes off his clothes like the nudist he is, and goes outside to sit at the fake bus stop. The final "fakt" then pops up on screen:
    "Life is like a cigarette. Smoke it to the butt."
  • Escalating War: Harvie and Hamish engage in the good-humored prank variety of this: Harvie steals Hamish's dentures and proceeds to take them on "adventures," such as into a dog's mouth, while Hamish sticks various metal objects onto Harvie's magnetized head.
  • Everybody Smokes: They did in the 1940s, which is why Harvie's doctor, with an ashtray full of cigarettes, tells him to smoke more to soothe the lungs. Harvie's doctor dies of emphysema and Harvie ends up with testicular cancer.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The text of the Spinning Papers is the same paragraph repeated multiple times with "blah blah blah" in the breaks.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Actually, Harvie's Tourette's Syndrome is portrayed realistically, as a compulsion to touch objects with his index finger and to touch people he meets on the nose.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids at Harvie's school throw rocks at Harvie and his similarly weird friend Bogush and eventually dunk them headfirst into the jakes, causing Harvie's mom to withdraw him.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Harvie becomes a nudist. The sight of already lumpy, weird-looking Harvie in the nude is certainly funny in a Fan Disservice kind of way.
    • It can also be considered darkly humorous that Harvie's parents were naked when he found them dead.
  • Narrator: Rush provides droll, low-key narration of the vagaries of Harvie's life.
  • Noodle Incident: While it's established that Harvie's first house was burned down because his mom Liliana left the stove on, and it's more-than-likely she and Maciek were riding a bike to escape, why they were naked is another question entirely.
  • Random Events Plot: Weird stuff just happens to Harvie—he develops Tourette's, his parents burn their house down and freeze to death, he gets struck by lightning, he loses a testicle, he adopts a thalidomide baby. While Harvie is something of a Pinball Protagonist, the real point is his determination to carry on in the face of obstacles.
  • Scatterbrained Senior:
    • Harvie's mother Liliana becomes this as the former reaches teen-to-adulthood. As she ages, she loses her sanity until she can no longer recognize her son.
    • After Ruby leaves home and Val dies, Harvie himself slowly becomes this until he's ultimately placed in a nursing home after someone found him trying to withdraw money from the microwave. The other residents of the nursing home are this as well: Harvie's roommate Hamish has a large burn on his ear from trying to answer the iron.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Starts with a quote from Twelfth Night—"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon 'em", then says "but others...."
  • Spinning Paper: Harvie's oddball life inspires some Spinning Paper newspaper headlines.
  • Staggered Zoom: A staggered zoom onto Harvie, as the "Carpe Diem" advice from the Horace statue leads to his moment of clarity when he decides to change his life.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Harvie's friend at the nursing home, Hamish Mcgrumble, is this: he's a curmudgeonly, flame-haired (what little is left) Scotsman whose Alzheimer's has just made him more incorrigible. At 94 years old, he has "given up the will to die," and is more than happy to accompany Harvie in his various escapades, particularly where heavy drinking is involved, while also engaging in a prank war with him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: As the narrator notes, Harvie and Hamish "pretend they hate each other", frequently taking turns playing pranks on each other. Hamish gladly joins Harvie in many of his antics however.
  • Weird Moon: The moon seen when Harvie is out in the forest, on the night his parents die, is the typical cartoon moon with the points of the crescent describing 3/4 of a full circle.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Val ends up passing away in 1984 due to a clot in her brain. The problem with this is that her death takes place on "Harvie's 65th Birthday", despite the fact we first see him born in 1922, making Harvie 62 when this happens.