‘Fables’ might seem an arch title for works marked by their obscenity and pat moral messages. You won’t find any ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ here. Today we’re used to seeing ourselves as the protagonist against an antagonist, but, historically speaking, fables were meant to describe two sides of the same person. We are all of us both the tortoise and the hare. All of us are powerful and impotent. All of us are drawn to light as we are to darkness.
Indeed, the joy of Wong’s animations is the way they combine the light, childlike thrill in surprise for its own sake with the recognition that even our darkest thoughts and dreams are universally shared. Cartoonish and kinetically rigid characters are constructed using bright tonal gradients and simple geometric shapes, while the absurd confessional narration drones on deadpan, as if improvised; the flesh-eating ants crawl into the old man’s penis and he’s taken to hospital…where doctors extract his urine…which his family drink, causing them to develop diabetes and die… and then what? More lovely, execrable surprises.