Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

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"The Animation Show 3"

The Animation Show 3: a good capper to the week! Tonight I drove up to the Hollywood Theatre (its tall neon sign beautifully lit up and visible for blocks), ticket waiting in my wallet for my eager use. While pondering the snack options, I ran into two fellow University of Oregon grads, who recognized me from the seminar on film that I assisted back in early 1996!

Then it was time for the show, introduced by a Hollywood Theatre staffer; we also heard from people from the Platform International Animation Festival to be held in Portland in June. We're a good town for animators, and the festival will reflect that. One of the Platform people reminded us the festival will include life-drawing studies with nude models, something else Portland's good for...

I had a cunning plan which failed to come to fruition due to travel suckage: Animation Show co-creator Mike Judge couldn't make it to Portland for his scheduled appearance tonight, so there was no chance for me to get a particular thing signed (he said, cryptically).

The show set the tone with its opening clips, first from Judge (yes) and Don Hertzfeldt (oh, yes) and, then, from Beavis and Butt-Head (yes! Kick ass), and then jumped into the disturbingly funny "Rabbit." "Rabbit" is basically an animated version of a "first reader" sort of primer where every object is labeled with its correct name, but it's not behavior you'd ever see Dick and Jane engage in except in sick, sick minds: they cut open a rabbit, battle an idol that just happened to be inside that rabbit, hit a horse with a cricket bat, and get smothered to death by cockroaches. Not too much later came the show's acme of so-bad-it's-good bad taste, "Davey and Son of Goliath," a dead-on parody of "Davey and Goliath" that I won't spoil except to say "Oh my God."

Probaby the biggest crowd-pleaser was the quick piece "Game Over," rendering early-'80s arcade games in food and insects: the Space Invaders are bugs, the Centipede is made up of cupcakes (and which, when shot, become muffins), and Pac-Man is a pizza. It even used the original games' sound effects!

For me, the two most affecting shorts were Shane Acker's wordless "Nine" -- small, zipped-together scavengers versus a large mechanical bug in a ruined-junkyard sort of world -- and Don Hertzfeldt's '07 Sundance entry "Everything Will Be OK," about a man who may be dying. It's narrated by someone third-person omniscient, telling us (in a somewhat flat, nasal and occasionally straight-faced-hilarious tone) what the main character thinks. When he starts to feel overwhelmed by the world, noise overwhelms the soundtrack: the narration is swallowed up in background noise and atonal music (I think I heard one of the Gyorgy Ligeti pieces from 2001). There's a line I love when this man becomes more conscious of both his body and his mortality: the narrator says that the man wonders if his consciousness is more than "his brain, surrounded by meat and physics." Surrounded by meat and physics: sounds like something Caitlin R. Kiernan would say, and this (to me) is a good thing.

Good show, with all sorts of animation. There's even a cameo by Godzilla. I won't say where.
Tags: film reviews

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