Friday, August 30, 2013

Your Face (1987)

WHO: Bill Plympton made this short film.

WHAT: So much animation, even that made by the greatest masters of the artform, relies either on the formulaic elements of story, character, and gag (mastered by Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, etc.) or else these elements' complete erasure (think of the abstractions of Oskar Fischinger or Len Lye). Your Face somehow sits in between these poles perfectly. There is a character, in the form of a man depicted shoulders-up, but he remains an undeveloped everyman whose only real trait is his propensity to be unpredictably manipulated. Gags are decidedly unconventional as well. As for story and structure, it can be summed up as a stream-of-consciousness exploration of the animator's imagination gone wild.

The result is a film that can bring visual pleasure to traditionalists and experimentalists alike. A related but different sort of pleasure is derived from reading Jerry Beck try to describe the action in his 2003 book Outlaw Animation: Cutting-Edge Cartoons from the Spike & Mike Festivals:
The man's head crawls off his neck and runs down his shoulder, his face expands and explodes, it slice apart, it implodes and becomes cubist, and it wraps around itself. Another version of the man enters his right ear and exits his left. His large smile cuts the top part of his head off, his nostrils engulf his face, and multiple heads grow multiple heads.
WHERE/WHEN: 8PM tonight only at Oddball Films. Seating is limited, so it's best to RSVP by e-mailing or calling ahead at (415) 558-8117.

WHY: Your Face screens on a program entitled "Totally Strange 80's - Sex, Drugs and Roller Skates", which features other unusual items made during the last truly robust decade of 16mm distribution.

HOW: All films in tonight's program screen in 16mm.

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