The Ugly Duckling (1939, Jack Cutting)
Katy said the baby swan wasn’t ugly enough, but I think it’s that (1) he’s different from the ducks and therefore ugly to them, and (2) when he sees his reflection in the funhouse ripples of the water he appears ugly. IMDB says it was the final Silly Symphony cartoon, but it wasn’t very musical… no songs about what it’s like to be a duckling.
Katy: “They’ve turned The Ugly Duckling into a marital dispute.”
Me: “Hey there were six baby swans in that shot! There are only s’posed to be five.”
Atlanta (1996, Miranda July)
Miranda July’s performance as both the 12-year-old swimmer and her overbearing mother is wonderful. However, this is “video art”, which means it’s like a short film but it’s full of video static and looks like shit. The sound was defective on my copy, and since it’s all interviews, the sound is kinda important.
The Summit (1995, The Bros. Quay)
For the first minute I thought “hey wow, the Quays have made something totally different from their usual pretentious goth stop-motion” and I was happy. A few minutes later that thought still stands, but I am not happy. In what language are these guys giving monologues in a featureless room? Oh wait, I get it, “summit”. Funny. Some sites list this as a short satirical art piece, another calls it a 70-minute failed pilot. I saw the short version. The Quays come out and shake their hands at the end. Jonathan Stone, one of the two guys, was in Institute Benjamenta.
Jumping (1984, Osamu Tezuka)
Half a funny concept piece about someone who is an awfully good jumper and the places he ends up (incl. stereotype-africa and hell itself), and half a showoff reel of first-person perspective animation. Excels at both… wonderful.
Sisyphus (1975, Marcell Jankovics)
Another showoff reel, this time of bodily poses and stress as Sis. rolls the rock uphill, but this one not as delightfully enjoyable as Jumping, and all full of horrible gasping groaning noises.
5/4 (1974, Hieronim Neumann)
A split-screen stunt used to more wonderful effect than Timecode (or About Time 2), sometimes seeming to fragment a single image, and sometimes looking like different takes of the same action. Playful. Music is light and quiet and not in 5-4 and there are spacey 70’s-sci-fi sound effects whenever something cool happens, which is most of the time.