Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma (2021, Topaz Jones & Rubberband)
Alphabet of sketches, like The ABCs of Death, but of Black culture in Montclair NJ. Each letter-sketch is a different approach, from wordless avant one-shots to interviews about reframing slavery, food apartheid, code switching, therapy or owning your own work, with home movies and music videos in between letter segments.
The Driver Is Red (2017, Randall Christopher)
Animated thriller about spy stuff in 1960 Argentina, self-drawing sketches upon papery background with unstable color, covered in faux film grain. Our narrator/hero has tracked and identified Adolf Eichmann, then takes the time to explain some details of the holocaust, in case we haven’t heard. Back to 1960, he calls in his mates and they successfully abduct the guy and bring him to trial, back when Isr**l had a sense of proportion.
A Short Story (2022, Bi Gan)
This whimsical fantasy AFX-composited sci-fi short incongruously proves that the director of An Elephant Sitting Still had a shot of helming a marvel movie. I guess a cat dresses as a scarecrow and visits three “weirdo” beings who might have some precious thing he can give a girl for her birthday.
The Rifleman (2021, Sierra Pettengill)
The guy who shot Ramon Casiano later became head of the NRA, mutating the group’s mission from hobbyist sports towards political lobbying. The Drive-By Truckers song is better than this movie (archival footage with strange music), but both are enlightening.
Rubber Coated Steel (2016, Lawrence Abu Hamdan)
An Isr**li bodyguard killed two kids in the W*st B*nk, and a forensic audio analyst (the director himself, if I didn’t misunderstand the credits) explains in court how it was done. Visual is a long take, roving around a shooting range, the mechanical target holders bringing forth pictoral representations of bullet sounds. For a movie about sound, the audio track is pretty useless – words from the trial are subtitled, including lines stricken from the official record, then the end credits are spoken.
Goodbye Jerome! (2022, Farr/Selnet/Sillard)
Jerome goes to heaven to find his true love, she breaks up with him, so he suicides and is rebuilt by ants. Really nice animation.