In college I regularly got to view many short films that were labeled 'experimental.' On the surface they didn't make much sense, but the better ones haunted me to consider things that came to me untold. Emilie Hubley, whose animation is meditative in ways so different from the computer cartoon revolution that has taken over megaplexes and weekly box office lists, has created a feature length experimental film that playfully merges a small real life story with glimpses from an animated world that one must consider as the mover of it all.
There are connections between the world of imagination animation denotes and our common experience. What is wrong with a film that ponders that the ingenuity we use to work through our travails might not be inspired by imaginative sources from elsewhere. At the festival I saw this at (Sarasota) there were several films where an imaginative world intercedes with the real (Phoebe in Wonderland, Jellyfish, Christmas Story). The Toe Tactic simply kicks it up a notch.
So the idea that a group of mischievous dogs and other creatures are moving life along in pleasant and unpleasant ways while playing an organic game of tic-tac-toe with few rules is enchanting. The execution of this may not connect to everyone viewing films critically from their normal aesthetic constructs. If they don't drop their guard, they might miss the point entirely. Some in my viewing definitely did.
But for someone entirely over modern animated features, this film was so refreshing and bursting with imagination. Eddie Murphy popping donkey punch lines galore isn't imaginative, and imagination is the major ingredient missing from this recursive, hopelessly derivative industry that creates repetitive computer generated films designed to sell one ticket for the price of two.
Thank goodness there are places like the academic ends of Sundance that provide sustenance to vehicles like this. Though traditional audiences may have no patience with the effort and the film likely has little chance of box office success, is there not a place for viewing efforts like this in a different light from traditional narrative forms?
Why see this film even though it may not be your cup of tea? Go simply to experience the influence of its almost sweet innocence, likely a principle component in the personality of the film's creator. Then ponder a while on where this feeling takes you. Get it?
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