directed by Bill Plympton
Bill Plympton Studios
Animation intended for adults tends toward the erotic and drug infested, leaving the squeaky-clean kids’ fare of Madagascar or Toy Story to dominate the industry. But off in an ink-stained atelier works Bill Plympton, he’s drawn a dreamy romance inked in a combination of soft pencil and colored washes to realize his mannerist story of Jake and Ella. She’s permanently shaded by an oversized hat with Isadora Duncan ribbons floating behind; he’s a brutish man with abs from hell, no waist, and a lunchbox job pumping gas in the middle of nowhere. They meet at a fair, and soon they are aimed at a world record for afternoon sex. All is lovey dovey until The Other Woman appears; she, too wants Jake’s Neanderthal member and stoops to subterfuge to get it. It’s like an alcoholic binge for Jake; he’s boffing every woman Mr. Plympton has ever met, seen, or fantasized.
At the Florida Film Fest showing, Plympton spoke passionately for a return to animation aimed at adult audiences. Whether that is material with overt sexuality or unhappy endings or just a lack of marketable plush toy images, I agree. I’ve enjoyed a few of the big budget Pixar films over the past few years, and been insulted by many, and find today’s animation both technically excellent and vacuous. But the material here is accessible, emotionally raw and a topic something that orbits any but the most stable relationships. Amazingly, this was drawn frame by frame by Plympton; he claims 40,000 sketches went into this film. I applaud his efforts, both for pulling together this complex piece of art, and by having the faith that intelligent people would see it appreciated and get their friends to join us. And like all Plympton films, there’s an angry dog. You have to love his angry dogs.
This film is part of the 2014 Florida Film Festival running April 4 to 14 in Orlando Fl. Details, screening locations and times may be found at www.floridafilmfestival.com