Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

10:54:19 pm , 322 words, 1527 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Movie

A Room Nearby

Ever been driving around in the rain with the world melting into mud around you in a series of mudslides that block your road, and you run across a film that captures just the way you're feeling at that particular moment? Paul and Sandra Fierlinger's film A Room Nearby kind of simulated that experience for me tonight. It was my main haul from the Best of Ottawa selection. I'd seen a number of the other films already anyway. But it would still have been even if I hadn't. Just what I like to see: someone creating a new form using animation. Documentary had been well complemented with animation in In the Realms of the Unreal, and here the crossbreeding is even more impressive and successful, seamless. We have a series of narrators monologuing about their experiences with loneliness, which Fierlinger riffs on brilliantly with witty and apt animation that does what a good opera score does, namely interpret the words and not pantomime them. You get the sense of a master at work. The drawings are simple and bold and sketchy, and he lifts the third wall occasionally to show you the ragged mechanism at work. One of the vignette spinners is none other than Milos Forman, and his deadpan tale of a dog on and in ice was eye-burning. I lost two cats recently, and I can still feel the void. It's a story that hurts in a healing way. Actually, it wasn't recent, it was more than three years ago, but time flows by at a speed disproportionate to certain memories that seem frozen in time. Where are the films that tackle stuff that means the remotest something like this? Something we've all felt at one time or another, or will, and it never gets talked about. I'm immensely indebted to the Fierlingers for making this great film that touched me profoundly, which doesn't happen often to me in animation.

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