Monday, April 27, 2009

Profound Whatever

Burned all my notebooks--
What good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive

I've been on a bit of a Life During Wartime hiatus, but I'm getting used to "the sound of gunfire off in the distance," so I'm back.

I sat down after a good dinner and a glass of wine and gave the internet a gentle poke. It promptly proffered up this well-executed clip.

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview. This was in the midst of Lennon's "bed-in" phase, during which John and Yoko were staying in hotel beds in an effort to promote peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon’s every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries traditional pen sketches by James Braithwaite with digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit, and timeless message.

Nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Short, I Met the Walrus is a visually compelling accompaniment to John Lennon's words. Like a good accompanist, the film adds to the meaning of the audio, fleshing out and improvising on the dialogue. I particularly enjoy the seamless interweaving of artistic styles and modes of graphic representation in the film.

I do wish, however, that the sound quality of the audio had been improved slightly. Due to the crude recording, I occasionally had difficulty following the dialogue. While I can appreciate the authenticity provided by using the original, I thought it detracted more than it added.*

Unsurprisingly, I Met the Walrus has a well-designed website, which is worth checking out-- if only for the smooth animation.

So thanks for stopping by and apologies for my disappearance.

My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
the burning keeps me alive

*Of course, this may not be an issue in a proper movie theater

Lyrics from Life During Wartime by the Talking Heads. Film blurb from