Japanese teen pop idols promote their work a little differently, as seen in this bouncy video where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu happily vomits ravens and eyeballs. The director is uncredited (at least in English), but Yasutaka Nakata wrote and produced the music.
A doctor gives suspect health information in this absurdist medical satire from 366 fave.
An adult and a teenager take a break from their journey to trespass in a motel pool. Who they are and where they’re going becomes more mysterious when they’re caught by the motel clerk. This short has since been made into a full-length film under the same name.
Content Warning: This short contains adult subject matter.
FEATURING: Don Hertzfeldt (narration)
PLOT: In the first chapter, “Everything Will Be OK,” delusions and hallucinations caused by an unspecified mental disorder impede the progress of stick figure Bill’s everyday life and leave him in and out of the hospital. Bill begins chapter 2, “I Am So Proud of You,” with flashbacks to his childhood, although his memories of his equally insane relatives are so strange that they may also be hallucinations. In chapter 3, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” Bill is again recuperating in the hospital, now with major memory loss, but with an impulse to visit an address he vaguely recalls.
- The character of Bill initially appeared in Don Hertzfeldt’s brief webcomic series “Anesthetics.” The strip foreshadowed the surreal humor of the early parts of the film, but did not suggest that Bill was suffering from mental illness.
- It’s Such a Beautiful Day is the feature-length compilation version of a series of medium-short films, beginning with “Everything Will Be OK” in 2006 and followed by “I Am So Proud of You” in 2008 before the final installment, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” arrived in 2011.
- Hertzfeldt photographed the movie in 35mm so that optical effects could be mixed with the animation.
- “Everything Will Be OK” won the Sundance Grand Prize for Short film on its release.
- Hertzfeldt launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to release It’s a Beautiful Day on Blu-ray along with World of Tomorrow and other selected shorts.
- Voted #16 on Time Out’s 2016 poll of the 100 Best Animated Movies Ever Made and #1 on File Stage’s 2016 list of Best Animated Films of the Twentieth Century So Far.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The is movie is a continuous progression of images… most of them of black and white stick figures, although they are often grotesquely entertaining stick figures with monstrous fish heads growing out of their skulls. The most memorable effects mix Hertzfeldt’s line animation with real life photography. We picked one of Bill standing on a mesa gazing at a sunset, but you might prefer the scene of he and his stick girlfriend lying in the grass looking up at a canopy of leaves, or when he walks down the street and the pedestrians flicker back and forth between flesh and blood people and line figures. These sequences suggest inadequate fantasy wrestling with flawed perception, one of the movie’s major themes.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Fishy brain tumor; snake-necked cosmic stickman; immortal schizophrenic
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Humble stick figure animation mixes with advanced experimental film techniques in this chronicle of the life of a character suffering from an unspecified mental illness. It’s Such a Beautiful Day‘s juxtaposition of the mundane and the cosmic caused some critics to hail it as a less pretentious, less humorless answer to The Tree of Life. Don Hertzfeldt would continue to examine the themes introduced here—the prominence and arbitrariness of memory, the mixture of sadness and wonder that make up life—in his next piece, the Oscar-nominated World of Tomorrow. I believe Tomorrow goes down as Hertzfeldt’s masterpiece so far—at 41 years of age, he still has a long way to go—but It’s Such a Beautiful Day is nearly its equal, and is a better fit for this List due to its feature-length, surrealistic humor, and far-out hallucination scenes that suggest the final moments of 2001 reimagined by a team led by and Charles Schultz.
Trailer for It’s Such a Beautiful Day
COMMENTS: Although It’s Such a Beautiful Day is technically a compendium of three short films developed over a period of five years, it Continue reading 334. IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (2011)
It’s been a while since we’ve featured one of the eyebending hallucinations uploaded by YouTube sensation “.” He calls this one “experiments in ovine geometry.”
Greedy men go to despicable lengths to best each other over a few coins.
On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum)
DIRECTED BY: ,
PLOT: This brief film essay contemplates various medical misfortunes and wonders in the framework of an often unsettling visit to the Mütter Museum. Exploring conditions ranging from Fibrodysplasia Ossificus Progressiva to conjoined twin-hood, Through the Weeping Glass examines anomalous conditions, creepy medical devices, and the sometimes unnatural nature of being human.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: As documentaries go, this is an unnerving one whose subject matter is investigated with hazy-to-sharp focus, super-imposition, and eerie recreations of the backstories. However, the movie maintains a disciplined technique, providing a glimpse at the nastiness of medical phenomena through history that is easy to follow—as unpleasant as that proves to be at times.
COMMENTS: “No child ever imagines the unimaginable: that he will end up as a skeleton.” So begins our visit to Philadelphia’s museum of medical oddities. The sweet, soft-spoken narration provided by Derek Jacobi (“I, Claudius,” “Brother Cadfael”) sets things up with a twist: naturally everyone becomes a skeleton eventually, as death comes to us all. However, the seemingly mundane words quickly get sinister when the case of Harry Eastlack is explored. Harry injured himself as a child, fracturing his leg while playing with his sister. The bone healed, and then kept growing. Ultimately, his skeleton developed a further skeleton around itself, and we are informed, “in the end, [he] could only move [his] lips.”
By the beginning of the past decade, the Quay brothers had long established themselves as the wizards of stop-motion animation. One of their passions, however, has always been “exotic arcana” (so sayeth the pamphlet accompanying their recent anthology), and their piece on the Mütter Museum and its contents marks the first time the brothers ever made a movie stateside. “Weeping Glass” features few of the otherworldly flourishes that mark their main body of work—most notably altering of portraits’ eyes by giving them an ominous, forlorn sheen—but the camera technique and soundscape summon the unsettling vibe that permeates their oeuvre. Focus on objects shimmers from sharp to blurry, tracking shots are choppy and often pursued at unlikely eye levels, and an animation of sorts is provided by the super-imposition of hands when pre-16th century texts and pre-20th century medical devices are displayed.
The oddest achievement the brothers can claim with this documentary is their uncanny knack to ride on the darker side of the line separating creepy and cheesy. The jump cuts between alarming images are often accompanied by the dissonant, clanking score one would expect to find in the lazier varieties of horror movie. Though they are no doubt helped by the fact that what’s on display would be unsettling no matter how presented, the Quays still impress by forcing the viewer to realize, “oh, I know they’re just trying to make me addled. Dear Lord, it’s working.”
By the end of “Through the Weeping Glass,” you will not only learn about the tragic case of Harry Eastlack, but also catch glimpses of a man with a pillow-sized tumor, get a peak at both the Hyrtl skull collection (139 specimens, each with a brief history of the owner written thereon) and Dr. Chevalier Jackson’s collection of swallowed objects (over 2,300 pins, game pieces, and even a “Perfect Attendance” badge), and finish off with a couple exchanging their “…’til death do us part” wedding vows in the presence of the plaster cast bodies of the famed “Siamese” twins, Chang and Eng. “Through the Weeping Glass” is a disquieting piece, but the Quays’ direction and Jacobi’s nuanced voice-over inject it with a subversive sense of humor. This late example of the Pennsylvania boys’ work is very informative, highly watchable, and delightfully grotesque.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“…rare is the non-fiction film that through its style, design and intent properly matches the tropes of the fictional horror flick. And perhaps this creature is so rare that only one exists: Through the Weeping Glass…”–Mike Everleth, Underground Film Journal (contemporaneous)