Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mary & Max

Usually it's a bad sign if you can't find a decent quality trailer, but Mary and Max is a great film:

It opened Sundance and you can see it today on . . Movies on demand. This work is from the director of Harvey Krumpet (which I haven't seen,) the academy award winning short from 2004.

Overbearing piano theme aside, Adam Elliot's Mary and Max is the perfect blend of an engaging, messed up story and slightly disfigured appealing visuals. It takes a lot for me to feel badly for a character, especially if the director comes out before hand and says 'this is a dark film,' but at the end of the movie I was feeling bad about myself.

Half of the story takes place in the claustrophobic, dirty, monochromatic New York as seen through the aspie eyes of Max. They nailed the sound of police sirens - distant, but constantly echoing off the buildings around you. Made me homesick.

Mary's world is equally terrifying and confined. She is trapped between an eternally 'wobbly' mother who pursues the perfect bottle of cooking sherry and an overwhelmed father who shuts himself up in the garage tending to birds who have been hit by cars.

Adamn Elliot is not afraid to shy away from any of his character's defects. It makes the film uncomfortable to watch, not because these flaws are offensively sordid but because they strike too close to home. This is the thorough soul searching that Tatia Rosenthal's $9.99 failed to achieve.

The director spoke after the ASIFA screening, and I was impressed to learn that (outside of one comped in 2D sequence) the whole thing was really done in camera. As in, he would animate the tv shows and project them frame by frame inside of a television on set. He also said it was a 'true' story: A man much like Max in New York picked up a telephone book of animators and called him up.

It's a shame this didn't get a theatrical run, so you've got to watch it on cable.

Here's Harvey Krumpet, which I will get around to.

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