Sort by
Listing Movies
Display Movies
Billy’s Balloon (1998)
Filmmaker(s): Don Hertzfeldt

A balloon wraps itself around a young child's hand, bringing him higher and higher, much to the child's delight, but a sinister truth begins to unravel.

Billy’s Balloon (1998)


This is a replacement comment. The original bothered a diligent reader, so I have made some expansion.

Animation is like any film type: artists ally to certain philosophies, perhaps without realising it. In the case of animation, it bumps up against that great American invention, noir. That’s the notion that there is a world in the movie that is manipulated by forces unseen. Hapless characters are the manipulated and the fact that we are on the scene influences that manipulation somehow.

With animation, its all about how objects act, how the environment conspires or not. Not all animators deal with objects the same way.

In my original comment, I made two assertions. One was that the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer was sort of an icon for and a teacher of one school of philosophy so far as this cinematic religion. It has nothing at all to do with darkness, or political statements, or humour — that is all applied superficially. Its about how the strings behind the world are connected; what objects MEAN and how we sit on some of those strings. I say that Hertzfeldt is in this tradition and that he changes it not a whit.

Does that make him less of an artist? That’s up to you. He masters the philosophy without changing it, but his mastery is more engaging. Its the difference between the guy who writes the movie and the actor, between the composer and the fiddler. You decide.

The second point I made was that I supposed Hertzfeldt saw a rough version of “pad” that was being circulated in film schools at the time. The stories there and here are similar. I am NOT saying he plagiarised, but to me the influence is clear.

Having restated these two points, I can say that

1) this is fun.

2) this is not important in my mind. He’s done stuff that is, and I would like you to see it instead. It is not personal, nor unique, nor valuable watching like some of Hertzfeldts stuff can be. Pass on this unless you don’t want to explore better stuff.

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


, ,
No Comments

Sort by
Listing Movies
Display Movies
preloader image