27th November (Wednesday)
sc., dir., ph., mus., prod.: Christopher Sullivan, USA, 2012, 136’, anim.
Christopher Sullivan spent over a decade on this film. He wrote the script, directed the film, animated it, designed it and recorded the soundtrack. In effect, he created a film which awed festival audiences and critics around the world. Susan Pitt, a director well-known in Krakow, said that this original, experimental animation is the best animated feature film she had ever seen. Still, Priscilla Frank from “Huffington Post” expressed the most accurate opinion: “There is little use for traditional judgments of good and bad in Sullivan’s animated world, where two hours of ugly characters make up the most beautiful spectacle you’ve ever seen.”
Chris Sullivan comes from an Irish-British family. He currently lives in Chicago where he teaches at the School of The Art Institute. He has been creating experimental film and theatre for 30 years, and he has shown his works at festivals, in theatres and museums all over the world, including Zagreb, Ottawa, Tribeca, Chicago, Milan, Vancouver, New York, Guggenheim Museum and Boston Museum.
He started working on Consuming Spirits in 1999. The project received support by the Guggenheim Foundation and then the Rockefeller Foundation. The film is a psychological drama which invites viewers to a visually stunning journey to the darkest corners of human soul. It chronicles the lives of three characters who live in a rustbelt town called Magguson and work at its local newspaper “The Daily Suggester”: Earl Gray, a 67-year-old once handsome divorcé, local press and radio personality; Gentian Violet, a true mousy person, anonymous for other employees, living with her Alzheimer stricken mother; and Victor Blue who after work plays in an amateur Irish music band, The Schalelies. As the plot unfolds, we learn that these seemingly ordinary characters share a dark past and family secrets. In the meantime a new character will appear – a nun run over by Gentian, found by Earl Gray and taken under his roof.
Sullivan combined 3 techniques in his film: traditional hand-drawn line art on tracing paper presenting the characters’ memories, collaged paper characters for contemporary story, and photograph composites for the world in which the characters move about.
The film premièred at Tribeca Film Festival and was thereafter shown at many other international film events and in several American galleries and museums, e.g. in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Cinefamily in Los Angeles and Gene Siskel Film Centre in Chicago. Currently Chris Sullivan is working on another feature film The Orbit of Minor Satellites.
“Entirely original. . .an inquiry into the darkest zones of the human heart. . .Weaves a complicated, intoxicating spell…a wonder.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“A monstrous visual achievement… one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.” – Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant
“An emotionally raw, thoroughly original film, a labor of painstaking love 15 years in the making….a haunted reverie…constructed of ugliness shot through with moments of unexpected beauty” – Ian Buckwalter, NPR