Further Adventures of Animated Women

Two of the shorter films on this program, Elena Dubrovsky’s Wilar and the Woman Who Gave Birth to the Frog and Andrea Stoops’s Adam, are mildly amusing, and a third, Jodee Samuelson’s The Sandbox, is cloyingly cute in the way only animated films of roundheaded children can be. But three others are fascinating explorations of identity and doubt. In Aileen Leijten’s Sugar & Plastic we see a woman’s hair and clothes repeatedly change in a series of rapid cuts; later she obsessively overeats–not just doughnuts but a whole telephone. This behavior is familiar to anyone who’s seen films on women who are worried about their appearance, but the rapid, almost febrile editing gives this film emotional conviction. The paper cutout woman in Laura Heit’s Parachute is placed in a three-dimensional cutout urban environment of buildings and cars, and she often seems trapped amid several layers or floats disconnectedly through them, as when she walks a tightrope between buildings with moving cars in the background; such images make palpable her attempt to find a place for herself in an alien world. Serafina Klarwein-Milinaire’s The End Was Here is more enigmatic, an end-of-the-world fantasy in which everyone and everything seems out of place. Various kinds of animated and live-action footage create uncertainty for the viewer; the film’s representational system itself seems unstable in images with silhouettes of filmgoers’ heads in the foreground. Also showing is Suzan Pitt’s Joy Street. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Friday, March 21, 10:30, 773-281-4988. –Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.