Monday, October 24, 2011


Drinking Out Of Cups
Liam Lynch, USA, 2006, Approx. 2 mins.

Drinking Out of Cups is an animated short film about a misanthropic lizard who rants about people he is observing. As he talks, the backdrop fades in and out of random locations and oddly literal images from his rant pop up (the lizard calls somebody "Mr. Walkway" and then a walkway with legs strolls by). Short pieces of text occasionally appear to highlight things the lizard is saying.

This is technically a music video-- the audio was taken from musician Dan Deacon's 2003 album Meetle Mice and 3D animation was added over it three years after the fact with no input from Deacon. I mention this to give some kind of context-- I know that the first time few times I watched it I wanted any kind of background. You want something to grab onto that you can use to start to understand whatever this is.

It sounds like a field recording taken outside a bar at 5 am but it clearly is not that because nobody is unintentionally this incoherent. Drinking Out Of Cups can fairly be classified as an experimental short film because it was clearly crafted but it does not make any sense. There was a script written and the animation is of a high enough quality that somebody had to spend a significant amount of time working on the lip-sync and nonsense animations. But it doesn't really let the viewer into its world. It's like a postcard into a bizarro world. There is logic at work but the short doesn't feel like letting you in on that logic.

And I like it for that. It was initially difficult for me to find an experimental short to write about because, no matter how odd, most films have a beginning, middle and end. The difference between this and the art school projects I found online is that it's funny. The viewer is able to follow the nonsense because it's idiosyncratically hilarious. If "follow" isn't the right word, maybe "be pulled along" is a better phrase. It's an experiment that isn't trying to show off to the viewer or academically confound anybody.

1 comment:

haley schattner said...

I think it is the ultimate example of experimental because that is what it is doing, experimenting. The whole video is just to show off what the artist(s) can do.