ADVENTURES IN PLYMPTOONS – SLIFF Review
For many years one of the pleasures of going to a screening of the different traveling animation festivals ( Spike and Mike, the Animation Tournee ) was seeing a new film from one of the medium’s wildest , most outrageous artists, Bill Plympton. Well this year St. Louis Film Festival attendees get a double treat. The recipient of a SLIFF lifetime achievement award will be here to present a program of works on Friday night and debut a new documentary directed by Alexa Anastasio on his life and films, ADVENTURES IN PLYMPTOONS, the next day ( Oh, and a master class earlier that day ). The documentary serves as a great introduction for Plympton newbies while giving some great insight into the films that we long-time fans have so adored.
The film includes much biographical info on the artist. There are lots of great family photos and home movie footage. Siblings, relatives, and class mates tell great old stories as does the doc’s subject himself. There’s even some new art and animation to illustrate his history. Plympton shows us some of his original paintings ( some made “under the influence” ). As he makes a name for himself in cartoons we meet some of his collaborators ( at last the voice singing ” Your Face” ), celeb pals ( Ed Begley, Jr. and Keith Carradine ), animation legends ( Terry Gilliam and Ralph Bakshi ) and toon historians and critics ( Jerry Beck and a fella named W. F. Murton, who hates everything Plympton’s done ). Finally we’re treated to a tour of his New York studio along with some rough animation footage. Like his best cartoon shorts, ADVENTURES IN PLYMPTOONS is full of great humor and very wacky. It’s an entrancing portrait of a man who’s still passionate about his profession. The hours he spends drawing is never work! He’d rather do that than anything else in the world! And the world of cartoons is all the richer for it!