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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Consuming Spirits

Event Date
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Event Location
Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY
College Events,
(914) 395-2412;
Additional Info
6 p.m.; Donnelley
Film Theatre/Lecture
Hall in the Heimbold
Visual Arts Center

Consuming Spirits, an animated feature by Chris Sullivan, is a defiant exception to the rules and patterns of contemporary cartoon entertainment. At a time when animation is expected to be computer-generated, three-dimensional, and relentlessly upbeat, Mr. Sullivan’s film is flat, handmade, and melancholy, a dark and anguished fantasy for grown-ups. This achingly sad story of family secrets, sexual longings, and small-town malaise is told through drawings, paper cutouts, and miniature models. The blend of narrative quasi-realism and wild, somber visual invention in the film is entirely original. You’ve never seen anything like it. Nothing in Mr. Sullivan’s universe is random, and the film gradually unfolds to reveal a tangle of dark meanings. Part of the pleasure of Consuming Spirits lies in marveling at the intricacies of its design. We travel from the colorful, cluttered daily reality of the characters into realms of memory and fantasy, most of them rendered in spare and beautiful black-and-white line drawings. The past encroaches on the present, and the consequences of half-forgotten transgressions play out in surprising but nonetheless curiously logical ways.

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