» Footprints (2014)
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A man follows footsteps in search of a mysterious visitor to his house.
...and a real good. for cultural references, from Oriental fairy stories or Paulo Cohelo Alchemist to old master Freud. for its simplicity. and for a character reminding contemporary paranoia. so, a kind of mirror. seductive for the dose of absurd, charming for the surprising end, lovely for the similarities with the drawings of children. so, a kind of English joke. or only a circular story, so simple than it has the chance to become irresistible.
Footprints has a few things I love in short films, even if those films aren't necessarily my cup of tea or the best out there: 1- A clearly distinguishable style. I love Plympton's style, that mix of children illustration and hallucinated surreal oneiric world in pastel and subdued colours. 2- A clear idea or concept. Of course there is story in this short film. Are you kidding me?! It is just that is not a story that goes from A to Z, is a story that goes from A to A. It is not a linear story, it is a circular story. It is not a story of the conscious, it is a story of the subconscious. 3- The presence of some intriguing elements that make me ponder, watch the movie again and ponder again, or just say aha!
Footprints is a very short and simple film, as short as a joke can be. However, it is able to explore some elements of the unconscious in a simple understandable way.
This is a short animated film from Bill Plympton. There will be spoilers ahead:
Full disclosure-I'd happily watch a Bill Plympton cartoon consisting of two characters reading lines from a tax instruction book, because the animation would be worth seeing. Thus, the fact that I enjoyed this cartoon even though I'm not sure I understand what happens here (and I'm not really certain I'm supposed to "understand" anything) probably is of little help to anyone else. I'll try to discuss this so that it makes some sense.
A sleeping man is awakened by something breaking his window. The rest of the short consists of him, weapon in hand, imagining what the creature he's following the footprints of looks like. As he sees greater and greater devastation in its wake, his imagination runs rampant. More than once, he fires at nothing tangible.
He crosses water and scurries between buildings, often with several images of him crossing. At last, he comes face to face with his quarry, with predictable reactions to what he finds. The ending of the short is rather murky, I suspect intentionally murky, with several possible endings suggesting themselves. Only Bill Plympton likely knows just what his intent is here.
This was on the ten film shortlist for the Animated Short given by AMPAS, though it wasn't one of the five finalists. It's an extra short included in the program of 2015 Oscar Nominated Short Films Animation showcase, which is available for download and it's worth watching.
Rose Of Winds
The latest entry in animator Bill Plympton's checkered line of surrealist short films is Footprints, which concerns an old man searching for a mysterious monster amongst his village. For four minutes, a humble sense of dread builds up as the old man tries to track down a mysterious figure that has been disturbing the peace of his neighborhood for a while now. Plympton's visual style is pleasantly surreal, but the sense of mystery and dread here is remarkably little, and given there's no dialog nor any real immersive atmosphere, Footprints falls far short of its goal to captivate. The style here is attractive enough, but just remarking on that alone as a positive makes this short an empty candy wrapper as a whole.
Directed by: Bill Plympton.
"Footprints" is an odd little film by Bill Plympton. I am a huge fan of this wonderful artist and have seen most of his shorts. This is why I found it odd that Footprints was chosen for the program, as it's among the poorest of his films I have seen--mostly because the animation seems more rushed and lacks the care that you'd seen in his best works--such as hit "Guard Dog"/"Guide Dog"/"Hot Dog" series or in my personal favorite, "One of Those Days"*. The story also is a bit lacking. Now I am not saying it's a bad movie but Plympton simply has done so much better.
*Several of these films HAVE been nominated and/or included in this special showing in the past. But I could probably name at least 10-15 of his shorts that are vastly superior to "Footprints". Please try to see these other films--the guy is a genius with the pencil!
'FOOTPRINTS': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Another crazy cartoon from Portland animator Bill Plympton (featured in theaters as a 'Highly Commended' animated short; played with the '2015 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films'). It tells the story of a man trying to track down a monster, and kill it. It's just 4 minutes long, contains no dialogue and was directed by Plympton. It's another really dark and bizarrely odd animated movie, from the creative mind of Bill Plympton. I didn't get it, and I couldn't really tell you what it was about; without reading the synopsis. It is somewhat amusing though, for 4 minutes, but kind of forgettable.
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