Monday, February 22, 2010

Short Film: Asparagus (USA, 1979)

Should the short no longer be embedded below, it is still easily available online but on a website in a language we don't understand: it can be watched online at this Russian website here.
In January 2010, the Short Film of the Month was by a graduate of Cal Arts; this month, the film chosen is an old classic by an instructor at Cal Arts, Suzan Pitt. I first caught this film many, many, many moons ago, back when I was still a young virgin who shaved once or twice a week at most. I saw it when it was shown as the opening film at a midnight screening at some theater in Georgetown, a neighborhood of Washington DC where rich white folks and college students live. I was much too stoned or drunk at the time (I confess, I smoked my first wacky weed in 3rd grade) to really comprehend what the film was about — if that is really possible — and the fact that the theater was simply playing some loud music as part of the pre-feature-film happening (instead of the film's track) didn't make it any easier to follow short, but the images kept my eyes on the screen. It was art, man! On top of that, it was pretty fucking weird to a stoned 16-year-old — as it probably is to many a person no matter what their age and stoned or not. Like, how many women crap without cleaning butt afterwards? But then, how many women crap asparagus?
Those are but a few of the less intellectual questions that a person might find themselves asking when viewing Asparagus, Suzan Pitt's award-winning Surrealist classic from 1979. A beautifully executed animation combining cell animation with claymation, the film features a bright-colored world of phallic plants and startling images that are as shocking as they are (occasionally) inspiringly funny.
Asparagus is also available on a DVD anthology of three shorts by Suzan Pitt entitled EL DOCTOR, JOY STREET, AND ASPARAGUS: The Wonderfully Strange & Surreal Animation of Suzan Pitt.


Anonymous said...

It is strange how badly the internet has damaged critical thinking. Perhaps it is its nature, preventing considered reflection prior to posting babble before the author forgets what tiny thought just flashed through its brain.

This is a somewhat uncomfortable film, I believe intentionally, compelling the viewer to resist and retreat from organic engagement while at the same time remaining visually focussed. The deliberately paced motion, although possibly an unintended result of the obviously painstaking production technique, gives a sense of trance.

I enjoy it, knowing it will be over soon.

Abraham said...

Critical thinking itself was damaged long before the Internet, or how do you explain religion or the Boy Scouts? The only thing the Internet ever really changed was the ease and carelessness with which people make snide remarks, however unneeded, without having to put their name to them. To be clear: "critical thinking" was neither an aspect nor intention of the introduction above, something you perhaps failed to notice in your desire for art-speak. Likewise, "critical thinking" is more than just big words and mildly complicated grammar decorating ingenuous concepts. That aside, it makes us happy to know that our regular Short Film of the Month feature perhaps did what it is intended to do: introduce films that we deem interesting or noteworthy to others that have not yet seen them.