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It's Such a Beautiful Day is a moving masterpiece that deserves more love and attention from animation fans. Initially released as three animated short films, Don Hertzfeldt pieced them together in one single experimental feature film, blending 2D animation with photographs and surreal imagery in a unique editing style. The film follows Bill, a troubled man trying to come to terms with his shattered psyche. As his ordinary life begins to fall apart, he voyages through past and future in search of meaning and love.
Hertzfeldt is one of the most brilliant minds out there when it comes to animation. Famous for his challenging and existential stories, he uses humor and absurdities to deliver an intimate meditation on the subconscious. Although It's Such a Beautiful Day is complex and non-linear, the nonchalant narrative and the engaging voice-over makes it easy for broad audiences to relate to Bill and his journey, leading up to an emotional ending that will stick with viewers for a long time.
Instead of a vibrant outburst of colors and styles, It's Such a Beautiful Day opts for a simple hand-drawn technique and a grayish atmosphere to effectively capture Bill's dreadful state of mind. Additionally, it perfectly fits with the many split-screen windows scattered across the movie as the narrator describes Bill's chaotic stream of consciousness. Since the characters are drawn as stick figures, one can only tell them apart through their accessories and gadgets, precisely translating memory into film: it's common to remember someone because of a specific object such as a hat or a watch. In It's Such a Beautiful Day, these small fragments of memory is what gives life to the characters.
A few years after It's Such a Beautiful Day's emotional gut punch, Hertzfeldt once again decided to hit his fans where it hurts with World of Tomorrow, a trilogy of films centered around a young girl's journey to a distant future, guided by an older, wiser, and desolate version of herself. With his distinctive stick figures and psychedelic scenarios, Hertzfeldt challenges the limits of time and space in search of how much of the human mind endures, and how the child inside us might be the only genuine part of the soul that carries on unscathed. In sum, Hertzfeldt is definitely one of the most creative voices in animation right now, breaking stereotypes and addressing complex matters of existentialism and nostalgia with an easygoing approach that only gets better with every rewatch.— Arthur Goyaz, Movieweb
Mon October 2, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium