The Absurd Man – à la 8-Bit RPG
Thanks to my very good friend Landon Zakheim – who curated the second annual “Razorblades in Your Reese’s” Halloween short film program at the Downtown Independent last Monday- I was exposed to the tender and hilarious ennui of filmmaker Emily Carmichael. I am very happy this has happened. Her short The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting was an outcast among the more shocking and musically epic shorts in the program (The Legend of Beaver Dam is one of the greatest things ever, as well), but its sensibility was dry and sweet, like some Yellow Tail at a dinner party with friends you don’t quite you know yet. Her contemporary take on this classic myth is fresh and she uses her symbols well.
But it’s her ongoing animated series The Adventures of Ledo and Ix that has me jazzed up. In this currently 8-part work, Carmichael uses the pixelated melodrama of the adventure RPG to cast absurd exigence on the hero/sidekick-vs-indifferent-cosmos experience. In four minute bursts, and with only 256 colors (which close-up, still manage to evoke real pathos), she parses the loopholes of consciousness, the automation of society, fear of the unknown, and the habits we cling to that give us meaning.
In her words:
The interface between the epic and the everyday is one of my most lasting fascinations, so I decided to give my adventurers modern dialogue and recognizable concerns. I wanted to explore how they experienced the predicament–constant travail in quest of a goal that’s never fully explained–and how, in their own different ways, they might long for something else.
I want to play this imaginary video game.
Anyone who spent hours pondering cause-and-effect with Chrono and Frog, stoked a nearly suicidal long distance romance with a princess you never met, or wished Waiting for Godot had a boss level -they will want to watch every single one of these.