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It’s Such a Beautiful Day is an experimental animated film that is a combination of black humor and drama and is entirely signed by Don Herzfelt. He has previously been appreciated as the author of short animations, this is his first feature film and he did practically all segments himself – directing, screenwriting, animation, narration, editing. The film is divided into three parts that represent his earlier trilogy Everything Will Be OK consisting of works Everything Will Be Ok (2006),I Am So Proud of You (2008) i It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2011).
The story follows Bill, a sickly and moody man who struggles with memory loss, absurd visions and other symptoms of an unknown neurological disease that we speculate to be a brain tumor. We learn that he was raised by a single mother, that his older family members suffered from dementia and that, since several of them were hit by a train, they were prone to suicide. The author places us deep in his psyche, his thoughts and his experiences, so we experience the world from the perspective of a man with a fragile psyche.
The central theme of this film is not difficult to guess – the author suggests that a simple life is beautiful and that death allows us to appreciate that life. Like most of us, Bill is afraid of death, but because of his health problems, that fear is so great that he practically barely lives. However, as time passes, his thoughts become more positive, he finds happiness and beauty in small things and realizes that life is beautiful, especially compared to a patient from his hospital room who feels only pain.
The film is made in a simple, hand-made animation that presents our Bill and other people as Uncle Gliša. The author also uses a combination of different visual effects, lighting, photos and layered sounds. In keeping with Bill’s mood or state of health, the film is at one point a beautiful display of color and emotion, while at the next it is a cacophony of somewhat disturbing sounds and filtered drawings. Whatever we look at leaves the impression as if it really should be there and nothing seems superfluous.
There is practically no dialogue in the film, while the narration is very high quality, sarcastic and introspective, as if the narrator is not sure whether to mock Bill’s attitude towards life or to sincerely sympathize with him. The narration is the so-called deadpan, without any emotions, but it also affects the film because the narrator in some scenes switches to the first person and represents Bill – for example, when Bill faints, the narration stops. As for the music sections, they are reserved for famous, recognizable works of classical music.
This is a type of film, not just animated, that is difficult to classify or compare with anyone else. The topics he covers are life, death, family, illness and many others, and we see how Bill views his life, his origins and his future. It is difficult to describe what is going on in this film, especially because everything is imbued with some strange humor, at times dark, but never repulsive. More precisely, everything in this film can be considered strange, but it is far from a real adjective with which it can be comprehensively described.
Of course, not everyone will like this film, many will be confused, especially those who expect it to be something like Pixar’s film and those who do not like philosophical works. The very end shows us that endless life has nothing to do with the happiness that lies in small things like eating sweets with friends or getting notes from your mother. The most important thing is that, although you may not like it, you will surely confirm that you watched something really different, and when the check-out rush starts, remember once again that the whole movie was done by one man.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a true example of animated art, inventive and technically sophisticated – an authentic depiction of mental illness and a touching philosophical meditation on identity, family and the meaning of life.
my final grade: 10/10
Source: The Filmske Recenzije by filmskerecenzije.com.
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