#219) The Red Book (1994)

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#219) The Red Book (1994)

OR “Collage Reading Skills”

Directed by Janie Geiser

Class of 2009

The Plot: Through the use of collages and stop-motion animation, “The Red Book” is an experimental film about a…red book and a…nude woman and a…house? I think?

Why It Matters: The NFR’s official write-up consists of an explanation of who Janie Geiser is, followed by Gesier’s description of the film. An essay by film scholar Dr. Holly Willis tries to clarify some of the film’s qualities, but just left me more confused.

But Does It Really?: The NFR has made it clear that “The Red Book” is on the list as a representation of Janie Geiser, and that’s good enough for me. The film is not my cup of tea, but hey, when I’m in the right mood “RocketMan” is a hilarious movie, so I don’t think Geiser’s losing any sleep over my opinion.

Everybody Gets One: After getting a degree in visual arts at University of Georgia, Jane Geiser got a part-time job at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts. In addition to puppetry, she started making short experimental films. Her puppetry earned her a Guggenheim fellowship in 1992, which lead to focusing more on her films. “The Red Book” is Jane Geiser’s first major film.

Wow, That’s Dated: I can’t put my finger on it, but the film has a ‘90s vibe to it. Like something I’d see on a scrambled cable channel late at night.

Seriously, Oscars?: As best I can figure, “The Red Book” didn’t hit theaters until 1996. Whether or not it was eligible for an Oscar I don’t know. Regardless, the winner for Best Animated Short in 1996 was a film called “Quest”.

Other notes

  • “The Red Book” is primarily in black & white, with splashes of red for emphasis. In other words, the same color scheme as “Schindler’s List”.
  • I was not expecting this film to have full frontal nudity (albeit animated).
  • The male figure featured throughout kinda looks like young Conan O’Brien.
  • What is it with experimental films and falling keys?
  • There are a few moments of Terry Gilliam-esque animation in this. Fortunately no animator suffered a fatal heart attack during production.
  • Hey, that’s a just a live-action clock being filmed! Flag on the play, 15-yard penalty.
  • Backwards singing: very David Lynch-ian.
  • I didn’t realize Guggenheim’s full name is John Simon Guggenheim. For a second I was worried that critic/misogynistic garbage John Simon was involved in this.

Legacy

  • Janie Geiser is still going, making films and puppetry. Her most recent film is 2013’s “Kriminalistik”. (PS: These videos are on her official Vimeo channel, because she’s too cool for YouTube).

2 thoughts on “#219) The Red Book (1994)”

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