131 minutes – USA – 2012 – Not Rated
Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits is the product of 15-years of work, and it shows. Formally, the film is like an inventory of animation technique, gliding effortlessly between stop-motion, pencil drawing, collage and cut-out animation. This visual dexterity is equally matched by Sullivan’s fractured, yet textured, narrative, which weaves the tale of three characters in a fading rust-belt town struggling to forge out whatever kind of existence they can muster. Consuming Spirits is an eccentric and haunting masterpiece; a tapestry of grotesquerie that revels in the excesses and strangenesses of isolation and psychological despair. As A.O. Scott writes in the New York Times “[Consuming Spirits] is a work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it.”
Chris Sullivan is an animator, performance artist, filmmaker, and sometimes musician living in Chicago and teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who has been creating experimental film and theater for 30 years. His works have shown in festivals, theaters, and museums world wide, including the Zagreb World Festival of Animation; the Humboldt Film Festival; the Ann Arbor Film Festival; the Ottawa Animation Festival; the Guggenheim Museum; the Boston Museum; the Tribeca Film Festival; Osian’s Cinefest in India; New York’s Film Forum; and the Pacific Film Archives. He has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Creative Capital. He is currently starting work on another experimental feature, The Orbit of Minor Satellites.
Q & A with filmmaker to follow the show.