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Bill Plympton’s Dog Days: A Collection of Short Films 2004-2008 cover photo

Bill Plympton’s Dog Days: A Collection of Short Films 2004-2008 2009

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Microcinema International/Microcinema DVD, 1636 Bush St., Suite #2, SF, CA 94109; 415-447-9750
Produced by Bill Plympton
Directed by Bill Plympton
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Animation, Biography, Film Studies, Humor, Popular Culture

Date Entered: 09/18/2009

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

The imagination and creative talent of artist Bill Plympton is the focus of this delightful collection of animated short subject films. Based in New York City, Plympton has spent the past 30 years successfully working as both an independent and commissioned illustrator and animator. Producing not only films but also commercials, music videos, movie trailers and credit sequences, and more, his animation techniques and humor will be familiar to many viewers, although his name may not. .

Divided into three sections (Short Films, Commissioned Films and Extras) the collection centers around 7 animated short films, created within the past five years. It includes the popular and award-winning dog trilogy (Guard Dog, Guide Dog, and Hot Dog), as well The Fan and The Flower, Shuteye Hotel,, Santa: the Fascist Years,, and Spiral. Plympton’s colored pencil and computer composite animation style is as distinctive as his dark wit that often finds humor in violence and mayhem. A welcome feature of the DVD is Plympton’s enjoyable and informative commentary describing his inspiration, his techniques and audience reaction for each of these films. Other samples from his portfolio included here are the opening credits of Madonna’s 1987 film Who’s That Girl? a music video for Weird Al Yankovic, an excerpt from the History Channel’s 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America and a series of Christmas tales for the Cartoon Network.

Viewers also see samples of his other work, examples of his storyboarding and pencil techniques, a trailer for his feature-length film “Idiots and Angels,” and a personal interview with the artist in his workspace. For the animated works and for the access to the ideas, the words and the techniques of a flourishing independent artist, this collection is highly recommended.