Don Hertzfeldt / USA / 2012 / 62 mins
Praise has been building over the success of stop-motion animator Don Hertzfeldt since the 2012 debut of his new triptych tale. The ironically titled Everything Will Be OK, I Am So Proud of You and It’s Such a Beautiful Day combine to plunge the depths of Bill: a cartoon stickman with 3D problems. In a seemingly random stream-of-consciousness, Hertzfeldt gives space to talk about all the crazily mundane and devastatingly pointless routines and rituals we experience as social beings, from the simplest of encounters with an old girlfriend to the prospect of wandering the world alone and ill-fated.
There is tremendous nihilistic comedy to be found in Hertzfeldt’s film – reminiscent of the Cyanide & Happiness comic strip. Bill endures the crushing impermanence of existence armed only with his vacant stare and bowler hat. He walks around the block and witnesses an old shoe filled with leaves; he ‘recalls’ absurd meetings with deranged school-friends and family members, all the while overcoming a terminal illness. This doesn’t provide perspective to Bill’s life: only further questions and confusion. Hertzfeldt has created an oblique, but very sympathetic, everyman – one whose chaotic neuron-firing is told through the tiniest of pin-drop eyes. It is beautifully shot, hilariously narrated by Hertzfeldt himself and – if not for an awkward hallucinatory ten minutes – marvellously conveyed.