Underground Film Journal

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Short Animated Film: Weird Carolers

By Mike Everleth ⋅ February 10, 2010

What does madness look like? For stop-motion animator Brent Green it looks like Beethoven going deaf and biting his piano and smashing his apartment to pieces to feel the vibrations while the poor woman who lives below him slowly goes mad from the chaos. To see the madness, watch the dark, disturbing short film Weird Carolers embedded above.

Weird Carolers was commissioned as a part of Mike Plante’s Lunchfilm series and, if Green followed the Lunchfilm rules, it cost about $43.05 to make. I first saw the film at the AFI Lunchfilm screening in November ’09 and found it to be thoroughly upsetting. Green turns Beethoven into a tragic figure with his decaying visage and wild, coarse hair an outward expression of his inner rage and frustration at losing his hearing.

Puppet face of an old woman

Plus, I like how the film looks like an old silent film, complete with the small pinhole iris that focuses the audience’s attention on a specific object or action. It’s also a very dark film, literally, with the images flickering in and out as if it were shot by candlelight. Then, there’s Green’s own nervous, shaky narration where you really feel the filmmaker’s sadness at Beethoven’s terrible plight. Yet, out of that despair and rage comes one of the most powerful, most recognizable pieces of classical music.

P.S. I have it on good authority that Alex DeLarge absolutely loves this film while Schroeder isn’t too keen on it.

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