Feb 14, 2021
Excuse me, I'm Spanish and I don't usually write in English. If you want you can read my review in Spanish.
When I watch this film, I wonder: What adjective is the most appropriate to define this short film? So, the one that comes to mind is undoubtedly “brilliant”. Here we find a parodic tribute to the western, one where Tezuka limits himself to narrating a story known to all: a cowboy saving a damsel in distress. You may wonder what is so extraordinary about something that sounds as unexciting as throwing a tissue in the trash can. However, my praise is justified by how it
carries out the imitation.
The idea of Tezuka is basically to imitate those classic tapes where the problems to reproduce them on the cassette were counted by the hundreds. And boy did he make it. The presentation is so perfect that the short film pretends to be a spoiled movie. By clicking "play" we already noticed how the image and sound quality are very poor. The background music is a lively melody, but very repetitive. The drawing style is reminiscent of American animation from the first half of the 20th century. In case it no longer appears sufficiently old, the film's titles indicate that it is from 1885.
This presentation can be misleading, so much so that there have been few unsuspecting people who, ignoring the date of the first animation in history, have thought for a minute if they had made the wrong short film to play. However, in the middle of the footage there is a wink of about half a second where an angry lady appears hitting a television to improve the quality of the image. Although this is the most important clue to realize that there was a planning here, there are plenty of signs that allow us to capture the author's intention regarding this short.
What are these clues? Well, nothing more and nothing less, than a series of audiovisual problems. Tape playback encounters obstacles such as dust, scratches, skewed planes, poor sound, or temporary loss of picture, among many others. Each of these inconveniences is a hindrance for the cowboy, who did not have them at first. However, as if he were the wise Bugs Bunny, he applies his ingenuity to break through. Is there an out of square plane? Well, I move it with the gun to place it well. Can't see well because of the dust? I clean the image. Can't I stop the train in time? I take advantage of the damsel's “Help” sandwich to throw it at her and stop her going. In other cases, bad fortune works against him and he only has to get angry without the possibility of doing much. Clear examples would be when he becomes entangled in a tangle of cables that looked like dust on the screen or when a sudden red line prevents him from kissing the rescued.
The visual humor of the film and the way it takes advantage of all these resources is simply brilliant. As if he were a magician capable of inventing a new trick in a few seconds, also playing with our expectations. Proof of this would be when the image is miraculously restored and the color returns, although as expected the joy of the spectator and the cowboy does not last long. This lively wit is likely to cause huge laughter to those who see it, especially with the funny solutions that the protagonist adopts. As I mentioned before, he takes advantage of them to his advantage, especially with the villain by stealing his gun when there is a stop in the image or the way he goes from frame to frame to catch him off guard. Anyway, I can say little else that explains the genius of this short film.
You can read my review here: https://elarmarioanimados.blogspot.com/2020/06/cortometrajes-de-osamu-tezuka-anos-80.html
What did you think of this review?