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Phil Mulloy:
Extreme Animation

director: Phil Mulloy

153 minutes (18) 1991-2001
BFI DVD Region 2 retail
Also available to buy on video

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Steven Hampton
Look, forget about Disney artistry, quirky Japanese anime, or photo-realistic CGI. This presentation of 'extreme animation', in simple but highly effective brush and ink, invites you to sample the anarchic worldview of mad cartoonist Mulloy - best known for his 1991 series Cowboys. These six films (of three minutes each) ridicule Western genre clichés with a ferocious contempt that prudish fans may find appalling - but sex and violence, combined with darkly satirical humour, are this animator's trademarks in this collection of two dozen short films.
   The History Of The World (1994) is told in here in two parts, only, so far. There's The Invention Of Writing and The Discovery Of Language, both of which offer a ribald take on their subjects that Python-era Terry Gilliam would no doubt approve of. The Ten Commandments (1994-96) bundles off-kilter tales of varying length to re-examine those hoary old biblical pronouncements from on high. God given advice on coveting, honouring and what to remember is swamped beneath heated black comedy and existential insight. Thou shalt enjoy these wickedly hip, comic episodes!
   Intolerance (2000) is an SF parable - in extraordinarily bad taste - about the planet Zog, and is comparable to Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions anthologies for its pointed lambasting of prejudice. On an alien world, bizarre humanoids live perfectly abnormal lives with heads and genitals anatomically reversed. When the people of Earth find out about such perverse creatures, interstellar war is the only option! Intolerance II: The Invasion (2001) tells what happens next, and is Mulloy's best use of colour to date.
   Among Mulloy's other 1990s works compiled here, you will find 15 minutes of strangeness and eccentricity in The Wind Of Changes, a densely cogitative skit on the futility of quests in The Chain, a spoof of educational slideshows in The Sexlife Of A Chair, plus an outrageous festival of vulgarity in The Sound Of Music. With his raw and rough-textured drawing style, Mulloy's postmodernist fables are a scathing commentary on the shallowness of society and meaningless cultural tastes.
   DVD extras: selective or play-all menus.