Bill Plympton’s Idiots & Angels, presented by Terry Gilliam and produced by Plympton and Biljana Labovic, is being screened at IFC Center in New York, opening on October 6th, and Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles, opening October 29th.
This haunting, “cartoon-noir,” animated feature is about a morally bankrupt man who wakes up one morning to find wings sprouting from his back. The wings make him do good deeds and thus follows a tale about the battle for the human soul. Here, Plympton talks about the making of the film and his love of animation:
What makes this different from your other films? Many reasons – it’s my first feature not painted on cels, and not shot with a camera. All of the shadowing and coloring was done on computer. In addition, the story is much more psychological and character-driven than my other films, and also there is no dialogue.
Is there a religious component to this. If so, how? It’s not so much a religious component as a spiritual one. Sure, the character dies and is reborn and given a second chance – but this theme is part of human history, way back to cavemen. Joseph Campbell writes about this theme appearing in many diverse cultures.
How did Terry Gilliam get involved with the production? Terry’s been a friend for about 15 years. Last year, I met with him in Dubai by accident, and he fell in love with the artwork from Idiots and Angels. Then over drinks, he volunteered to help me in any way, and I asked him if he could “present” the film. He’s also doing an introduction to my big Rizzoli book Independently Animated Bill Plympton, and he also did an interview for a documentary being made about me, called “Adventures in Plymptoons” by Alexia Anastasio.
You’ve been making films for almost as long as I’ve known you. So, what is the motivating factor in film over, say, comics? I’ve been in love with animation since I saw Daffy Duck on TV at the age of 5. Animation, more fully than any other art form, represents the images in my imagination. The art moves, talks, with music and sound, full color, on large 30-foot high screens, in front of audiences of 4,000 people – you just can’t beat that for impact.
See the Idiots and Angels trailer and clips here.