Film Reviews
Potpourri November 22 to 24: Animation, Archival And Documentary

The November 22 to 24 weekend, four completely different programs highlight the Webster University film series. Two films screen Friday, “[Censored]” and “Tammy and the T-Rex (The Gore Cut).” Each presents a different viewing challenge. In the 66-minute documentary “[Censored].” director Sari Braithbaite has edited a compilation of brief clips the Australian Censors considered offensive.    

All excised from films Australia imported between 1958 and 1971, the footage, unsurprisingly, focuses on sex, violence, racism, and other difficult images, including close-ups of a live childbirth. In periodic voiceover, Braithbaite comments on the images, questioning what we viewers are complicit in watching. I wished for a more critical commentary, but her choices do speak loudly.

The second program Friday is director Stewart Raffill’s 1994 bizarre “Tammy and the T-Rex (The Gore Cut).” “Jurassic Park” this isn’t when teenage Michael’s brain gets implanted into a dinosaur so he can reunite with his girlfriend Tammy (Denise Richards.) It’s so incredibly awful that it’s wonderfully hilarious.

Saturday’s program is a compilation of varied, fabulous footage rescued from world-wide archives, silent and sound, black-and-white and color film. My favorites included: Paramount News on the National Gallery of Art; Kodak engineers at work; an animated, talking fire hydrant on fire safety; Josephine Baker in Holland dancing the Charleston in clogs; a New Orleans jazz parade; and a John Waters 1988 local tv station promotion for his musical “Hairspray.” This is historical cinematic heaven.

Sunday night “Animation Next: 2019” features seven animated films chosen by GLAS, a non-profit devoted to a diverse, independent cinematic artform. Several films flourish vivid, iridescent colors, others rely on sepia tones or black and white. Many use pulsing music and detailed sketches, others are computer-generated. From Poland, France, U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, each offers a unique vision: sad, humorous, at times sobering, as in “The Night of the Plastic Sacks” that watches the world surrender to plastic bags. 

This selection of censored, archival, animated and documentary films screens at Webster University’s Winifred Moore auditorium Friday, November 22 to Sunday, November 24, each program shown only once at  7:00 p.m. For more information, you may call 314-246-7525 or on the web at: