‘Short Attention Span Cinema: An Evening With Jeff Scher’


They just don’t make cartoons like they used to—literally. Last month, Disney closed its only remaining hand-drawn-animation studio, nixing its longtime support of cel-painting “ink monkeys” in favor of computer jockeys. A side effect of CGI’s supremacy, though, is that traditional techniques can now be better appreciated in all their labor-intensive glory. Such virtuoso delights may be found in the zippy mini-movie oeuvre of experimental animator Jeff Scher, who has been warming up audiences at the IFC Center with pre-show shorts. For this one-man collection, Scher brings out some of his best: image-packed films that push the limits of the eye’s intake abilities. The six-minute Milk of Amnesia, for example, was created from over 3,000 colorful paintings, each made in turn by projecting still frames—from a home movie, a Kool-Aid commercial, or a bit from Hitchcock’s The Birds—onto paper templates, resulting in a once-removed found-footage collage that doubles as an ingenious motion study. His magnificent Rorschach blotch blitz Bang Bang performs different optical tricks, creating phantom colors from black-and-white flutter, while the live-action Sid fish-eyes a buggy Boston terrier as it flies around, chomping a plastic pork chop. It’s not all kid-friendly, though; flipping the letters in Cunning Stunts reveals the film’s porn-sourced content, rendered into a brushstroked colorfuck.