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The Paris Review (#110 of 8)

DOC NYC 2012: Persistence of Vision, David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure, & Plimpton!

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DOC NYC 2012: <em>Persistence of Vision</em>, <em>David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure</em>, & <em>Plimpton!</em>
DOC NYC 2012: <em>Persistence of Vision</em>, <em>David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure</em>, & <em>Plimpton!</em>

Kevin Schreck’s documentary Persistence of Vision recounts the tragic story of The Thief and the Cobbler, a feature-length cartoon on which British animator Richard Williams (of Who Framed Roger Rabbit fame) toiled for over 20 years with the help of several gurus in the field and a largely self-funded staff. The highly ambitious project was planned not only as Williams’s crowning achievement, but also as an instructive departure from the mid-century animation dichotomy of “either” Disney hyperrealism “or” modestly budgeted modernist experimentation. The film would have boasted intricate, moving backgrounds (those completed have a nearly Book of Kells-grade meticulousness and luminosity), funny strip-stylized character kinesthetics, and a silent era-like tendency to promote plot with dramatically accented visuals.