Bizarre Animal Collective film 'ODDSAC' premieres at Sundance
Sad vampires rowing canoes, fire-juggling and the consuming flames of marshmallows
“ODDSAC” is not a traditional film, let alone a concert film or music video or a strictly experimental exercise. A film like this that takes four to five years to complete is no exercise.
Animal Collective and frequent collaborator Danny Perez created a very colorful movie that entirely lacks a plot, but is a series of musical and visual motifs to make a whole, an album with pictures.
It kick-starts with what seems to be headlights on tall grass, and that’s as explicable and transparent as “ODDSAC” gets.
It clocks in 53 minutes and boasts all-new compositions from the Brooklyn-based noise-crafters unlike anything we’ve heard from them before. These generally are not complete songs, but moods and, at times, predictably, purposefully grating rhythms and riffs. They're carefully timed to each tweak of the visuals, so its not without its own structure.
A wall spews tar as a woman fruitlessly tries to suppress it. A man with a glittery face and gauze wrapped on his head plays an autoharp where no autoharp has business playing. A family of four consumes roasted marshmallows, which then grotesquely consumes them; then, they in turn are consumed by a sad vampire, whom earlier in the film captained a lone canoe.
“ODDSAC” is bass-heavy and droning, filled with bad guys with unknowable complaints and pleasing color palates when the melodies kick in. Much like Animal Collective shows, there are very long kaleidoscopic interstitials of deep dye and repetitive sound, serving as undulating provocations and exhilations between the more songy-songs.
A man with long, white hair sets up a three-piece drum kit in the middle of a rocky, dried river bed and plays consistently, with interspersed rapid-fire cinematic hiccups in the key of heavy metal. Indie-hip girls pretend to bake on a tiny stage built in the middle of the woods as Glitter Face unsupportively chides them until they all erupt in a food fight.
Three-fourths of AC, excluding Panda Bear were in town at Sundance to present “ODDSAC,” and director Perez didn’t go out of his way to explain the imagery before or after it was over. “It’s for fiction of things,” he said. Right.
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