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CRUMB

USA, 1994 (MIFF 1995, Documentaries)

Director: Terry Zwigoff

Offensively pornographic, objectionably misogynist, or "the Breughel of the twenti­eth century"?, David Lynch presents a tour de force of film portraiture, an alternately hilarious and disturbing look at American underground comic artist Robert Crumb and his bizarre family back­ground.

Zap comics mainstay, creator of the saucy Fritz the Cat strip, the surreal "Keep on Trucking" car­toons and hallucinogen-inspired album covers for musicians like Janis Joplin, the notoriously reclusive Crumb was catapaulted to world fame in the 1960s. A confirmed neurotic who makes Woody Allen seem positively well-adjusted, Crumb's drawings play out, through transgressive, misanthropic and ruthlessly truthful fan­tasies, his disgust with American culture. Inevitably the artist's work would return time and again to notions of sex, desire, fear and hostility.

Director Terry Zwigoff, friend and fellow play­er in Crumb's jug revival band, is primarily inter­ested in his hero's context (a positively psychotic all-American nuclear family) and has fashioned a fascinating mess that perfectly mir­rors it. Sessions with his brothers, Charles (who inspired Crumb to draw and has been out of-touch with reality for twenty years). Max (the sur­realist painter who sits on a bed of nails for three hours a day) and his mother (a hermit who never leaves the family home), are simultaneous­ly intimate, humorous and totally engrossing.

Creepy but compelling, Crumb is not to be missed by rabid aficionados as well as those yet to be drawn into the artist's skewed world through his idiosyncratic illustrations.

See also...

LOVE LIZA

USA, 2001
Winner of Best Screenplay at Sundance Film Festival, Love Liza is a curious but unforgettable animal, somewhere between Todd Solondz's Happiness and Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World. Philip Seymour Hoffma… More »

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