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Scooping the FIPRESCI award for best film in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, American Splendor is a captivating and utterly original mix of fiction and reality, that immerses the audience in the true life story of Harvey Pekar.

Pekar works at a Veteran's Hospital and fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. When his buddy Robert Crumb earns wide acclaim for comic art Harvey is inspired to write his own brand of comic books, and he makes the monotonous torture of his everyday foibles their focus. His work becomes hugely successful, but Pekar still finds his life lacking. Enter the equally depressive Joyce Brabner, and united in co-dependence, the pair tackle life together

This original film offers not one, but several illustrations of the eccentric Pekar: the Harvey of the main narrative, portrayed by Paul Giamatti; a 2D animated Harvey and the real Harvey past and present. The result is an inventive film that captures Pekar's voice in all its simple, honest and cantankerous human scope.


Talaye Sorgh
MIFF 2003